Mothers and Daughters: Inspiration for The Echoes

Read on as Jess Montgomery, author of The Echoes, writes about the mother-daughter relationship that inspired this latest installment in the Kinship series.

BONUS: Comment on this post after you read to enter for a chance to win a hardcover copy of The Echoes!

All the titles in my Kinship Mystery Series, inspired by Ohio’s true first female sheriff in 1925, have co-narrators. In each novel, Sheriff Lily Ross shares her investigations from her point of view. She’s joined by a co-narrator in each novel who might just have a different perspective on Lily and on Lily’s case and, depending on the co-narrator’s motives, might either try to help—or thwart—Lily’s efforts. So far, Lily’s co-narrator’s have been a stranger who becomes a new friend, a friend from childhood, and a ‘frenemy.’ (Yes, I know, the term didn’t exist in the 1920s, but it still perfectly describes Lily’s co-narrator and nemesis in the third novel in the series.

In the background throughout all of these novels has been Lily’s Mama, a.k.a. Beulah McArthur—sometimes helping, sometimes fussing, and often shaking her head at Lily’s shenanigans.

As I began planning the plot for The Echoes (yes, I’m a plotter!), I knew I’d again need a strong co-narrator for Lily. Almost immediately, I thought—Mama! My next thought: but she’ll narrate as Beulah McArthur.

Beulah is quite comfortable in her role as Mama, to Lily, to her now-deceased son Roger, and to young Caleb Jr., who happens to be 7 years old, just like Lily’s youngest child. And she’s also at ease in her role as grandmother (or Mamaw, as her grandchildren call her) to Lily’s daughter Jolene and son Micah.

But of course, Beulah is more than those roles. She has her own dreams and worries and point of view. In The Echoes, we get to know her more fully—what makes her tick. What secrets she might be keeping. A romantic interest… but I don’t want to give away too much!

As I wrote The Echoes, I realized that to date, I’d shown Beulah as well, a little fussy. A worrier. She’s proud of Lily, sure. Lily and Beulah are close enough that by the time The Echoes opens, they share a farmhouse. Beulah watches the children when Lily must be out on cases. But Beulah isn’t entirely at ease with Lily being sheriff. There’s a bit of her that finds the job unsuitable for a woman (bear in mind that Beulah was born in 1880), and certainly she wonders why Lily must do something so dangerous.

In The Echoes, I wanted to show Beulah with more depth. She becomes caught up in Lily’s case, partly because it’s connected to their family. The plot is driven, to a great extent, by what really happened to Roger—Lily’s older brother and Beulah’s son—during The Great War.

I also wanted to explore the mother-daughter dynamic from both a mother’s point of view, and a daughter’s point of view. In so many ways, I relate to Lily’s desire to move beyond the strictures of expectations of women as represented by her mother, and I believe I’ve brought that out in past novels. In an earlier novel, Beulah reminds Lily that she may be sheriff, but she’s still expected to enter a pie in the county baking contest. Lily grudgingly complies—and enters a vinegar pie. (In all fairness to vinegar pies, if properly prepared, they taste tart like a lemon pie. But I digress.)

And yet, I also relate to Beulah’s complex regard for her daughter Lily: proud, yet always a little worried. I’m the mother of two adult daughters, and I’m super proud of both of them. I admire them and all they’ve achieved, and I’m inspired by their bravery in their professions and in their avocations. On the other hand… a mama worries. (Anyone who has attended their child’s rugby match—as I have—will understand. On the one hand, complete admiration for toughness and skill. On the other, barely suppressed cringes each time it looks like your daughter might get even the least bit injured.)

Lily and Beulah ultimately work together to resolve the crimes and issues in The Echoes. Beulah comes to understand Lily’s drive, how she’s seen in the community, and the unique skills Lily brings to her work. Lily comes to understand Beulah’s worries, strengths, and wisdom. Both women learn to appreciate and love each other even more deeply than they did before. What more could a mother-daughter duo ask for?

*Author Photo Credit: JP Ball Photography


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Comments

  1. Deborah D

    This book sounds wonderful.

  2. Carolyn Yapchanyk

    Looks like another great one.

  3. Gina Robertiello

    Sounds super interesting!!

  4. Armand Rosamilia

    This sounds very interesting!

    • Audrey L

      Sounds like a pretty fascinating book!

  5. Nathan Glasser

    Sounds very good.

  6. S. SHEFFIELD

    Oooo this sounds like a good read…

  7. S. SHEFFIELD

    Ooooo, this sounds like a good read…

  8. VMosby1972

    This sounds great! Adding to my TBR now.

