Author: Diane Chamberlain
Published by: St. Martin's Press on Jan. 14, 2020
Genres: Women's Fiction, Historical Fiction, Mystery/Thriller
Format: Paperback, ARC
Source: St. Martin's Press
Book Rating: 9/10
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?
Mysterious, engaging, and thoroughly absorbing!
Big Lies in a Small Town is a pensive, suspenseful tale that sweeps you away to Edenton, North Carolina during 1939, as well as 2018, and into the lives of Anna Dale and Morgan Christopher, two troubled, talented, young women whose strength, compassion, perseverance, and artistic abilities will be extremely tested by a small town with a history brimming with secrets, tension, prejudices, narrow-minded mentality, and violence.
The writing is seamless and descriptive. The characters are intelligent, multilayered, and creative. And the plot, alternating between timelines, unravels and intertwines into a sweeping saga of life, loss, family, self-discovery, expectations, friendship, heartbreak, addiction, mental illness, discrimination, jealousy, and the beautiful, intricate details involved in the process of creating and restoring artwork.
Overall, Big Lies in a Small Town is thought-provoking, alluring, and incredibly intriguing and with its rich characterization and impeccably detailed storyline, it’s another stunning example of why Diane Chamberlain is one of my all-time favourite authors.
This novel is available now.
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Thank you to St. Martins Press for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.