Big Lies in a Small Town
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?

Big Lies in a Small Town Details

TitleBig Lies in a Small Town
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJan 14th, 2020
PublisherSt. Martin's Press
ISBN-139781250087331
Rating
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Fiction, Mystery

Big Lies in a Small Town Review

  • Paromjit
    January 1, 1970
    Diane Chamberlain writes a compulsive and gripping novel that skillfully weaves the stories of two women from the past and the present. In 2018, 22 year old Morgan Christopher is serving a prison sentence at the North Carolina Correctional Facility in Raleigh for a crime she did not commit. Out of the blue, she receives a visit from Lisa Williams, whose father, the artist Jesse Jameson, has recently died and the lawyer, Andrea Fuller. He left behind a will in which he makes it clear that he Diane Chamberlain writes a compulsive and gripping novel that skillfully weaves the stories of two women from the past and the present. In 2018, 22 year old Morgan Christopher is serving a prison sentence at the North Carolina Correctional Facility in Raleigh for a crime she did not commit. Out of the blue, she receives a visit from Lisa Williams, whose father, the artist Jesse Jameson, has recently died and the lawyer, Andrea Fuller. He left behind a will in which he makes it clear that he wants Morgan to restore a 70 year old mural canvas. There are conditions attached, but it offers Morgan the opportunity to be free from prison, and whilst she seriously doubts her abilities are up to the task required, she acquiesces to the demanding challenge. In the past, Anna Dale enters an art competition, this leads to her being offered the opportunity to paint an art mural for the Post Office in Edenton, North Carolina. She goes there to get a feel of the place, and whilst experiencing some Southern hospitality, she encounters hostility too. It is mainly the men that are so unwelcoming and locals who would have preferred the local artist, Martin Drapple, to have been doing the mural. They are many who are not happy with Anna's idea of painting The Tea Party, having their own ideas instead, many of which are self serving. She depicts her own controversial interpretation of The Tea Party based on her perceptions of the truth about the place. However, strangely Anna and the painting both disappear. Morgan is discouraged when she sees how much work the mural needs, but is aided by a museum's art curator. Before long she becomes consumed by the task and by Anna, wanting to do her justice. Can she solve the mystery of Anna and uncover the truth?Chamberlain writes an emotionally engaging story, richly detailed, of a town with plenty of intrigue, secrets and lies. It is thought provoking in the serious issues it covers of art, abuse, racism, misogyny, justice, prejudice and mental health. Morgan and Anna are connected through time and art, and I became completely immersed in the challenging lives of both women. The characterisation is captivating, and both timelines are equally enthralling. This is another fantastic read from the author, and one which I recommend highly to others. Many thanks to St Martin's Press for an ARC.
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  • Dorie - Cats&Books :)
    January 1, 1970
    ***NOW AVAILABLE, YOU WON'T BE DISAPPOINTED IN THIS ONE***This is only the second novel that I have read by Ms. Chamberlain. This book is quite different from “The Dream Daughter” which involved time travel and a woman’s decision about the fate of her unborn child. What this book shares with the previous book that I read is a dual timeline once again and strong character development. I would classify this more as a mystery with a very unique story. I found the flow to be wonderful and it was ***NOW AVAILABLE, YOU WON'T BE DISAPPOINTED IN THIS ONE***This is only the second novel that I have read by Ms. Chamberlain. This book is quite different from “The Dream Daughter” which involved time travel and a woman’s decision about the fate of her unborn child. What this book shares with the previous book that I read is a dual timeline once again and strong character development. I would classify this more as a mystery with a very unique story. I found the flow to be wonderful and it was easy to move from one timeline to another, I really enjoyed it.We first meet Morgan Christopher as she is serving a sentence for a crime that she didn’t actually commit, in Raleigh, North Carolina, but I will leave you to discover the details of that crime, it is 2018. What happens next sets us up for the entire story. Two women, one the daughter of a famous painter, Jesse Jameson, named Lisa, and her attorney, Andrea Fuller, come to visit Morgan, they have a proposition for Morgan. They want her to restore a mural that had been painted for a post office and has been hidden in Jesse’s home and now is a pivotal issue in the details of his will as he has recently passed away. There are strict guidelines and dates for when the