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. Read an excerpt of The Widows.
"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 House in Columbus. She lives in her native state of Ohio." You can connect with Jess on her website, like her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.
See what others on the TLC book tour thought - full schedule can be found here. And if you'd like to read The Widows, enter to win a copy, courtesy of Minotaur Books. Open to US and Canada, ends Feb 2/19.