  9. downeaster

    I certainly want to read this book

  10. Susan Coster

    I’m moving more and more towards thrillers and suspense novels.

  11. Sue Smith

    Love this mom/kid connection.

  12. Richard Silberg

    I love reading fiction and crime fiction especially.

  13. John Smith

    This sounds like some interesting storytelling! We’d enjoy this!

  14. HCash

    Mother-daughter relationships are extremely intriguing. Mothers never give up being mothers even when daughters are adults. I can’t wait to see how this unfolds in the book.

  15. MARY PRIMORAC

    Definitely on my TBR list

  16. julierod22

    Cant wait to read this one!

  17. Pat Dupuy

    This is a wonderful series! I can’t wait to read the latest.

  18. Jolene H

    This book sounds really good and like it would be a great read.

  19. Lisa Ellison

    I love the cover!!!

  20. Chelsey Hanafin

    Sounds great!

  21. Joel Timmons

    Bring on. The. Thriller’s. Already

  22. Nes

    It’s cool how you put some of your life into your book.

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  24. Rhonda LaChance

    I am intrigued by this plot

  25. Pam S

    Sounds like another good read!

  26. vicki andrew

    Sounds like a great read

  27. LeMinou

    Fascinating cover. Sounds fantastic.

  28. Michael Gonzales

    I have not read any of the series, but they are on my TBR list. I did read the short story that was released late last year and enjoyed it.

  29. Robin Weatherington

    Sounds Great

  30. Nancy

    The Echoes by Jess Montgomery sounds like an interesting and entertaining book.

  31. Jill

    Looks good! Thanks for the opportunity to win! 😊

  32. Cherisse

    This sounds good!

  33. BJM

    This book looks like an interesting read.

  34. Vickie

    Would love to read. Sounds good

  35. April

    Fascinating post and captivating novel.

  36. Vickie

    Would love to read this book

  37. Laini Pearl

    Intriguing and memorable story.

  38. carloshmarlo

    This definitely sounds like a real winner. I’d love to have a copy, Thanks!!

  39. Sally Schmidt

    Great series, fascinating author.

  40. Amy Kubal

    I can’t wait to read this book!!

  41. Laura Repasky

    Looking forward to reading this!

  42. Nancy Jones

    Sounds good.

  43. Vickie Shaw

    I can kinda relate to the characters. I was adopted by an older couple. My mamaw was born in 1889. She passed in 1969. I was 3. My mom born in 1923. Helped make hand Grenades and also worked on a ship building it in California things were just a little different back then I can’t wait to read this book I’ve enjoyed all of them to date and I hope that you continue this series were a very very long time

  44. Melissa Ingram

    Another one to put on my TBR!

  45. Pamela A Casey

    This sounds like a great book but it would be difficult for me to read. I recently lost my Mom. I’m not saying I won’t read it because it sounds better than anything I’ve read in a while.

  46. Tiffany

    This looks great

  47. Laurel Whitney

    I can’t wait to see how these mysteries intertwine!

  48. Rener1961

    I love that you are a plotter–as a writer, I spend so much time making sure my facts are straight and as a reader I am turned off by holes in the plot–will be checking out your series! Blessings!

  49. Lisa Murray

    Loved the first three books in the series and reviewed on Goodreads Would so love to win read & review

  50. Caryl Kane

    I’m looking forward to reading THE ECHOES!

  51. Kathy Reeves

    Looking forward to reading this!

  52. Carole McKinney

    I love books with strong female characters. I would love a chance to win this one!

  53. Deb in Hawaii

    I adore this series so much and can’t wait for this book. It will be interesting to learn more about Beulah.

  54. Patricia Bowden Hawes

    I really want to read this book!

  55. Desmond Warzel

    Awesome.

  56. Holly Miller

    Really looking forward to reading this book. Reading is one of my favorite things to do and this book looks awesome!

  57. MaryC

    Enjoy reading about mother/daughter relationship.

  58. Lorrie L Montgomery

    I enjoyed reading about your characters in this series.

  59. Shirley Evans

    This book looks so very good! Love the chance to win. Thank you.

  60. Debbie Rice

    Awesome giveaway thank you so much for the opportunity and your generosity can’t wait to read this book

  61. Emily Catan

    I’m intrigued by this beautiful book cover, but I’m immensely drawn by the mystery and suspense of the mother-daughter relationship lurking beneath this cover.
    Thank you for the giveaway

  62. Susan Seabolt

    I love the relationship piece

  63. Rebecca McKenna

    The longest relationship mothers and daughters usually have. Often at odds but underneath, a connection that is unexplainable. Looking forward to this book.

