Friday, January 25, 2019

Absorbing Appalachian Mystery An Intriguing Start to New Series

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Kinship, Ohio, is a hardscrabble Appalachian town where coal is king.  Despite a recent collapse that killed a number of people, the Bronwyn mine is still functioning under the same unsafe conditions.  Talk of unionizing simmers below Kinship's surface, despite the mine owner's efforts to quash it with Pinkerton muscle.  Trying to keep the peace is Daniel Ross, the town's much-respected sheriff.  When Daniel dies while transporting a prisoner, dissolving his careful control of Kindred, it's like putting a match to a tinderbox.  It's only a matter of time before the place erupts in violence with Pinkertons and unionizers battling for supremacy. 

Until a replacement sheriff can be hired, Daniel's widow—26-year-old Lily Ross—is made his official stand-in.  Her appointment may be a joke to everyone else, but Lily refuses to be anyone's puppet.  Her first act as sheriff is to open an investigation into her husband's death, the details of which have never added up to her.  Another case lands in her lap when Marvena Whitcomb, a moonshiner and secret union organizer, comes to Lily, pleading for help to find her missing teen daughter.  From what Marvena says, it's obvious she and Daniel knew each other well, even cared for one another.  Why has Lily never heard of the woman?  The more the two widows interact, the more clear it becomes—Daniel kept secrets from both of them.  What was he hiding?  Did he know something that got him killed?  Lily won't stop until she finds out the truth, no matter how unsavory it might be.

Inspired by Maude Collins, Ohio's first female sheriff, The Widows is an intriguing, atmospheric tale by Jess Montgomery.  Under the author's assured hand, Kinship comes alive as a place brimming with a unique landscape, history, culture, and people.  Its two heroines—each from a very different walk of life—are formidable women, but also compassionate and brave.  Plotwise, The Widows remains compelling and engrossing throughout.  I thoroughly enjoyed this absorbing novel, the first in a planned series.  I'm already waiting anxiously for the next installment.

(Readalikes:  Reminds me of novels by Julia Keller and Jennifer Haigh)

Grade:


If this were a movie, it would be rated:


for language (no F-bombs), violence, blood/gore, sexual innuendo, and references to prostitution

To the FTC, with love:  I received a finished copy of The Widows from the generous folks at St. Martin's Press in exchange for an honest review.  Thank you!

5 comments:

  1. I've been reading really good things about this book. And I had not read that it would be a series. I'll be trying it for sure.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Love the premise of the widow taking her husband’s place at such a tough time. This sounds like a great read! Thanks for the recommendation Susan! ❤️❤️

    ReplyDelete
  3. I really felt like I could sense what it was like for the miners and their families. The poverty, the working conditions, and the fight to unionize were all described so well.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I've always loved books set in the Appalachians. I don't know why...there's just something about that setting I find intriguing. :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Seeing this one quite a bit. I like the premise too. Great review. It is on my list!

    ReplyDelete

Comments make me feel special, so go crazy! Just keep it clean and civil. Feel free to speak your mind (I always do), but be aware that I will delete any offensive comments.

P.S.: Don't panic if your comment doesn't show up right away. I have to approve each one before it posts to prevent spam. It's annoying, but it works!

Blog Widget by LinkWithin