The Stills
Momma Leighellen's Book Review + Giveaway

The Stills: SYNOPSIS

The Stills is the third in Jess Montgomery’s exquisitely written Kinship series, The Stills is a triumph of storytelling by an extraordinary new talent in crime fiction…

Ohio, 1927: Moonshining is a way of life in rural Bronwyn County, and even the otherwise upstanding Sheriff Lily Ross has been known to turn a blind eye when it comes to stills in the area. But when thirteen-year-old Jebediah Ranklin almost dies after drinking tainted moonshine, Lily knows that someone has gone too far, and–with the help of organizer and moonshiner Marvena Whitcomb–is determined to find out who.

But then, Lily’s nemesis, the businessman George Vogel, reappears in town with his new wife, Fiona. Along with them is also her former brother-in-law Luther Ross, now an agent for the newly formed Bureau of Prohibition. To Lily, it seems too much of a coincidence that they should arrive now.

As fall turns to winter, a blizzard closes in. Lily starts to peel back the layers of deception shrouding the town of Kinship, but soon she discovers that many around her seem to be betraying those they hold dear–and that Fiona too may have an agenda of her own.


This was the perfect book to read while snowed in and cozied up next to the fire!  The Stills is the third in Jess Montgomery’s historical mystery series.  The dual narrative novel is set in Ohio during 1927 amidst the height of prohibition and featuring a female sheriff, who has taken over the job after her husband is murdered.  You can easily hop into this storyline if you haven’t read the previous novels. 

Moonshining is a way of life in rural Bronwyn County and the author explores this era with compassion and depth of understanding.  It’s a small town full of farmers, mines, churches and speak easys. The poverty and demands are never ending.  Sheriff Lily Ross often turns a blind eye when it comes to stills in the area because she knows these down on their luck people need a way to get by. But when a thirteen-year-old almost dies after drinking tainted moonshine, Lily works with her friend and fellow moonshiner Marvena Whitcomb to find out who is involved.

But one crime leads to another and little lies build up to bigger events.  Everything comes to a head when Lily’s nemesis reappears in town looking to buy up some land and she finds out her husband’s murderers are working for him.  On top of it, a government agent who starts trying to stop the locals from selling moonshine is murdered. To Lily, it seems too much of a coincidence.

This is a thoughtful story about temptation, greed, and the bonds of female friendship.  I loved the authors notes at the end, it shed a lot of light onto this era and subject matter!  Everyone was just trying to make a way of living, even if it meant doing something illegal or harmful.  Despite the mystery and action, this is more of a relational story that moves at a slower pace.  It matches the time period and fully transports you to the hills of the Appalachian. 

Thank you to@minotaur_books @jessmontgomeryauthor @tlcbooktours for the book to read and review and for hosting this great giveaway!

You can pick up a copy of the book here.  To read more of my reviews, check out the rest of my blog.  To enter the latest giveaways and see what I’m currently reading, head to my Bookstagram account in IG.  And to listen to me chat all things bookish and share my latest reviews, head to my Booktube Channel. 


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