Big Lies in a Small Town
by Chamberlain, Diane






"From bestselling author Diane Chamberlain comes an irresistible new novel. 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?"-





Diane Chamberlain is the New York Times and international bestselling author of The Stolen Marriage, The Dream Daughter, and Big Lies in a Small Town. She lives in North Carolina with her partner, photographer John Pagliuca, and her sheltie.





Chamberlain (The Dream Daughter, 2018) again weaves together the frayed threads of a story that reaches across time. In prison for a crime she didn't commit, Morgan Christopher is shocked to learn that she will be released if she agrees to restore a painting for a museum opening. Though her love of art never extended to restoration, she accepts the offer and is soon on her way to Edenton, North Carolina, to put life back into a mural created in the 1940s by Anna Dale. Morgan's narrative is interspersed with Anna's, the young artist who came to Edenton 60 years earlier to paint a mural for the post office and then disappeared-with the mural in which she'd poured literal blood, sweat, and tears. When Morgan begins uncovering clues to Anna's secrets in the recovered mural, she discovers that a lot more than the painting links Edenton's past with its present. Chamberlain's writing is reminiscent of a quilt made up of pieces from different people, places, and times, stitched together into a single, emotional story. Copyright 2019 Booklist Reviews.





A tale of two artists, living 78 years apart in a small Southern town, and the third artist who links them. The fates of two white painters in Edenton, North Carolina, intertwine with the legacy of a third, that of Jesse Jameson Williams, a prominent African American artist with Edenton roots. In 2018, the recently deceased Jesse has left a very unusual will. In life, Jesse paid his success forward by helping underdog artists. Morgan Christopher, the last, posthumous recipient of Jesse's largesse, can't imagine why he chose her, a complete stranger who is doing time for an alcohol-related crash that left another driver paralyzed. Released on an early parole engineered by Jesse's daughter, Lisa, Morgan will receive $50,000 to restore a mural painted by one Anna Dale in 1940 in time for a gallery opening on Aug. 5, 2018. If Morgan misses this deadline, not only is her deal off, but Lisa will, due to a puzzling, thinly motivated condition of Jesse's will, lose her childhood home. In an alternating narrative, Anna, winner of a U.S. Treasury Department competition, has been sent from he r native New Jersey to paint a mural for the Edenton post office. Anna has zero familiarity with the South, particularly with Jim Crow. She recognizes Jesse's exceptional talent and mentors him, to the ire of Edenton's white establishment. Martin Drapple, a local portraitist rejected in the competition, is at first a good sport, when he's sober, until, somewhat too suddenly, he's neither. Issues of addiction and mental illness are foremost in both past and present. Anna's late mother had manic episodes. Morgan's estranged parents are unrepentant boozers. And Anna's mural of civic pride is decidedly strange. One of the strengths here is the creditable depiction of the painter's process, in Anna's case, and the restorer's art, in Morgan's. Despite the fraught circumstances challenging all three painters, conflict is lacking. The 1940 racial tensions are unrealistically mild, and Jesse's testamentary testiness is not mined for its full stakes-raising potential. An engaging, well-researched, and sometimes thought-provoking art mystery. Copyright Kirkus 2019 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.






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