by Jess Montgomery
The Stills is Jess Montgomery’s third novel, following on the earlier titles, The Widows and The Hollows. I read and loved those two earlier books. The Stills continues the story of many of the characters. The books are probably best read in order as the backstory from the earlier novels is relevant. If read as a first experience with Ms. Montgomery, readers may well want to then go back to the earlier titles.
The author has so many strengths. One is her ability to carve out a time and place. Another is her careful building of the relationships between characters. The story’s setting is 1920s Bronwyn County, Ohio during the Prohibition years. This small community where Lily lives is so well portrayed. There are small farms, mines, charismatic churches, stills and speakeasys.
Lily became the Sheriff following on the events of the first novel. She is a widow who is devoted to her children, her mother and her half-sibling. The book opens with all of them, along with some additional guests, enjoying Thanksgiving dinner. Of course, the calm does not last.
One guest at dinner is Benjamin. Lily inches toward becoming closer to him over the course of the story. Another is Lily’s best friend Marvena. She puts Lily in what could be a compromising position in this title.
Other characters include a number of villains. Foremost among these are George Vogel and his henchmen. George is an unfeeling, hard man who has benefited from illegal acts. Will this be the book in which he finally gets stopped? George’s wife Fiona is a master manipulator who has a complex relationship with George. What will happen to her? To their relationship? Is Fiona as clever as she thinks she is?
And, of course, there are the stills, those sites for making moonshine. What events happen there? How will they radiate out to impact the community?
I was very delighted to receive an ARC of this title. I look forward (already) to finding out what comes next for the folks of Kinship.
Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this title. All opinions are my own.