The Widows is the first book in the Kinship series, a historical mystery written by Jess Montgomery I stumbled upon the second book in the series on NetGalley recently and requested it the story focuses on a female sheriff, which is also a key role in my book series I had to read it When I realized it was part of a series, I ordered the first one and read it yesterday I have to read in order, it s just who I am I m so glad I enjoyed this book as it makes me eager to read the second one The Widows is the first book in the Kinship series, a historical mystery written by Jess Montgomery I stumbled upon the second book in the series on NetGalley recently and requested it the story focuses on a female sheriff, which is also a key role in my book series I had to read it When I realized it was part of a series, I ordered the first one and read it yesterday I have to read in order, it s just who I am I m so glad I enjoyed this book as it makes me eager to read the second one Let s dive into a reviewThe book takes place in Ohio in the mid 1920s, after World War I and the Spanish Influenza but before the Great Depression The chapters alternate POV between Marvena, a close ally of the sheriff, and Lily, the sheriff s wife The two women have never met until Daniel s, the sheriff s, death Who killed him Add in a nasty half brother who fought with Daniel over unionization in the mines, several Pinkerton guards, a deputy, a group of miners with nothing to lose, and some seedy characters who might ve been in the mob you ve got a well rounded cast of suspects As the tale unfolds, we learn what happened in the past, when Daniel and Marvena were closer, and how Lily and Daniel fell in love and married.To start with, this book combines two of my favorite genres mystery and historical fiction I loved learning about live nearly a century ago, especially in a small town I ve never been to Kinship is key, and the author s forward and summary at the end about how she came up with this story was just as fascinating as the story itself I supported the miners but understood the town s fury and debate I loved how Lily became sheriff, given some of the responsibilities but kept from others because she was a woman this showed the possibilities, even 100 years ago While I don t condone what the town did to her at times, knowing when this takes place, it was a positive thing to see how she pushed forward Excellent characterization.The bond between Marvena and Lilly was tremendous and it was not always easy Questions of love and infidelity lingered on the surface Family ties were strong and painful In the end, the mystery kept me guessing, and I was fairly sure whodunit, but let me just say I never saw the twist coming So kudos to the author for keeping the suspense a most appropriate kind for 1920s rural America I kept turning the pages to find out what would happen to these wonderful people I m very intrigued to read the second book, and I definitely recommend this series so far 3.75 stars rounded up to 4 Thanks to Netgalley and St.Martins Press for an e ARC in exchange for an honest review Described as a historical mystery,The Widows is the beginning of a new series called Kinship set in the 1920 s and featuring two captivating women Lily Ross, who becomes sheriff of her Ohio town after the death of her husband and Marvena Whitcomb, a miner s widow who is an active member in the union movement Lily is bent on bringing vengenacnce down on her husband s killer 3.75 stars rounded up to 4 Thanks to Netgalley and St.Martins Press for an e ARC in exchange for an honest review Described as a historical mystery,The Widows is the beginning of a new series called Kinship set in the 1920 s and featuring two captivating women Lily Ross, who becomes sheriff of her Ohio town after the death of her husband and Marvena Whitcomb, a miner s widow who is an active member in the union movement Lily is bent on bringing vengenacnce down on her husband s killer Marvena is determined that the sheriff s brother in law be stopped from re opening the dangerous part of the coal mine known as the Widowmaker and finding out what happened to her teenage daughter Together the two women find themselves working together and standing up for justiceThe Widows is an engrossing tale that is impossible to put down I felt that our two main leads Lily and Marvena who both take turns with the narration really displayed the strong character of women in that time period to continue holding up their families after the deaths of their husbands Equally interesting is the author s note and the inspiration behind the tale A book that I would defintely recommend putting on your TBR Favorite Quote Mama s round face is so puckered with outrage that her mouth looks like the top of a drawstring purse.My Review I am in awe of this author, this is her first novel and it was