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The Widows of Wichita County

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Apart from sharing the same zip code, Randi Howard, Anna Montano, Meredith Allen, Helena Whitworth and Crystal Howard have absolutely nothing in common—until a fiery explosion on a west Texas oil rig changes everything. Their husbands are men who live to search for "black gold," men who are willing to exchange backbreaking work and long days for danger and excitement—and mo Apart from sharing the same zip code, Randi Howard, Anna Montano, Meredith Allen, Helena Whitworth and Crystal Howard have absolutely nothing in common—until a fiery explosion on a west Texas oil rig changes everything. Their husbands are men who live to search for "black gold," men who are willing to exchange backbreaking work and long days for danger and excitement—and money. But on a blistering day in early autumn four of the men pay the ultimate price—leaving behind one man who wishes he had. In one brief moment a tragedy binds Randi, Anna, Meredith, Helena and Crystal closer together than a lifetime of friendship. As they gather at the hospital, waiting to learn who among them will not have to bury her husband, they turn to one another for support. And so begins a journey of faith, of strength, of tears and of love.


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Apart from sharing the same zip code, Randi Howard, Anna Montano, Meredith Allen, Helena Whitworth and Crystal Howard have absolutely nothing in common—until a fiery explosion on a west Texas oil rig changes everything. Their husbands are men who live to search for "black gold," men who are willing to exchange backbreaking work and long days for danger and excitement—and mo Apart from sharing the same zip code, Randi Howard, Anna Montano, Meredith Allen, Helena Whitworth and Crystal Howard have absolutely nothing in common—until a fiery explosion on a west Texas oil rig changes everything. Their husbands are men who live to search for "black gold," men who are willing to exchange backbreaking work and long days for danger and excitement—and money. But on a blistering day in early autumn four of the men pay the ultimate price—leaving behind one man who wishes he had. In one brief moment a tragedy binds Randi, Anna, Meredith, Helena and Crystal closer together than a lifetime of friendship. As they gather at the hospital, waiting to learn who among them will not have to bury her husband, they turn to one another for support. And so begins a journey of faith, of strength, of tears and of love.

30 review for The Widows of Wichita County

  1. 4 out of 5

    Kathryn

    I enjoyed this story of a number of women suddenly finding themselves widows after an explosion. I liked seeing them band together and support each other. A couple of them had not really loved their husbands and they in the course of things find new love. Extremely well written and worth reading.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Shirlene

