“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
Inspired by the true story of Ohio’s first female sheriff, Jess Montgomery’s powerful, lyrical debut is the story of two women who take on murder and corruption at the heart of their community.
Kinship, Ohio, 1924: When Lily Ross learns that her husband, Daniel, the town’s widely respected sheriff, has been killed while transporting a prisoner in an apparent accident, she vows to seek the truth about 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’s and Marvena’s lives collide as they realize that Daniel was perhaps not the man that either of them believed him to be.
*BONUS CONTENT: This edition of The Widows includes a new introduction from the author and a discussion guide
"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
Montgomery's deeply felt debut, set in hardscrabble Appalachian Ohio coal-mining country in 1925, centers on two determined women on opposite sides of the law Lily Ross, a sheriff's wife, and moonshiner and union organizer Marvena Whitcomb, a miner's widow who are based on a pair of formidable historical figures, Maude Collins, Ohio's first female sheriff, and activist Mary Harris "Mother" Jones. Only six months after the disastrous cave-in at a mine managed by Bronwyn County sheriff Daniel Ross's ruthless half-brother, Luther, who has hired head-cracking Pinkertons to keep his increasingly mutinous workers in line, Daniel's shocking murder allegedly at the hands of a miner thrusts secretly pregnant mother of two Lily into the crossfire as acting sheriff. As Lily starts to investigate her husband's killing, she swiftly discovers a lot that doesn't add up, as well as some of his carefully guarded secrets, among them his connection to Marvena. Some of the plot twists prove more surprising than convincing, but the feisty female protagonists do their real-life foremothers proud.