mural must be restored and placed in a new gallery and he wanted Morgan Christopher to do the restoration. We don’t know how or why he insisted that Morgan do the work at this point. Even though she has never done any work of this type she was an art student for 3 years and of course wants to be released from prison. We will follow Morgan as she lives with Lisa and proceeds to restore the mural which is badly damaged and so grimy they can hardly make out the scene it depicts.In the other timeline we are introduced to Anna Dale, an artist from New Jersey who has won a contest to paint a mural for the post office in Edenton, North Carolina, it is 1939. She was not actually expecting to win the contest so she drives there to see what the area and the people there are like. She finds the “south” to still be small minded with lots of racial prejudice and ideas of where a woman should be, and they feel that is at home! They are unhappy that a local man, Martin Drapple, didn’t win the contest and we will find out just how many obstacles that Anna has to face in proceeding to paint the mural. We are also left with the question of what happened to Anna? Why wasn’t the mural ever installed?Without giving away any more of the plot I can tell you that this book has strong, competent and complicated women who “rise to the occasion” and many issues will be addressed including, racism, abusive family situations, mental illness, injustice and the deeply seated prejudices of the town. There are other strong characters in the book which are all believable and I cared deeply about the outcome of the story.I can highly recommend this book. I received an ARC of this novel from the publisher through Netgalley. It is set to publish on January 14, 2020.
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  • Deanna
    January 1, 1970
    My reviews can also be seen at: https://deesradreadsandreviews.wordpr...Another terrific read from Diane Chamberlain!!!2018 - Morgan Christopher is starting her second summer in the North Carolina Correctional Facility. Morgan is surprised when she is told that two women are there to see her. She normally doesn't receive visitors. Lisa Williams and Andrea Fuller introduce themselves and get right to the point. “Andrea and I are here to offer you a way out of this place”.Lisa and Andrea ask My reviews can also be seen at: https://deesradreadsandreviews.wordpr...Another terrific read from Diane Chamberlain!!!2018 - Morgan Christopher is starting her second summer in the North Carolina Correctional Facility. Morgan is surprised when she is told that two women are there to see her. She normally doesn't receive visitors. Lisa Williams and Andrea Fuller introduce themselves and get right to the point. “Andrea and I are here to offer you a way out of this place”.Lisa and Andrea ask Morgan if she's heard of Jesse Jameson Williams. Jesse Jameson was a famous artist who recently passed away. He's also one of Morgan’s favorite artists. His work stole her breath the first time she saw it. Jesse had dedicated himself to helping young artists. He helped people that he thought had promise but were headed down the wrong path. MORGAN was to be his next project. Morgan is shocked. She never met Jesse Jameson Williams, so how did he know her?Jesse was building an art gallery in Edenton when he passed away. Jesse wanted Morgan to restore a mural that was originally created by an artist named Anna Dale. During the depression, the government had hired artists to paint murals for public buildings. For some reason, this mural was never installed. It is meant to hang in the foyer of the new gallery. It MUST be completed by the day of the gallery opening which is just two months away.Morgan knows she can’t refuse this offer. She will be paid to complete the project and she’ll be out of prison. She tells herself that completing the mural is nothing more than a means to an end.Morgan has no idea just how important this mural is and what it will become to her.What happened to the artist who originally painted the mural?Will Morgan be able to complete it in time? I REALLY enjoyed this novel!The story is told from two different points of view. We learn about Morgan’s background and what led to her downfall. We also find out more about the artist, twenty-two-year-old, Anna Dale and what happened during her time in Edenton in 1939.I found both story-lines extremely interesting. They flowed well and I liked how everything came together. I had no problem switching back and forth between the two time-frames. As usual, the author has created characters that were easy to root for. I was invested in both main characters stories and couldn’t wait to see how things worked out. The story was very emotional at times as it deals with many important issues like mental illness, racism, poverty, and more.Diane Chamberlain never lets me down. I loved this novel and I really can’t wait to see what she comes up with next. I'd like to thank St. Martin’s Press for providing me with an advanced copy of this novel. All opinions are my own.
