ARC / Book Review: Big Lies In A Small Town

Big Lies In A Small Town

By: Diane Chamberlain


Genre: Historical Fiction

Rating: ✨✨✨✨

Bookish Tip: There is a life lesson in this book – Make peace with the past so one can move on.

Content Warning: Rape, Racism, Sexism

Special thanks to St. Martin’s Press for the advance copy in exchange for an honest review.


Synopsis

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?


Review

Fans of Where the Crawdads Sing will simply adore Big Lies In a Small Town, a beautifully written historical fiction filled with small town prejudices. It is a gripping and captivating story that interweaves two different time periods flawlessly.

The entire plot centers around the mystery of an extremely odd painting from 1940. The story behind the painting is that the painter, Anna Dale, went insane. But is that the true story? And why in 2018 does the now deceased artist, Jesse Jameson Williams, task Morgan Christopher, a young woman with a uncertain future, with restoring the painting? Morgan has never restored a painter in her life!

I love the fast pace of Big Lies In A Small Town and how the mystery unfolds through every secret and every lie. The main characters – Anna, Morgan, Oliver, and Jesse are realistic and relatable. I enjoy how they all make amends with the mistakes of their past. Lastly, I love that the ending is not as predictable as one would think. This makes Big Lies In A Small Town all that more compelling.

Recommendation: A great read with secrets, lies, mystery, and a little bit of love.


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