simply stellar The storytelling was commanding, cunningly crafted, enthralling, emotive, highly descriptive, and smartly nuanced I was instantly sucked into her vortex and heard a multitude of sounds, accents, and dialects in my head I was right there with them, riding in their cars, feeling the dynamite b Favorite Quote Mama s round face is so puckered with outrage that her mouth looks like the top of a drawstring purse.My Review I am in awe of this author, this is her first novel and it was simply stellar The storytelling was commanding, cunningly crafted, enthralling, emotive, highly descriptive, and smartly nuanced I was instantly sucked into her vortex and heard a multitude of sounds, accents, and dialects in my head I was right there with them, riding in their cars, feeling the dynamite blasts as well as their deep sorrows, and smelling their sweat and fear The mystery was hopelessly intriguing and appeared an impossibly tangled knot that I feared was without hope for a solution I was so deeply engrossed in their tale I experienced the conflict of simultaneous relief and grief upon completion Jess Montgomery s word voodoo packs a powerful punch and is dangerously hypnotic Life often demands doing contradictory things in exchange for survival Life in the Appalachian mining town of Kinship, Ohio changed in the blink of an eye following a 1924 cave in resulting from an undetectable buildup of methane gas ignited by lightning John Rutherford, Marvena Whitcomb s common law husband and Caleb McArthur, Lily Ross s father died trying to rescue trapped miners in the Widowmaker Lily and Marvena would soon meet each other under less than ideal circumstances.Lily Ross w Life often demands doing contradictory things in exchange for survival Life in the Appalachian mining town of Kinship, Ohio changed in the blink of an eye following a 1924 cave in resulting from an undetectable buildup of methane gas ignited by lightning John Rutherford, Marvena Whitcomb s common law husband and Caleb McArthur, Lily Ross s father died trying to rescue trapped miners in the Widowmaker Lily and Marvena would soon meet each other under less than ideal circumstances.Lily Ross was jail mistress, keeping prisoner records and assisting her husband, extremely popular Sheriff, Daniel Ross Daniel s half brother, Luther owned and managed Ross Mining Miners lived in company housing and were paid in scrip, in lieu of money, to be used for purchases in the company store Workers who complained often were forced to vacate company housing units Luther hired Pinkertons, thugs used an enforcers Sheriff Ross was sent by a Pinkerton to pick up and jail a prisoner who was a miner Daniel never returned Lily was informed that he was killed by the escaping prisoner.Lily and Marvena meet after Daniel s funeral Each woman has a connection to him What happened to the close, honest marriage between Daniel and Lily The uncomfortable relationship between these two strong minded, determined women was ever changing Lily had been appointed acting sheriff until a new election This title would enable her to investigate Daniel s death Marvena would keep stirring up what her husband started, the organization of mine workers Luther Ross with the backing of hired Pinkertons, was not having it Lily and Marvena had joined the sorrowful sisterhood of widows Will acting Sheriff Lily Ross glean the details of her husband s death Will Marvena Whitcomb s attempts to organize mine workers be successful Did Lily truly know Daniel So many questionsdeathsdisappearances The Widows by Jess Montgomery was a historical fiction debut novel loosely based upon the true story of Ohio s first female sheriff, Maude Collins and activist, Mother Jones Both Lily and Marvena were women crusaders fighting corruption and seeking justice I highly recommend this book.Thank you St Martin s Press, Minotaur Books and Net Galley for the opportunity to read and review The Widows The year is 1924, and Lilly Ross learns her husband, Kinship s sheriff was killed while transporting a prisoner However, just after the funeral, a strange woman shows up not knowing that Daniel Ross is dead Marvena Whitcomb has known Daniel for years, and now she s there to talk to him about her missing daughter Her husband was a coal miner who died a while back Both women have to deal with the loss of Daniel, and they join forces to find out the truth about his death.READ THE REST OF THE RE The year is 1924, and Lilly Ross learns her husband, Kinship s sheriff was killed while transporting a prisoner However, just after the funeral, a strange woman shows up not knowing that Daniel Ross is dead Marvena Whitcomb has known Daniel for years, and now she s there to talk to him about her missing daughter Her husband was a coal miner who died a while back Both women have to deal with the loss of Daniel, and they