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  • Mary Beth *Traveling Sister*
    January 1, 1970
    Five Bright Shiny StarsNorth 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 🎉🎉Five Bright Shiny Stars🎉🎉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 theclues hidden in the decrepit mural? Can Morgan overcome her own demons to discover what exists beneath the layers of lies?This book was a slow burn in the beginning but it was also very intriguing. I was very interested in the mural. I had many thoughts going through my head and couldn't wait to find out what was going to happen next. When I got to the second half of the book, I just wanted to devour it. It was so good. I really loved this book. The plot and the painting was so unique. Diane Chamberlain is such a talented author. She really knows how to weave a great story. I am a big fan of hers. I also loved the characters in this book. They were so well developed that I felt like I knew them well. I loved Jesse and Morgan and felt so sorry for Anna! I loved reading the journal too. It was so interesting and intriguing. I felt that the painting was a character too. I enjoyed reading about the mural being restored and the history behind it. The mural tells the story of madness, violence and a conspiracy of small town secrets. I loved the ending too. I thought it was just perfect. I thought it was cleverly done. This was a Traveling Sister Read and so far we all loved it. I want to thank St. Martin's Press for the ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.Happy New Year!!!
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  • Nilufer Ozmekik
    January 1, 1970
    Refined, impressive, effective story-telling and adroitly, meticulously developed two amazing characters and their lyrically interwind stories. I’m giving my historical, provocative, stunning four stars for this intriguing journey!Two artists from different timelines, suffering from the life choices they made because they cannot control them. Two voices shout at us their heart-wrenching stories and want us listen to them. So let’s hear them out, turning the pages to learn more about those Refined, impressive, effective story-telling and adroitly, meticulously developed two amazing characters and their lyrically interwind stories. I’m giving my historical, provocative, stunning four stars for this intriguing journey!Two artists from different timelines, suffering from the life choices they made because they cannot control them. Two voices shout at us their heart-wrenching stories and want us listen to them. So let’s hear them out, turning the pages to learn more about those amazing women: At 2018, in North Carolina, Morgan Christopher is an inmate, serving her prison time for the crime she didn’t even commit ( she took the blame for her shameless boyfriend who truly vanishes as soon as she’s convicted.) gets an offer she cannot refuse! (I know it sounded like Godfather’s signature quote but this offer is truly cannot be rejected!) One of her favorite famous painter Jesse Jameson’s daughter Lisa (I visualized her as moderate version of Janelle Monae)visits her, accompanied by attorney Andrea Fuller ( a softer version of Viola Davis’ Annalise Keating character). The famous painter recently passed away and in his will he strictly emphasized he requested an old rural’s restoration. And the person who wanted to do this job is : Morgan. Before he died, Jesse Jameson was working on a special project to give the talented and neglected people have a second chance to prove they can achieve anything they put their minds to. So naturally Morgan accepts the offer even she is not experienced artist about mural restorations. But in two months she will finish her project and she will be paid 50K, and most importantly she will be out of the prison. But she has no idea what kind of compelling and challenging job she’s getting into. And let’s get back to the other story took place on 1939, in Edenton, North Carolina. This is the story of the artist who created the mural that Morgan is going to work on. ANNA DALE, a talented woman from New Jersey, suffering from deep grief of her recently deceased mother. She won a contest and got an offer to paint a mural for the post office of Edenton. So she drives there to see more about the landscapes. And her journey to the South begins. She feels anxious because of the town’s people’s dubious and prejudiced approach to her. They are not so happy because their local man, Martin Drappie didn’t win the contest and he lost it against a young, inexperienced WOMAN artist.So you may guess she is not welcomed with open arms to the town. And she disappears after she finished her paint. So many rumors out there talking about her mental illness and she might have suffered from emotional breakdown during her working process.So what happened to Anna? Could Morgan finish the mural restoration on time and also find what is conclusion of Anna’s story?No spoilers! Already shut my mouth. You gotta read the rest.This is so different book when you compare it with “Dream Daughter”. It’s like comparing between tomatoes and watermelons so you’d better skip that process and get ready to read something unique.This is mostly an emotional, historical reading deals with so many heavy issues starting from racism, women equality, abuse, mental illness but is also questions family bounds, secrets, love and meaning of the life.It is a greatly depicted, memorable, heartbreaking and powerful story about two strong women! Sometimes pacing was a little slow for me but sometimes it is good to take a break, slow down and absorb the emotions and gather your thoughts.Special thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for sharing me this great ARC COPY in exchange my honest review. I truly enjoyed it.
