I received this book for free from the Author, Bought in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Echoes by Jess Montgomery
Published by St. Martin's Publishing Group, Minotaur Books on March 29, 2022
Genres: Fiction / Mystery & Detective / Historical, Fiction / Mystery & Detective / Women Sleuths
Format: ARC, Audiobook
Source: Author, Bought
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The fourth in Jess Montgomery's evocative Kinship series, The Echoes combines exquisite storytelling with extraordinary crime plotting.
"A beautifully written tour de force." —Linda Castillo on The Stills
As July 4, 1928 approaches, Sheriff Lily Ross and her family look forward to the opening of an amusement park in a nearby town, created by Chalmer Fitzpatrick—a veteran and lumber mill owner. When Lily is alerted to the possible drowning of a girl, she goes to investigate, and discovers schisms going back several generations, in an ongoing dispute over the land on which Fitzpatrick has built the park.
Lily's family life is soon rattled, too, with the revelation that before he died, her brother had a daughter, Esme, with a woman in France, and arrangements have been made for Esme to immigrate to the U.S. to live with them. But Esme never makes it to Kinship, and soon Lily discovers that she has been kidnapped. Not only that, but a young woman is indeed found murdered in the fishing pond on Fitzpatrick's property, at the same time that a baby is left on his doorstep.
As the two crimes interweave, Lily must confront the question of what makes family: can we trust those we love? And what do we share, and what do we keep secret?
The Echoes is the fourth installment in the Kinship series, featuring Sheriff Lily Ross, sheriff of the small Ohio town of Kinship. This book can be read as a stand alone installment, but I highly recommend starting at book one so you can immerse yourself in this world. Each book has been a favorite of mine the year it released, and Jess Montgomery does such a fantastic job weaving in believable characters while painting a fantastic picture of what it’s like to live and be a woman in the early 1920s.
In this book, two stories are woven together throughout the book. Lily’s brother Roger had fathered a child with a woman in France before he was killed in the war. Since the girl’s mother is dying and her maternal grandmother has passed away, Esme is sent to live in Kinship with her father’s family–but she doesn’t make it to Kinship before being kidnapped. There’s a woman found murdered in a pond by the new amusement park while a baby is found on a doorstep. So many questions arise as Lily investigates both crimes, and the fall out is surprising for her personally as well as to the community.
Lily is such a great character. Throughout each book, she grows as a character and quickly adapts to the new situations that she’s in. You can definitely see the realistic effects of being a law officer on her personality and personal life. While we get to see things through Lily’s eyes, we also get the story told through Lily’s mother Beulah as well as niece Esme. Family is the main focus, as well as PTSD from war, extramarital affairs, and other traumatic events.
While I won an ARC of The Echoes from a contest run by Jess Montgomery, I decided to dive into this novel by purchasing the audiobook from Audible. I think I loved the book even more with the fantastic narrator, Susan Bennett, weaving this great mystery to me while I worked and drove. I will be thinking hard about what format I want to purchase for the next eagerly awaited installment.
I give The Echoes a five out of five. I really enjoyed getting Lily’s mother’s point of view so much in this novel. Beulah is smart, loving, loyal to a fault sometimes, and she’ll do anything to protect her family. Big questions about who we can trust, especially with devastating information, are explored here. Who can be hurt by the secrets we keep or tell? I also like that Jess Montgomery focuses on new citizens around Kinship in every book so you get a bigger picture of life in Kinship almost 100 years ago, including the diversity in income, poverty, and educational levels. While the main characters are the same with a few added into Lily’s life over the course of the books, the main ones grow realistically and it’s nice to see. I look forward to this series’ spring release every year since I can’t wait to see what Lily, her family, and the citizens of her county get up to next.
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About Jess Montgomery
JESS MONTGOMERY is the Literary Life columnist for the Dayton Daily News and former Executive Director of the renowned Antioch Writers’ Workshop in Yellow Springs, Ohio. Based on early chapters of her novel 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.
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