join forces to find out the truth about his death.READ THE REST OF THE REVIEW OVER AT FRESH FICTION The Hook Just give me fiction with the facts, Ma am The LineLife is hard Have teaIn addition there are many references to hymns, ballads, and songs, which are much a part of the heritage of the people of the fictional town of Kinship, Ohio, these used in worship and comfort Be certain to read the author notesPrecious Memories, how they linger, how they ever flood my soulThe Sinker My sincere thanks to Librarian, blogger and trusted reviewer, Lesa Holstine lesasbookcritiques for r The Hook Just give me fiction with the facts, Ma am The LineLife is hard Have teaIn addition there are many references to hymns, ballads, and songs, which are much a part of the heritage of the people of the fictional town of Kinship, Ohio, these used in worship and comfort Be certain to read the author notesPrecious Memories, how they linger, how they ever flood my soulThe Sinker My sincere thanks to Librarian, blogger and trusted reviewer, Lesa Holstine lesasbookcritiques for recommending The Widows Stop by and read Lesa s review here on GoodReads I ve also discovered this interview with author, Jess Montgomery on Bookpage Behind the Book The Widows Read the book, read the author s inspiration, visit Vinton County Ohio s webpageMaude Collins, Ohio s First Female SheriffI really enjoy books like this featuring strong female characters who are pioneers as the first in careers formerly held only by men Like many females of her day, Lily Ross was content, even comfortable in her role as wife and mother Lily s extra duties as mistress of the jail headed by Sheriff Daniel Ross, her husband, was enough adventure outside the home 1920 s Bronwyn County, Ohio, home to Company Mine 9, the Widowmaker, impetus for Lily s appointment as acting sheriff when her husband is killed, sets the backdrop of the interesting plot, a story of life, of love, of sorrow, of home.The Widows, a debut is a winner which should appeal to historical fiction lovers and fans of The Kopp Sisters Series by Amy Stewart There s room for two female sheriffs in my reading life Can t wait for the next in The Kinship Series Jess Montgomery.Grave of Maude Charles Collins A story of two courageous, hard working, and thoroughly admirable women, this story is set in an Appalachian mining community where a mine called The Widowmaker has proven its name on three separate occasionsThe sisterhood of widows Such a sorrowful sisterhood Lily has joined Lily Ross Wife of the Sheriff, Daniel Ross, pregnant and with two young children, she is widowed at the tender age of twenty six Approached by the deputy and offered the position of temporary sheriff, Lily accept A story of two courageous, hard working, and thoroughly admirable women, this story is set in an Appalachian mining community where a mine called The Widowmaker has proven its name on three separate occasionsThe sisterhood of widows Such a sorrowful sisterhood Lily has joined Lily Ross Wife of the Sheriff, Daniel Ross, pregnant and with two young children, she is widowed at the tender age of twenty six Approached by the deputy and offered the position of temporary sheriff, Lily accepts She aims to find out how and why her beloved husband was killed They have underestimated Lily s strength and obstinacy.Marvena Whitcomb Widow of a miner, mother to two girls, and former lover and lifelong friend of Daniel Ross The thirty five year old Marvena, having suffered many losses due to the dire conditions in the mining industry, is a union organizer She is also a moonshiner during the lean years of prohibitionSo many believe women are too sensitive for life s brutal truths That s only, Lily thinks, because they ve not experienced the brutal truths life gives particularly and uniquely to women The women overcome mistrust to merge together to combat desperate conditions and corrupt men of power And, most importantly, to find out the hows and whys of Daniel Ross s murder.MY THOUGHTSIt is obvious that Jess Montgomery didn t stint on her meticulous research She crafted two fictional woman who became flesh and blood to the reader Vividly described places and situations expound on the extreme poverty and resilience of the coal mining families in the 1920s A time when the company owned the houses the miners lived in, owned the schools the children attended, employed the only doctor for miles, and owned the store the miners shopped at It was a time when young boys worked in the mines as early as the age of eleven Also, it was a time when the Pinkerton Agency was just a band of thugs for hire.The women overcome the odds in a time when women had little, if any, socioeconomic power In addition to the dangerous and downright criminal practices of the mining company, they expose kickbacks, organized criminals, and murder All the while