The Widows
Minotaur: St. Martin's. Jan. 2019. 336p. ISBN 9781250184528. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9781250184535. F
OrangeReviewStarDEBUT In Kinship, OH, 1924, Lily Ross's husband, Daniel, is killed in the line of duty as sheriff. The griefstricken Lily grapples with unanswered questions and her new duties as acting sheriff. Her sorrow is compounded by the sudden appearance of Marvena Whitcomb, a coal miner's widow, who shares a past with Daniel and whose daughter, Eula, is currently missing. An unlikely pair, underestimated by everyone, Lily and Marvena navigate Daniel's secrets, investigate Eula's disappearance, dodge conflicting loyalties among the moonshine distributors, and bond over their shared loss as the tension between the coal miners and mine owners escalates. On the edge of discovering the truth, they suffer one final, mutual betrayal, which propels them toward a series of clever and emotionally satisfying solutions.
VERDICT Inspired by the true story of Maude Collins, Ohio's first female sheriff, and prominent labor and community organizer Mary Harris "Mother" Jones, Montgomery's debut novel 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, make this is a fantastic choice for historical fiction fans. [See Prepub Alert, 7/9/18.]

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