  64. Padmini Rao

    Sounds like an interesting read. Would love to win a copy.

  65. Shelley Beachy

    This sounds awesome! I love the idea of Lilly’s Mama as the co-narrator and getting to know her better. Adding this to my TBR list ASAP!

  66. Jenny T

    Always interesting to read about the mother-daughter dynamic. Good luck with this release!

  67. Wendy Barker

    I’ve loved all of your books. You evoke the setting and the times so well. I’ve even introduced your books to some friends who live in Ohio close to the area where your books are set. I’ll bet this one will be just wonderful. Looking forward to hearing more from Mama.

  68. sandra burns

    This sounds so good, from the time period, to the unknown family member in France.

  69. Daniel M

    looks like a fun oen

  70. Linda Peters

    This sounds like a really good read, thanks for the chance

  71. lasvegasnv

    looks intriguing

  72. bellows22

    this book sounds great! i’d love to read it

  73. Geraldine DeAnda

    While Jess Montgomery’s novels reach into the past, her themes and relationships resonate with modern women and their struggles. This latest in her series promises more of the same. Thanks for the give away!

  74. Peter W. Horton Jr.

    Another tale in a very interesting series! Yes!

  75. Sheri Steuben

    This sounds like a great series! You are a new author to me but I listened to one of your interviews and loved it.

  76. Christal M

    Would love to read!

  77. Beth Talmage

    I haven’t started this series yet, but I’ll be paying special attention to the co-narrators when I do. Often those secondary characters contribute to how strongly I like a book or series, especially if I like the relationship between the protagonist and the co-narrator or secondary character, or just like to observe it in the case of frenemies.

  78. Stephanie L Nelson

    I absolutely love your books! Fingers crossed for the win!

  79. Angie Middleton

    Thank you for this chance

  80. Kristin Jones

    I really want to read this one!

  81. corychamb

    Thanks for the opportunity to receive this fascinating book!

  82. jennifer cecil

    Love the cover!

  83. Ilona D

    Read and loved the previous books, ready to read this one!

  84. Linda McKeen

    This sounds intriguing. Mother and daughter relationships can be complicated. Mysteries are my favorite genre.

  85. Denise S Cook

    Can’t wait for this one!

  86. thomp037@umn.edu

    This story looks like a great read that you can’t put down until you are done.

  87. maraschino

    sounds good

  88. MICHELE WRIGHT

    Sounds like a great book! Can’t wait to add Jess to my reading list.

  89. Terri McLeod

    Adding this one to my TBR list ASAP! Sounds like a great read

  90. Beth Lechman

    Sounds like another interesting book. Looking forward to reading.

  91. ViolinGeek

    Intriguing premise. Thanks for the chance to win!

  92. Susan Brown

    Looking forward to another great story from this author; thank for the opportunity to win!

  93. Lindsay Fairbrother-Henige

    Sounds really intriguing!

  94. Maria Blodgett

    I love the idea of different view points, sounds intriguing & yet amusing between characters

  95. theresa norris

    Would love to read this.

  96. JULIE ROSIER

    would love to curl up with this!

  97. Dianne Casey

    Can’t wait to read “The Echoes”. I really enjoyed the first two books in the series and I’m looking forward to catching up on the series.

  98. Karyn M. Newton

    Look forward to reading it!

  99. Antoinette M

    I’d love to read this one!

  100. PAULA

    Would Love to get my hands on this book looks like a good story to read .

  101. Lisa Garrett

    I need to start this series. Sounds interesting.

  102. Jackie

    I’d love to read this book, I’m a Buckeye too! Ohio born and raised.

  103. Kimberly Dull

    This sounds like a great read!

  104. Karen Hale

    This sounds like a great read!

  105. Sabine

    Sounds interesting. Thank you for the chance!

  106. Connie Ruggles

    Sounds very interesting and complex. Thanks for the giveaway!

  107. Cat Roule

    Would love to read and share this book!

  108. Susan Morris

    Love the era mentioned in these books. Can’t wait to read The Echoes!

  109. Irene Antonaccio

    Book sounds so interesting. I cannot wait to read it.

  110. Marisa Young

    Article was interesting. Will have to read the book.

  111. Cyndi Newlan

    I love all things Ohio and look forward to reading more about Lily and Beulah!

  112. Sherman Hughes

    Love this era so I know I would like this book.

  113. Aleta Anderson

    I would love to win a copy of the latest entry in this fine series!

  114. Jan Wishart

    Sounds like a great book

  115. Sue Hooley

    Mother daughter relationships. make for an interesting character development in a mystery.

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  117. Debra F

    Going on my TBR list.

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    I look forward to enjoying this book!

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