Secrets Abound in Jess Montgomery’s Second Novel, ‘The Hollows’ [REVIEW]

Railroad tracks in tunnel

An old woman meets her demise when she follows old tracks through the Appalachian hills. (Photo by Canva)

A new murder. An old asylum. And the women who will do their best to dig up the truth behind a frightening myth. Return to Kinship, Ohio in Jess Montgomery’s follow-up tale to her dazzling debut.

Jess Montgomery's THE HOLLOWS

Minotaur Books

Back in 1926, if you wanted to take a shortcut through the Appalachian hills, you followed the railroad tracks through Moonvale Tunnel to get where you want to go. One day an old woman is killed walking along those tracks, and since then a brakeman says he’s seen a ghostly woman dressed all in white following the same path.

Determined to debunk the myth, Sheriff Lily Ross (last seen in The Widows) is on hand with her gal pals Marvena Whitcomb and Hildy Cooper. Together, they follow the clues to The Hollows, a notorious asylum nearly forgotten by time and steeped in dark, dangerous secrets.

When I read Montgomery’s first novel in the series, The Widows, it was so good I really thought there was no way she could trump her own accomplishment. I am delighted to be proven wrong! The Kinship saga continues, adding new characters, fleshing out previous ones, and it takes us on a journey of further self discovery as Lily tackles crime in her new community alongside her friends.

For such a small town, it seems like Kinship has more than its share of drama, secrets, and characters with cruel intent. But that’s what makes this series so great, because even as the action surrounds the mystery of the old woman’s death, the tale is actually propelled by the fascinating characters within. Lily is a woman who believes in justice for all, no exceptions. Marvena is the union leader who is keeping her relationship with a local man under wraps. Hildy is caught in a love triangle between a grocer and a miner, and yet is still trying to figure out a way to get out from under her mother’s thumb. And then there’s Olive, a teacher in love with someone of a different race, a scandal which may plant a target on both their backs. You see, the more time we get to spend in Kinship, the better. Everyone has a story, and readers will find themselves reveling in the chance to peel back the layers, one by one.

If you enjoy stories steeped in history but built on the shoulders of its citizens, you will love this second trip to Kinship. The Hollows is everything fiction should be: immersive, engaging, heartbreaking, triumphant, mysterious and endearing. Run, don’t walk, to pick up your copy of Montgomery’s latest novel today.

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Jess Montgomery

Jess Montgomery
(Photo by JP Ball Photography)


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.

To find out more, visit the author at, like her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

By Jess Montgomery
352 pp. Minotaur Books. $27.99

TLC Book Tours Tour HostPurchase The Hollows at one of these fine online retailers: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, Half Price Books, IndieBound, and Powell’s.

The Hollows is brought to you in association with TLC Book Tours.

About Jathan Fink
Jathan is a journalist, philanthropist, and entrepreneur. He is also a travel junkie, foodie and jazz aficionado. A California native, he resides in Texas.

2 Responses to Secrets Abound in Jess Montgomery’s Second Novel, ‘The Hollows’ [REVIEW]

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

  2. Sara Strand says:

    I really think my mother in law would enjoy this series, I’ll have to pick these up for mother’s day! Thank you for being on this tour. Sara @ TLC Book Tours

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