    Helena Whitworth had twin girls by her first husband who died in Vietnam a month after the twins were born. Her second husband she married for security. He had four children and was ten years older than she was. He also died. She married JD when she was 50. She said JD was the only husband she ever loved. He was a wealthy wildcatter in the oil business. Helena owned a women's clothing store, Helen's Choice. Anna Montano had married Davis after they met in Italy where she lived. He had come to get Helena Whitworth had twin girls by her first husband who died in Vietnam a month after the twins were born. Her second husband she married for security. He had four children and was ten years older than she was. He also died. She married JD when she was 50. She said JD was the only husband she ever loved. He was a wealthy wildcatter in the oil business. Helena owned a women's clothing store, Helen's Choice. Anna Montano had married Davis after they met in Italy where she lived. He had come to get some horses and had hired her brother, Carlos, to be his foreman. They had run out of things to say to each other after their first anniversary when she failed to become pregnant. He had married her to have children and she had failed him. He had no more use for her and mostly ignored her. Anna had gotten away from her overprotected lifestyle in Italy but had nothing much to do in America and had no friends. She was rarely allowed off her property. Her father had been abusive to her mother and Carlos was abusive as well. Randi's mother had run off when she was three and her father was a drunk. She and Crystal were close friends. Crystal married the rich uncle, Shelby Howard, and Randi married the poor nephew, Jimmy. Crystal's stepfather had kicked her out when she was 16. Shelby was quite a bit older but Crystal loved him. She didn't ask for any of his money and was not in his will. Shelby wanted a trophy wife and there were times that she was lonely even when around him. She was tiring of the plastic surgeries and the exercising to keep up appearances for him. He didn't seem to care much for her feelings but more for her looks. She put up with his asking her to show off her private body parts to his friends while she cried inside. James was good to Randi. She just wanted more. She was preparing to leave him, her third husband, and head for fame as a singer in Nashville. Meredith was married to Kevin Allen. They had been together since she was 16. Now after being together for 10 years and having no children, they were running out of things to say to each other. She was the second grade teacher in town and worked at the courthouse doing filing and other things at the courthouse on weekends and during the summer. The 5 husbands were on the Montano land where JD was having a well drilled. There were explosives on the rig where they shouldn't have been. Jimmy was Shelby's second in command and went anywhere he did. Davis was there and Shelby had brought Kevin over to show him the workings of the rig to see if he could talk him into investing. There was an explosion and only one of the husbands was barely alive and badly burned. They couldn't identify him and they were convinced that it was Shelby. Crystal set up housekeeping in the hospital to care for him. One of his attorney's helped Crystal slowly become more involved in the running of Shelby's business much to the dismay of his oldest son. She was offered a payment equal to 1/3 of his company to go away and leave the business to his son but she turned down the offer. She did notice that Shelby seemed to care more for her feelings since the accident as he regained the ability to speak. He tried to tell her that he wasn't Shelby but she didn't hear what he was trying to say. She explained it all away and he let her. Randi had come by the hospital after he was first admitted and told him that if he was Jimmy to keep it to himself. He didn't have the money to pay for his care and she was leaving him. Crystal would take better care of him than she was capable of. He kept quiet and let himself be cared for by Crystal and allowed her to think he was Shelby. Randi left and went to Memphis. She had several jobs waiting tables and a few singing gigs but never was too successful. She kept trying though and came home for holidays to see the other widows. Anna found a way to get off her land and got to know her neighbor, Zach Larsen. Her brother, Carlos, found out after a few months and nearly beat him to death. Anna shot him and Carlos accused Zach of raping Anna and shooting him. With the help of the widows, the truth came out and Carlos was arrested for falsely accusing Zach and for beating both him and Anna. Zach and Anna eventually married. Meredith nearly fainted after hearing about the death of her husband and the sheriff ended up catching and supporting her. He came by to check on her a few times and ended up spending the night once. He then told Meredith that he would like to see her again but Meredith decided that she was worth more than to be an affair. She told him that she wouldn't see him again until he was ready to be seen with her in the daylight hours. He tried to stay away from her but eventually learned that she was worth more and allowed himself to be seen with her, holding her hand in the daylight hours. Helena never gave into the fact that JD was dead. She spoke to him as if he were alive. Her daughters became increasingly concerned about her behavior and started helping out more at her store. They were larger women and started including clothing that would fit them in her stores and the clothes actually sold quite well. Helena was impressed. She also stopped taking her medication and became increasingly tired. She eventually had a heart attack and died a few months after her husband.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Kayo

    This book started out strong, and did not disappoint. Well worth the time to read.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Teri Pre

    I usually love books by Jodi Thomas but I just couldn't connect with any of the characters. I got about 20% in and gave up. I usually love books by Jodi Thomas but I just couldn't connect with any of the characters. I got about 20% in and gave up.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    I started this and read just about half within the first sitting. That's a great sign, especially anymore with my five second attention span. But as it went on, I started losing interest. The characters were fair. I enjoyed most of them and their interactions were interesting enough. By the end, I had warmed to it again but it really wasn't one I foresee sticking with me. I started this and read just about half within the first sitting. That's a great sign, especially anymore with my five second attention span. But as it went on, I started losing interest. The characters were fair. I enjoyed most of them and their interactions were interesting enough. By the end, I had warmed to it again but it really wasn't one I foresee sticking with me.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Brianna

    I wanted a book about friendships, but this book is mainly about romance. The book doesn’t describe or show us how the women become friends, we’re just told they do and are expected to believe it. I mainly read this book because I’m from Wichita county.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Janice Hurst

    Fluff This was a good but predictable story. Easy read. Likeable characters. West Texas oil people will enjoy the tidbits of oil facts inbetween chapters.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Gerri

    Five women walk into a room at the local hospital. Four find out they are now widows, the result of an oil rig explosion. Five different viewpoints, emotions, fears and new found friendships are formed that cross any barriers that may have been in place before the tragedy that affects them all. A "bar light beauty", a second grade teacher, an owner of a quality dress shop, a painter and horse lover from Italy, and a woman who married up. All come together because of their common grief and vow to Five women walk into a room at the local hospital. Four find out they are now widows, the result of an oil rig explosion. Five different viewpoints, emotions, fears and new found friendships are formed that cross any barriers that may have been in place before the tragedy that affects them all. A "bar light beauty", a second grade teacher, an owner of a quality dress shop, a painter and horse lover from Italy, and a woman who married up. All come together because of their common grief and vow to help each other. The fear of going on alone for some is almost overwhelming. The author's greatness is in showing how these women band together, and do help and support one another. Each one has the courage to fight for what they want, what they need to become versions of themselves they can be proud of, and can accept the love and friendships that now come their way. Amazing work of fiction. Loved it!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Mary Higginson