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  • Elyse Walters
    January 1, 1970
    NO SPOILERS....only descriptive teasers...Diane Chamberlain knows what a good story is about. She continues to arrive at new levels of power with each of her novels being more impressive than the one before. A very loved novelist by readers all around the world....I, too, became an instant giddy fan in 2014, when I read “Necessary Lies”. The story itself was a punch-in-the-gut explosive historical awakening. Having now read about a half dozen more of her novels....what stands out for me is Diane NO SPOILERS....only descriptive teasers...Diane Chamberlain knows what a good story is about. She continues to arrive at new levels of power with each of her novels being more impressive than the one before. A very loved novelist by readers all around the world....I, too, became an instant giddy fan in 2014, when I read “Necessary Lies”. The story itself was a punch-in-the-gut explosive historical awakening. Having now read about a half dozen more of her novels....what stands out for me is Diane Chamberlain’s humanity. It’s irresistible. In “Big Lies in a Small Town”, we follow a duo timeline. Both timeline stories are equally good.We first meet Morgan Christopher in a Correctional Facility for Women in 2018, Raleigh, North Carolina. Morgan had just finished her one year minimum prison sentence....when ‘surprise’....two visitors entered. 1-Lisa Williams, ( the daughter of the well known artist:Jesse Jameson Williams ....who recently died. Lisa Williams was a real estate broker. She had no experience with ‘art’......but given she was her father’s only child, he trusted his very specific instructions to her.....[written in his will]. Lisa’s father, Jesse Jameson, wanted a 70-year-old canvas mural to be restored by the inexperienced- 22 year old Morgan ( who was sitting in prison for a crime she didn’t commit)...and......2- Andrea Fuller ( an attorney).....who came along with Lisa to over see the legalities. Morgan gets a ‘get-out-of-jail’ free card in exchange for restoring the mural. Morgan had reservations about her own qualifications....but she said ‘yes’. Lisa brings Morgan to live in her house for the time needed until the project is done. On the drive from the prison to Lisa’s house with Morgan in the passenger seat: “This is the new Morgan, I thought sadly to myself. The Morgan afraid at the outside world”. “We’d ridden ten minutes in silence before Lisa finally spoke”. “The Government never fully paid the artist—Anna Dale— for the mural, so after she went crazy— or whatever happened— it essentially became my father’s property to do with as he pleased, she said. But since the gallery is a gift to the community, your work on the mural becomes a sort of community service. She glanced at me, and the smallest of smile’s lifted the corners of her lips”. Anna Dale went crazy? Anna Dale was born in 1918. In 1939, she was living in Plainfield, New Jersey. Anna entered a competition with a mural she did in her hometown. In Edenton, North Carolina, ‘The Selection of Fine Arts’ was impressed with Anna Dale’s artistic talent. They wanted her to work on an assignment- a mural - for the post office in Edenton, North Carolina. Anna had never been to North Carolina. It was suggested that she familiarize herself with the geographic area surrounding her assignment . She had never expected to win the competition and the timing could not have been worse. She had just buried her mother who was her best friend. However....off Anna goes... driving from New Jersey to North Carolina.It was the inner thoughts during that first drive to Edenton where we begin to know Anna and the concerns that weigh heavily on her mind. Without the feelings-of-strength from mother- her mother’s advice- we see just how deeply Anna feels: ALONE! We also learn background about Anna’s mother. The south seemed backward to Anna with the segregation. “They actually lynched Negros in the south”. Anna was interested in painting the Tea Party ... but when she met several of the locals ( all men who looked at her as a pretty little thing- and why wasn’t she married).....Mr. Fiering, Manager at the Cotton mill replied:“Oh, not that tired old Tea Party again” Anna was shaken by the sudden outburst and she thought the Tea Party was something that Edenton was proud of. Mayor Sykes jumped in and said, “We’re very proud that our ladies stood up for freedom”.... but.....because it was such a long time ago the locals were vocal about how tired they were to be reminded. The towns-people argued back-and-forth - each wanting ‘their’ business’ to be the focus on the mural.....be it the cotton mill or the peanut factory or their melons, or fishing ....almost anything other than woman’s fight for freedom. The mayor’s cousin - Martin Drapple- was a well known local artist.The locals were resentful that he wasn’t chosen to paint the mural. As the reader....we begin to see that problems fall ahead- problems that Morgan will face in 2018, and the problems Anna had to contend with in 1939.You know that old saying that whatever you don’t complete comes back to haunt you? Well...history comes back to haunt in Edenton, North Carolina. Since it was going to take several months before the mural would be complete, the townsmen suggested Anna stay in town instead of going back to New Jersey. Myrtle Simms, a