Book Review: The Hollows by Jess Montgomery @JessM_Author @MinotaurBooks @TLCBookTours

The Hollows
The Kinship Series, Book 2
Jess Montgomery
Minotaur Books, January 2020
ISBN 978-1-250-18454-2
Hardcover

From the publisher—

Ohio, 1926: For many years, the railroad track in Moonvale Tunnel has been used as a shortcut through the Appalachian hills. When an elderly woman is killed walking along the tracks, the brakeman tells tales of seeing a ghostly female figure dressed all in white.

Newly elected Sheriff Lily Ross is called on to the case to dispel the myths. With the help of her friends Marvena Whitcomb and Hildy Cooper, Lily follows the woman’s trail to The Hollows―a notorious asylum―and they begin to expose dark secrets long-hidden by time and the mountains.

The Appalachians are a vast and very old area covering all or parts of thirteen states in the eastern part of the US plus some of eastern Canada, a system that includes a variety of mountain ranges, and the descendants of its original settlers are a different breed from most of us. Take it back almost a hundred years and the people are even more distinctive, a blend of European and Native American backgrounds with their own culture, who lived simply, apart from “mainstream” America by choice. In The Hollows, Ms. Montgomery has captured the beauty of this one small portion of the Appalachians and the unique inhabitants of the period.

There are also secrets to be discovered by Lily and her friends, along with the reader, as well as immersion into the racial divides, labor organizing and societal inhibitions that plagued women at the time and the mystery of what really happened to the old woman. The word “hollows” carries a double meaning here, referring to a geographical distinction found in the mountains but also, in this case, to what turns out to be an insane asylum as dark as anything you’ve ever heard of. Meanwhile, Lily is running for re-election against great odds and the Women’s Ku Klux Klan, the auxiliary of the better-known men’s organization, is creating trouble in the community.

A book like this one appeals to me greatly because I came away from it knowing a bit more about our American history and, along the way, enjoyed a journey through a beautiful and compelling setting. The characters are vivid and fully fleshed out, the three women in particular, and they created in me a strong empathy for them. I haven’t yet read the first book, The Widows, but I’ll be doing so forthwith and, in the meantime, I’m adding The Hollows to my list of best books read in 2020.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, February 2020.

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Purchase Links:
Barnes & Noble // Kobo // iTunes
Books-A-Million // Amazon // Indiebound

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About the Author

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.

Jess Montgomery showcases her skills as a storyteller in The Hollows: a powerful, big-hearted and exquisitely written follow-up to her highly acclaimed debut The Widows.

Connect with Jess:
Website // Twitter // Facebook // Instagram

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Follow the tour here.

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3 thoughts on “Book Review: The Hollows by Jess Montgomery @JessM_Author @MinotaurBooks @TLCBookTours

  1. Lelia, may I send you a review copy of my new book, The Second Battle of the Alamo? Honesty compels me to admit that it is neither fiction nor mystery, but is non-fiction history, livened with passages of fiction. I guess we call it faction. It’s a Two Dot Book from Rowman & Littlefield, a division of Globe Pequot.

    Here’s the blurb: By 1900, the tale of the 300 Texians who died in the 1836 battle of the Alamo had already become legend. But to corporate interests in the growing City of San Antonio, the land where that blood was shed was merely a desirable plot of land across the street from new restaurants and hotels, with only a few remaining crumbling buildings to tell the tale. When two women, Adina Emilia De Zavala, the granddaughter of the first vice-president of the Texas Republic, and Clara Driscoll, the daughter of one of Texas’s most prominent ranch families and first bankers, learned of the plans, they hatched a plan to preserve the site—and in doing so, they reinvigorated both the legend and lore of the Alamo and cemented the site’s status as hallowed ground. These two strong-willed, pioneering women were very different, but the story of how they banded together and how the Alamo became what it is today despite those differences, is compelling reading for those interested in Texas history and Texas’s larger-than-life personality.

    Thanks for considering this,
    Judy Alter

    Like

  2. Pingback: Jess Montgomery, author of THE HOLLOWS, on tour January/February 2020 | TLC Book Tours

  3. I really adore books that have a great story but also has me learning something new along the way, too. Thank you for being on this tour! Sara @ TLC Book Tours

    Like

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