    Not a new release but worth a read if you come across it. It's typical Jodi Thomas; comfortable and engaging but with a bit of an edge. The characters are quirky and well rounded and Tomas demonstrates a real feel for the land and peoples of the barren landscapes and isolated communities of Texas. Five women bond together after an oil rig explosion kills four of their husbands and burns one beyond recognition. Although they are from different backgrounds they find shelter and support with each o Not a new release but worth a read if you come across it. It's typical Jodi Thomas; comfortable and engaging but with a bit of an edge. The characters are quirky and well rounded and Tomas demonstrates a real feel for the land and peoples of the barren landscapes and isolated communities of Texas. Five women bond together after an oil rig explosion kills four of their husbands and burns one beyond recognition. Although they are from different backgrounds they find shelter and support with each other and we learn that what we see o the surface of their lives is not the reality of what they are living. At first shocked and lost, they find through their mutual distress a way to move forward and reclaim their lives. A good read, especially for rainy days and Sundays.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Claudia Cheyne

    It started out like any other October weekday in Clifton Creek, Texas. Then an oil rig explosion changed the lives of five women. They first came together in a room at the hospital where they waited for news of what happened to their husbands. Four men were killed instantly. A fifth man was so badly burned that his identity could not be confirmed. These strong women made a pact in that room to be there for one another. And so the story begins. . . We follow them through the funerals and into thei It started out like any other October weekday in Clifton Creek, Texas. Then an oil rig explosion changed the lives of five women. They first came together in a room at the hospital where they waited for news of what happened to their husbands. Four men were killed instantly. A fifth man was so badly burned that his identity could not be confirmed. These strong women made a pact in that room to be there for one another. And so the story begins. . . We follow them through the funerals and into their new and uncertain futures. Some of the marriages were not so happy, but some were truly in love with their spouses. This was a very interesting book. It was different than anything I've read before. Each chapter started out with historical information about drilling for oil.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Joanne

    A local library always has free books after their winter or summer book club for participants to choose. I thought this sounded interesting and I had never read this author. It was a book about strong women in Texas. Five women become friends after a local oil accident claims most of their husbands. One survives, but he is very badly burned and need much rehabilitation and care. The women’s backgrounds are very diverse and normally their paths did not cross, but they become friends and pull thei A local library always has free books after their winter or summer book club for participants to choose. I thought this sounded interesting and I had never read this author. It was a book about strong women in Texas. Five women become friends after a local oil accident claims most of their husbands. One survives, but he is very badly burned and need much rehabilitation and care. The women’s backgrounds are very diverse and normally their paths did not cross, but they become friends and pull their lives together after most of them become widows. Their friendship and life after the accident is well told and realistic

  12. 4 out of 5

    Norma Reasor

    Wichita County This was a really good book about 5 women coping with a terrible tragedy, becoming connected in a way few people ever are, helping and holding onto each other through their darkest hours. I would have liked it more if she had written this fictional story about a fictional place instead of getting everything wrong about the county her fictional town was set in. Having lived in Wichita County for 75 years, the only thing halfway true was the oil boom.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Linda

    Jodi Thomas tells a beautiful story of five women in a small Texas town after a deadly oil well explosion where four of the husbands were killed. She tells about the women and about their marriages before that horrible day. She tells what these brave ladies went through in their day to day lives and how they became stronger and how they found what they had been looking for all along. Wonderful story.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Cheryle

    I read this book because of the setting. I once lived in Wichita County, Texas where this is set. It is a typical romance. Five women are called to a West Texas hospital after an oil rig accident killed four men and burnt the one survivor beyond recognition. As they wait together to find out which husband survived, the women come to know each other and learn how to cope with the tragedy as they re-build their lives.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Ulana

    I chose this book since I lived in Wichita County for most of my life. It is interesting to read a book with the setting in a place one is familiar. I had never heard of the town this story took place in so it must be a made up town. We had pumping jacks on my Daddy's ranch and had many oil derricks there during the boom days. I enjoyed reading this story and identified with the school teacher since I taught elementary school for 35 years and liked to wear teacher clothes. I chose this book since I lived in Wichita County for most of my life. It is interesting to read a book with the setting in a place one is familiar. I had never heard of the town this story took place in so it must be a made up town. We had pumping jacks on my Daddy's ranch and had many oil derricks there during the boom days. I enjoyed reading this story and identified with the school teacher since I taught elementary school for 35 years and liked to wear teacher clothes.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Theresa