widow, lived across the street from the railroad building... and could host Anna for the few months while she worked. Every character in this book - big or small - primary or supportive- are well developed. Anna ‘had’ painted ‘The Tea Party’.... (sorta)..... she added her unique interpretation of the subject.... Her paining was controversial...The locals thought it was ‘sick’. All Anna did was paint the truth as she saw it. When Morgan discovers the 70-year-old canvas for the first time....he knew there was a story there. It looked like a “hacker snatched it from the stretcher”. The old canvas was damaged and reeked of mold and mildew. Morgan had two months to restore it. My lips are sealed..... I say no more!!Other than this is a wonderfully satisfying story... the pages turn themselves. Troubled women....Troubled times....A villain....And hero’s....A passionate town....Twists & turns....History to contemplate ...the real mural competition during the Great Depression Themes: racism, mental illness, injustice, poverty, righteousness, secrets....and.....as the title suggests: BIG LIES.....in a small town. WONDERFUL!!!Thank You Netgalley, St. Martin’s Press, and the gracious talented storyteller, Diane Chamberlain
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  • Beata
    January 1, 1970
    I got interested in this novel beacuse of the mention of mural art. The city where I live has become known to its murals on the walls of tenement houses and they always draw my attention whenever I get around the city. Also, I associate murals with the American culture, and I thought that a novel which has this art as the central point must be interesting. And I was not wrong. I am not a fan of dual timeline, however, with this novel it went smoothly for me. The stories of two young women, Anna I got interested in this novel beacuse of the mention of mural art. The city where I live has become known to its murals on the walls of tenement houses and they always draw my attention whenever I get around the city. Also, I associate murals with the American culture, and I thought that a novel which has this art as the central point must be interesting. And I was not wrong. I am not a fan of dual timeline, however, with this novel it went smoothly for me. The stories of two young women, Anna Dale and Morgan Christopher, set in 1940 and 2018 respectively, are connected by a mural which was hidden for decades, and the will of a famous artist forces his relatives tohave it restored and then show it to the public again. The mystery behind restoration is the core of the novel.I admit I got invested in both stories, however, observing the life of a small town in North Carolina was more engaging for me as through Anna's eyes we are able to compare the differences between the North and the South in those days. Anna appears to be delicate and fragile but in fact she is strong and finds a way out with a little help from her friends.My first novel by Ms Chamberlain that encourages me to add more of her novels to my trl.*Many thanks to Diane Chamberlain, St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for arc in exchange for my honest review.*
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  • Berit☀️✨
    January 1, 1970
    Diane Chamberlain has done it again! What a fantastic book! This really is storytelling at its absolute best. Two equally compelling storylines woven seamlessly together. 2018 Morgan is in a North Carolina prison convicted of a crime she did not commit. When she is approached with an opportunity to get out of jail if she is willing to restore a 70-year-old mural, she jumped at the chance. The only problem is Morgan is not certain she has the skill set to do the restoration and there is a time Diane Chamberlain has done it again! What a fantastic book! This really is storytelling at its absolute best. Two equally compelling storylines woven seamlessly together. 2018 Morgan is in a North Carolina prison convicted of a crime she did not commit. When she is approached with an opportunity to get out of jail if she is willing to restore a 70-year-old mural, she jumped at the chance. The only problem is Morgan is not certain she has the skill set to do the restoration and there is a time crunch. The Mystery is that her working on this restoration was a stipulation in the will of Jesse Jameson a famous artist. An artist that Morgan has no known tie to. 1939 Anna is a struggling artist in New Jersey. When she enters and wins a contest to paint a mural on a PostOffice wall she temporarily relocates to North Carolina. When she reaches North Carolina she is met with much resistance and is surprised by the overt racism and misogyny. The mural was never finished and the rumor is that Anna went crazy and fled with the mural. What a beautiful story the perfect blend of mystery and history. Both Morgan and Anna were strong sassy characters who I found quite relatable. I found the art restoration parts extremely fascinating and that is a credit to Miss Chamberlain because that is definitely not an area of interest to me. I loved how as the mural became more clear so did Anna‘s character as well as the events that took place 70 years ago. A brilliant book from an exceptional author! This book in emojis: 🎨 🖌 🗝*** Big thanks to St. Martin’s Press for my copy of this book ***
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  • Debra
