Book Review

BIG LIES IN A SMALL TOWN by Diane Chamberlain

Rating: 4.5 / 5

BIG LIES IN A SMALL TOWN by Diane Chamberlain was a book I saw praised by so many of my most trusted sources, so I of course had to pick up a copy. It came out on top when I asked which of the most recommended books I should pick for one of my Reading Women Challenge prompts.

BIG LIES IN A SMALL TOWN tells its story in two timelines. In 2018, Morgan Christopher is in jail, convicted for a crime she did not actually commit. When she gets an unexpected visit from the daughter of a man famous in the art world, Morgan gets a chance to revive her life and her love of art. She has been chosen to restore an old post office mural in exchange for some cash and her immediate release from jail. The problem is that while Morgan loves art, she knows absolutely nothing about art restoration. Still, the offer is too good to pass up and she finds herself cleaning and restoring a most unusual mural.

In 1940 Anna Dale is the artist behind the mural. After winning a contest to get the prestigious assignment, Anna relocates from her home in New Jersey to the small southern town in Southern Carolina where the mural is to be placed. The town is conservative and filled with prejudice. She is looked down on from the first moment and soon she finds herself uncovering the dirty secrets the town would prefer be kept hidden.

I went with this book after multiple recommendations and my book friends did not steer me wrong. I was hooked to this story, completing it partly on audio and partly in print because I didn’t want to put it down. Present day Morgan not only is trying to fix the mural but she’s also captivated by Anna’s story, trying to uncover all of the unknowns about this young woman artist from years ago.

This isn’t always an easy read. The town where Anna is working is full of prejudice which comes through clearly on the page. There is violence and sexual assault as trigger warnings too. Still, these topics are handled with compassion and I didn’t feel they were at all gratuitous.

This was my first book by the author and I definitely will be reading more. In fact, after seeing all the praise for this one, I bought a couple more of her books for my shelves before I even read this one! This is definitely a mystery that I would also recommend.

Reading Challenges:

#ReadingWomenChallenge – A Book That’s Frequently Recommended to You

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