    The Widows of Wichita County This is the first book I've read by Jodi Thomas. I was actually drawn to this book by its title. This book was a heartwarming tale of five women in a small town in West Texas, and how they were drawn together by tragedy. I absolutely loved this book and I know it won't be the last book by this author that I read. I highly recommend this book! The Widows of Wichita County This is the first book I've read by Jodi Thomas. I was actually drawn to this book by its title. This book was a heartwarming tale of five women in a small town in West Texas, and how they were drawn together by tragedy. I absolutely loved this book and I know it won't be the last book by this author that I read. I highly recommend this book!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

    I might be being a bit generous with 4 stars, but I enjoyed the simpleness of this book. I knew what I was getting from the synopsis and it was exactly as it purported. Not a lot of depth, just a decent storyline. That being said, it was a fun cast of wily women characters that held each other up. This is a good book for swinging in the hammock on a quiet afternoon.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Larissa

    3.5 The writing wasn't the best and it could have used some edits, but the story was pretty good. I really enjoyed it. Parts of it were predictable, but I didn't mind. I did feel like the author hinted at more plot development and found the ending to be unsatisfactory, but I liked this book more than I thought I would when I started it. 3.5 The writing wasn't the best and it could have used some edits, but the story was pretty good. I really enjoyed it. Parts of it were predictable, but I didn't mind. I did feel like the author hinted at more plot development and found the ending to be unsatisfactory, but I liked this book more than I thought I would when I started it.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Lyna Reyes

    Once again, Jodie has really touched my heart! This story that follows the lives of four women-Randi Howard, Anna Montano, Meredith Allen, Helena Whitworth and Crystal Howard as they struggle to either face widowhood or not. This results from a horrific oil rig explosion! They bond over this tragedy and become stronger in unity!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Paula

    I have read this book multiple times and love to reread it. Jodi Thomas has a unique writing style and is very gifted in developing her characters, time lines, scenes, situations and emotional feelings. I loved this story and it is a fascinating read and so enjoyable. The ending brought a smile to my face and eased my heart.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Rick

    Excellent read, multiple story lines. Hopefully, there will be a sequel to this book. Being raised in Wichita County, Texas was a plus for this book. You can't go wrong with this book. I highly recommend that you read it. Excellent read, multiple story lines. Hopefully, there will be a sequel to this book. Being raised in Wichita County, Texas was a plus for this book. You can't go wrong with this book. I highly recommend that you read it.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Katy

    Truth A lovely story interwoven with wildcat oil drilling nuggets of history. Each woman came from such diverse backgrounds adding her own strength to the bond they built from tragedy. Respect, growth, understanding, precious fruits forged via fear and grief.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sharon Grim

    Another Hit by Jodi I have read a number of books by this author, and she continues to write interesting stories, with characters that become friends. I always know I'll enjoy her books. Another Hit by Jodi I have read a number of books by this author, and she continues to write interesting stories, with characters that become friends. I always know I'll enjoy her books.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Cole

    Great book! This was a great book! The characters were so endearing that I kept thinking about them until I picked up the book again! It felt like I would miss something before I started reading again.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Joanne Cheek

    Very disappointed. The theme was different, not your run-of-the-mill story. Started out quite captivating, but very soon, fizzled out to be more of a romance story than a ‘meaty’ novel. Chic lit.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Diane

    Jodi Thomas always develops her characters so that you feel like you know them. They become your friends. This story brings you into the lives of these women and your heart aches for each one. I've never been disappointed in a Jodi Thomas novel; they always leave me wanting to know more about the lives of the characters. Jodi Thomas always develops her characters so that you feel like you know them. They become your friends. This story brings you into the lives of these women and your heart aches for each one. I've never been disappointed in a Jodi Thomas novel; they always leave me wanting to know more about the lives of the characters.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Virginia

    Largely a book of second chances and how tragedy can pull people together no matter how diverse. Entertaining and well written, I enjoyed it in spite of the tear inducing parts.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Eva

    Every book Jodi Thomas writes holds my attention from beginning to end. Thank you!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Barbara Blanchette

    I enjoyed this story very much. The characters were easy to like and the plot had just enough twists to keep it flowing.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Judy

    I liked the way each chapter had information about early oil drilling.

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