The Widows: A Novel by Jess MontgomeryThe Widows: A Novel by Jess Montgomery

The Widows: A Novel

byJess Montgomery

Hardcover | January 8, 2019

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"The Widows kept me on the edge of my seat. Montgomery is a masterful storyteller." -Lee Martin, author of Pulitzer Prize-Finalist The Bright Forever

Kinship, Ohio, 1924: 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 death.

Hours 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 daughter.

From 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 more complex than either of them could have imagined.

Inspired 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.


"The Widows is a gripping, beautifully written novel about two women avenging the murder of the man they both loved."-Hallie Ephron, New York Times bestselling author of You'll Never Know, Dear

"Jess Montgomery's gorgeous writing can be just as dark and terrifying as a subterranean cave when the candle is snuffed out, but her prose can just as easily lead you to the surface for a gasp of air and a glimpse of blinding, beautiful sunlight. This is a powerful novel: a tale of loss, greed, and violence, and the story of two powerful women who refuse to stand down."-Wiley Cash, New York Times bestselling author of The Last Ballad, A Land More Kind than Home, and This Dark Road to Mercy

"[A] flinty, heartfelt mystery that sings of hawks and history, of coal mines and the urgent fight for social justice."-Julia Keller, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Bone on Bone

JESS MONTGOMERY is the Literary Life columnist for the Dayton Daily News and Executive Director of the renowned Antioch Writers' Workshop in Yellow Springs, Ohio. Based on early chapters of The Widows, Jess was awarded an Ohio Arts Council individual artist's grant for literary arts and the John E. Nance Writer-in-Residence at Thurber ...
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Title:The Widows: A NovelFormat:HardcoverDimensions:336 pages, 9.6 × 6.38 × 1.19 inPublished:January 8, 2019Publisher:St. Martin's PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1250184525

ISBN - 13:9781250184528

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Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Two courageous women combat social injustice and corruption in 1920s Appalachia. 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 occasions... "The 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 prohibition. "So 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 THOUGHTS It 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, and more. These 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. 4.5 stars rounded up for Indigo
Date published: 2019-01-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from First in a new historical series Jess Montgomery has just released her debut novel, The Widows, the first book in her Kinship series. 1924. The Appalachian hills of Ohio - coal mining territory. Sheriff Daniel Ross is killed in the line of duty. By whom is not known. His wife Lily is approached to stand in as Sheriff until an election can be held. Marvena Whitcomb is a coal miner's widow and also has a connection with Daniel. It is only upon his death that they both realize Daniel was keeping secrets. There's much, much more to this story. The lead characters were so wonderfully portrayed and I was immediately drawn to both of them. Montgomery has taken inspiration for her characters from history. Maude Collins was the first female Sheriff in Ohio. Mary Harris Joneswas the 'most famous female labor activist of the nineteenth century'. Montgomery's depictions of the land, the times, the people and the issues are rich and full, providing a vivid backdrop for a multi layered tale. Who killed Daniel? Coal miners trying to unionize, the mining company trying to stop that at every turn. Will the two women work together? For their own purposes or for the good of the community? The Widows was a great read on so many levels - mystery, history, relationships and strong women. I'll be curious to see where Montgomery takes the next book.
Date published: 2019-01-21

