Big Lies in a Small Town by Diane Chamberlain
Updated: Jan 29, 2020
Big Lies in a Small Town is a novel of two stories, set in North Carolina, masterfully interlinking by novel’s end.
In 2018, Morgan Christopher is partway through a three-year sentence for a crime that she did not commit. She was a talented art student, but all thoughts of a career in arts are now on hold. But then she has a surprise visitor and she is out on parole with an unusual requirement. The condition of her parole is to restore an old post office mural from the 1940s. She doesn’t know anything about art restoration, but she seizes the opportunity to escape jail. But the mural is more damaged than anyone could have imagined, and when Morgan cleans off all the grime, she discovers a piece of art that looks like the artist lost her mind. Morgan is determined to not only restore the artwork but to get to the bottom of what happened to Anna Dale, who disappeared without a trace when the mural was completed.
In 1940 Anna Dale, an artist from New Jersey, has lost her mother to madness but is perfectly sane herself when she wins a national contest to paint a mural for the post office in Edenton. She is excited at this thrilling opportunity, but not all the townsfolk like an outsider painting the mural, least of all the local artist who expected to win the contest himself.
Big Lies in a Small Town is a fabulous book that alternates between present and past, eventually bringing the stories together. At its heart is a story of violence, murder and small-town secrets. It is also the story of two extraordinary women who are bound together by their art and their determination not to let life knock them down permanently. Big Lies in a Small Town has believable, well-drawn characters and a plotline that will keep you turning the pages.
Reviewer: Karen McMillan