The Echoes (The Kinship Series, 4)

Written by Jess Montgomery
Review by Paula Martinac

It’s the Fourth of July in 1928 in Kinship, Ohio, and the hardscrabble town is celebrating the opening of an amusement park dedicated to soldiers who fell at the bloody battle of Meuse-Argonne ten years earlier—including the beloved brother of the town’s sheriff, Lily Ross.

With holiday festivities on the horizon, Lily’s mother, Beulah, finally reveals a secret she’s been guarding for three years. Before dying in battle, Lily’s much-venerated brother, Roger, fell in love with a French woman and fathered a child. His daughter, Esmé, now nine years old and orphaned, is making her way to Kinship to live with her American family.

While en route, however, Esmé is kidnapped, sending Lily on a desperate search to rescue the niece she didn’t know she had. At the same time, a woman’s body turns up in the park’s fishing pond in an apparent murder, and an abandoned infant appears on the doorstep of Chalmer Fitzpatrick, the wealthy war veteran who built the park. Lily’s investigations pile up, uncovering the “echoes” of long-buried feuds that have festered among the townspeople before ending in violence.

Those unfamiliar with the three earlier books in Jess Montgomery’s Kinship series will still find The Echoes accessible, although they may initially work harder to keep track of the many characters’ names and relationships. The evocative setting and strong characterization, especially of Lily and Beulah, who alternate points of view, should hold readers’ attention.