    January 1, 1970
    Big lies in a small town is the story of two women born in different times dealing with issues which are beyond their control. Each woman will have her challenges and her triumphs. Each will be tested, and each will have to prove herself.North Carolina, 2018 Morgan Christopher was an art student who made a bad judgement call and ended up serving time in a women's correctional center for a crime she did not commit. Then one day she is visited by two women who tell her that she will be released Big lies in a small town is the story of two women born in different times dealing with issues which are beyond their control. Each woman will have her challenges and her triumphs. Each will be tested, and each will have to prove herself.North Carolina, 2018 Morgan Christopher was an art student who made a bad judgement call and ended up serving time in a women's correctional center for a crime she did not commit. Then one day she is visited by two women who tell her that she will be released from prison if she agrees to restore an old post office mural. She knows nothing about restoration but desperate to have freedom, she agrees. North Carolina, 1940 Anna Dale has won an art contest and is chosen to paint a mural for a post office in Edenton, North Carolina. She happily accepts and considers this to be an honor and a challenge. Little does she know, but there are those who don't want a woman painting the mural, nor do they like the company she keeps while painting. Prejudice and false assumptions run rampant.The two women's stories blend perfectly together. Usually when there are two timelines, I tend to prefer one over the other, but I loved both in this book. Both women were likable, both characters had me rooting for them. I watched Anna as she tried to complete her mural and I watched Morgan as she restored a mural which had been hidden away for years.I was fully invested in this story and loved the journey of finding out how the book would end. This book was beautifully written and had me on the edge of my seat, not with heart pounding suspense, but with a captivating and enthralling story that I didn't want to stop reading. I could literally feel the characters emotions while reading. Chamberlain did a great job of transporting me back to 1940 in the South. There are some heavy issues dealt with in this book and she handles them with care and sill. I love how she carefully guided the reader between the two stories telling the tale of mystery, romance, love, family ties, family secrets, art, music, pain, secrets, and prejudice. There a couple of little twists and turns along the way and all felt believable and made sense.Riveting heartfelt, thought provoking story telling. This is a MUST read! Highly recommend.Thank you to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley who provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All the thoughts and opinions are my own.
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  • marilyn
    January 1, 1970
    In 1940, young Anna Dale wins a contest to paint a mural for the Edenton, NC post office. Twenty two years old and fleeing the heartbreak of her mom's very recent death, Anna throws herself into the job of designing and painting a mural that will be the best representation of Edenton that she can imagine. There are resentments towards Anna due to her winning the contest over a local male artist and Anna comes face to face with strong prejudices of some towns folks, especially when she welcomes a In 1940, young Anna Dale wins a contest to paint a mural for the Edenton, NC post office. Twenty two years old and fleeing the heartbreak of her mom's very recent death, Anna throws herself into the job of designing and painting a mural that will be the best representation of Edenton that she can imagine. There are resentments towards Anna due to her winning the contest over a local male artist and Anna comes face to face with strong prejudices of some towns folks, especially when she welcomes a seventeen year old black budding artist to work with her on her mural. In the present day, twenty two year old prison inmate Morgan Christopher is released from prison early, with the stipulation that she restore an old, battered, mural, that is to be the main feature of a new Edenton art museum. Morgan has no idea why a recently deceased black artist picked her, a young white woman who struggled with her art in school, to do the restoration job. The deadline is tight and as she begins working on the mural, she wants to know what happened to the artist, Anna Dale, causing her and the mural to disappear. I knew nothing about the making of murals such as the one that was being made in 1940 or about art restoration, and enjoyed reading about the process in both timelines of the books. These women are young, strong, and determined and it was interesting reading how the times and situations dictate how each woman presents herself. Then there is the mystery of why the black artist picked Morgan to restore a mural painted by Anna, so many years ago. What happened to Anna? What happened to the mural and how did the black artist come to have it in his possession? I enjoyed Diane Chamberlain's Dream Daughter and this book and will be looking for more of her work, in the future. Thank you to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for this ARC.