Editorial Reviews

"Montgomery's debut features two tough-as-nails, strong-willed women whose empathy leaves a lasting impression. A simultaneous examination of women's rights, coal mining, prohibition, and Appalachian life, this is a fantastic choice for historical fiction fans."-Library Journal (starred)"Beautifully plotted and filled with believable characters, The Widows explores an era and an area struggling to be a part of the modern 20th century, yet constantly pulled backward to its unsettled past...the launch of this series shows much potential."-Associated Press"[An] engaging debut...Vivid historical details, an intriguing mystery, and strong female characters."-Kirkus Reviews"Deeply felt...the feisty female protagonists do their real-life foremothers proud."-Publishers Weekly"Remarkable...[Montgomery's] writing is brisk, yet it lingers long enough to indulge readers with beautiful prose along the way."-BookPage"Set when coal was king and the Pinkertons its strikebreakers, The Widows is a gripping, beautifully written novel about two women avenging the murder of the man they both loved."-Hallie Ephron, New York Times bestselling author of You'll Never Know, Dear"The Widows is the story of a community in crisis: the Pinkertons are waging war against miners and the law, and no one is safe from their recklessness. But two brave women take a stand, committing themselves to saving their community and families. Jess Montgomery's gorgeous writing can be just as dark and terrifying as a subterranean cave when the candle is snuffed out, but her prose can just as easily lead you to the surface for a gasp of air and a glimpse of blinding, beautiful sunlight. This is a powerful novel: a tale of loss, greed, and violence, and the story of two powerful women who refuse to stand down."-Wiley Cash, New York Times bestselling author of The Last Ballad, A Land More Kind than Home, and This Dark Road to Mercy"In the hard-luck, homespun Appalachian town of Kinship, Ohio, in 1924, two strong women become unlikely comrades to solve a murder in this flinty, heartfelt mystery that sings of hawks and history, of coal mines and the urgent fight for social justice."-Julia Keller, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Bone on Bone"Two women, a murdered husband, and the secret life he lived. Set in Appalachian Ohio coal country in 1924, The Widows kept me on the edge of my seat. Jess Montgomery is a masterful storyteller. This is a novel about courage and the good hearts of women, and it builds, almost unbearably, to its stunning end."-Lee Martin, author of the Pulitzer Prize Finalist The Bright Forever"The Widows is powerful reminder that there have always been strong women; they just haven't made it into the history books. This terrific novel corrects that omission by spinning a compelling tale of courageous women in a place and time rarely portrayed in fiction. Jess Montgomery is a top-notch storyteller."-Nancy Pickard, author of The Virgin of Small Plains"Jess Montgomery wows with her awesome debut novel, The Widows. You'll be on the edge of your seat as Lily and Marvena fight for justice in a time and place where it hardly exists . . . they are heroes for every age, and represent all the women who have fought for justice in every age and who continue that fight today."-Victoria Thompson, bestselling author of Murder on Trinity Place"With compassion and skill, Jess Montgomery deftly smashes stereotypes and puts a human face on the cost of coal mining in 1924 Appalachian Ohio. Rich with historical details, yet fast paced, The Widows revolves around a murder investigation. But it was the vivid voices of Lily Ross and Marvena Whitcomb that completely captivated my heart and kept me reading long into the night."-Ann Weisgarber, author of The Personal History of Rachel Dupree"Pulling back the curtain on a time and place where women's roles were too often overlooked, The Widows is full of characters who surprise those who underestimate them. A rich, empowering, and satisfying read."-Jessica Strawser, author of Not That I Could Tell"Women's and workers' rights, Prohibition, and a murder mystery come together beautifully...The book is impossible to put down or forget."-Mystery Scene"A powerful debut. Montgomery creates a layers, rich mystery that makes the most of its historical setting. Her prose is captivating and sharp...Fantastic."-Criminal Element"A strong book about standing up for justice, despite the danger. I found myself engrossed with the story. The Widows is a book that I recommend warmly."-Fresh Fiction"Something fresh for historical mystery lovers....A solid debut."-Fiction Aficionado"A pleasure to read. The characters are strong, the story is interesting, and the history is intriguing."-Helen's Book Blog"Jess Montgomery's writing is descriptive and so compelling."-Bewitched Bookworms"A riveting story of two strong women. A fascinating book...that strives to give women a voice in history."-Lesa's Book Critiques"I would definitely recommend this book to anyone, but especially those who love historical fiction in a rural setting."-Amy's Booket List"Absorbing and kept me engaged throughout. If you enjoy historical fiction, books set in rural Ohio and the surrounding area, stories with strong empowered female characters, mysteries, and learning more about American history, add The Widows to your TBR list."-Kahakai Kitchen