Sunday, November 3, 2019

Big Lies in a Small Town by Diane Chamberlain

North Carolina, 2018: Morgan Christopher's life has been derailed. Taking the fall for a crime she did not commit, she finds herself serving a three-year stint in the North Carolina Women's Correctional Center. Her dream of a career in art is put on hold—until a mysterious visitor makes her an offer that will see her released immediately. Her assignment: restore an old post office mural in a sleepy southern town. Morgan knows nothing about art restoration, but desperate to leave prison, she accepts. What she finds under the layers of grime is a painting that tells the story of madness, violence, and a conspiracy of small town secrets.

 North Carolina, 1940: Anna Dale, an artist from New Jersey, wins a national contest to paint a mural for the post office in Edenton, North Carolina. Alone in the world and desperate for work, she accepts. But what she doesn't expect is to find herself immersed in a town where prejudices run deep, where people are hiding secrets behind closed doors, and where the price of being different might just end in murder.

 What happened to Anna Dale? Are the clues hidden in the decrepit mural? Can Morgan overcome her own demons to discover what exists beneath the layers of lies?

 Kindle Edition, 400 pages
 Expected publication: January 14th 2020
 by St. Martin's Press
*****

Diane Chamberlain had me at The Midwife’s Confession. While I haven’t caught up with all her books I am working at it. She takes snippets of history and weaves some wonderful stories. I’ll confess that after reading a couple flips of my kindle screen I actually sighed, it felt like being back with old friends ready for an adventure that I would love.

Big Lies in a Small Town is a hefty title, the theme is obvious and it delivered on all levels. I started Tuesday and finished Friday which lately for me is good, especially coming in at 400 pages. It’s a slow burn as the 2 storylines play out. The character development was spot on, not only for the main players but for others as well. I saw what made them tick and why.

The plot was intricate and unique as it revolves around a time and place where prejudices ran amuck. The research is evident and the author's writing style is why she is a favorite of mine.

Big Lies in a Small Town is a richly detailed story of secrets and lies, mental health, injustice, racism, abuse and more. It’s about connecting two time periods with a conclusion that I loved (while unexpected).

This book will hit bookshelves January 14th, 2020 - perfect to beat away the winter blues.

My sincere thanks to Naureen at St. Martin’s press for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

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