tending to their children, cooking, cleaning, andThese women will remain in my memory for a very long time.This fiction debut by author Jess Montgomery proves that she has a writing talent to be reckoned with and should be a firm favorite of all lovers of historical fiction Highly recommended.I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel from Minotaur St Martin s Press via NetGalley in order to participate in a TLC Blog Tour 4.5 stars rounded up for Goodreads I m torn between 3 and 3.5 stars The Widows is a character rich historical fiction novel that takes place in small town, coal mining Ohio during the 1920 s The two main protagonists, Lily and Marvena, are both strong, independent, and powerful women, who are helping shape America s coal mining society during a time where the rich kept getting richer, while the poor was kept in the shadows Kind of reminds me of America today While Lily represents Ohio as their first female sheriff, Marve I m torn between 3 and 3.5 stars The Widows is a character rich historical fiction novel that takes place in small town, coal mining Ohio during the 1920 s The two main protagonists, Lily and Marvena, are both strong, independent, and powerful women, who are helping shape America s coal mining society during a time where the rich kept getting richer, while the poor was kept in the shadows Kind of reminds me of America today While Lily represents Ohio as their first female sheriff, Marvena represents the coal industry townsfolk struggling to organize and union Lily s husband is killed while transporting a prisoner, and she struggles to work while being a single parent, while Marvena loses her husband as well in the mines The two characters face off in a battle that both parties are unprepared for, but they both believe that they re right The Widows provides a gripping bird s eye view from a woman s point of view, at a time where women were not regarded as equals in society While the mystery is strong, the story also provides realistic storytelling allowing readers to take a peek into the greed and corruption of a time period that is most often overlooked Kinship, Ohio,When Lily Ross learns that her husband, Daniel Ross, the town s widely respected sheriff, is killed while transporting a prisoner, she is devastated and vows to avenge his deathHours after his funeral, a stranger appears at her door Marvena Whitcomb, a coal miner s widow, is unaware that Daniel has died, and begs to speak with him about her missing daughterFrom miles away but worlds apart, Lily and Marvena s lives collide as they realize that Daniel was not the man that either of them believed him to be and that his murder is far complex than either of them could have imaginedInspired by the true story of Ohio s first female sheriff, this is a powerful debut about two women s search for justice as they take on the corruption at the heart of their community I felt the novel started a bit slow, but once I was drawn into the story I was captivated by the strength, intelligence and resilience of Lily and Marvena.Set in the Appalachian region of Ohio in the 1920s Lily Ross is shocked by the news of her husband, and sheriff, Daniel s death He was supposedly killed while transporting a prisoner She is surprised by a visit from Marvena, a coal miner s widow, just hours after Daniel s funeral Unaware of Daniel s death, Marvena came seeking news of her I felt the novel started a bit slow, but once I was drawn into the story I was captivated by the strength, intelligence and resilience of Lily and Marvena.Set in the Appalachian region of Ohio in the 1920s Lily Ross is shocked by the news of her husband, and sheriff, Daniel s death He was supposedly killed while transporting a prisoner She is surprised by a visit from Marvena, a coal miner s widow, just hours after Daniel s funeral Unaware of Daniel s death, Marvena came seeking news of her daughter s disappearance Lily was completely unaware of Daniel s connection to Marvena, and begins to question other pieces of Daniel s life she knew nothing about.Lily vows to avenge Daniel s death and when she is sworn in as acting sheriff, she has the means to investigate Marvena is determined to continue her late husband s work to band the coal miner s together to pursue unionization The owner of the coal mines has brought in thugs from Pinkerton and will do anything to stop talk of organizing to demand better work conditions Things are about to become dangerous and violent and it will take every ounce of courage Lily and Marvena have to bring hope to their community.All three of our boys went to Ohio University in Athens, so I was familiar with the area Even today, once you leave the campus and the Athen s area, there is a hardscrabble beauty in the surrounding area.Loosely based on the true story of Ohio s first female sheriff, a wonderful debut