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  • Brenda -Traveling Sister
    January 1, 1970
    Well, that is some mighty fine, creative writing here by one of my favourite authors. I loved this one!! Big Lies is a Small Town did start off a little slow for me and I was feeling a bit worried that I wasn't quite getting where the story was going here by almost halfway. I was intrigued but at first, felt like I was being strung along a bit. Then I reminded myself that I have nothing to worry about because this is Diane Chamberlain. Well, well my patience was rewarded and around the middle of Well, that is some mighty fine, creative writing here by one of my favourite authors. I loved this one!! Big Lies is a Small Town did start off a little slow for me and I was feeling a bit worried that I wasn't quite getting where the story was going here by almost halfway. I was intrigued but at first, felt like I was being strung along a bit. Then I reminded myself that I have nothing to worry about because this is Diane Chamberlain. Well, well my patience was rewarded and around the middle of the book, the pace took off me and things started falling into place. I started piecing together this well-layered story and flew through the second half. After reading so many books, things can get a little boring at times and I seem to lose my groove a lot and it is getting harder to find that one that is creative and a bit different from the rest. Diane Chamberlain creates a very unique and compelling story here. She brilliantly weaves the two timelines here with our main character Morgan and Anna. I was so pleased with the way everything wrapped up in the end so perfectly for me. After reading this one, I was marching around the house cheering with excitement for finding another one that kept me in my groove. I highly recommend it. Traveling sister readI received a copy from the publisher.
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  • Liz
    January 1, 1970
    Diane Chamberlain is a prolific author, but I’ve only read a handful of her books. For the most part, I’ve enjoyed them. In this story, we have Morgan Christopher serving prison time for a crime she didn’t commit when she’s offered a “get out of jail free” card. She’s been picked to restore a 1939 mural, designed for the Edenton post office but never hung. What makes it problematic is that despite being an artist, she has no experience with art restoration and the two things are really totally Diane Chamberlain is a prolific author, but I’ve only read a handful of her books. For the most part, I’ve enjoyed them. In this story, we have Morgan Christopher serving prison time for a crime she didn’t commit when she’s offered a “get out of jail free” card. She’s been picked to restore a 1939 mural, designed for the Edenton post office but never hung. What makes it problematic is that despite being an artist, she has no experience with art restoration and the two things are really totally different. Plus, she’s under a deadline that makes no sense. The story is told from the 2018 perspective of Morgan and the 1939 one of Anna Dale, the artist of the mural. The mural is definitely unique and hints at stories untold. Chamberlain employs short chapters and alternates between the two story lines to keep the pace up and the reader engaged. Both main characters are interesting, strong women and I enjoyed both storylines. There were twists I didn’t see coming. Parts of the ending strain credibility but it didn’t dampen my enjoyment.Chamberlain tackles the racism of the earlier time and does it in a believable fashion. Make sure to read her Acknowledgements which explains the help she was given.This was probably my favorite of her books that I’ve read and will ensure I read more of her work. It was so compelling that I read it in a single day. My thanks to netgalley and St. Martin’s Press for an advance copy of this book.
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  • Irena BookDustMagic
    January 1, 1970
    Diane Chamberlain was on my "authors I'd like to read" for a while now because Nicole from GirlyGirlBookWorm really likes her, and us two have the similar taste in books.This was my first read by this writer, but it surely won't be the last, because I really liked Big Lies in a Small Town.The story follows two time lines: one set in 1940 and the second set in today's time.This book made me realize that I actually enjoy reading books with two different time lines, and I will try to add more Diane Chamberlain was on my "authors I'd like to read" for a while now because Nicole from GirlyGirlBookWorm really likes her, and us two have the similar taste in books.This was my first read by this writer, but it surely won't be the last, because I really liked Big Lies in a Small Town.The story follows two time lines: one set in 1940 and the second set in today's time.This book made me realize that I actually enjoy reading books with two different time lines, and I will try to add more novels with that kind of concept in my future readings.We follow two women: Morgan, who is the narrator of the story and her chapters are written in first person.Then we have Anna who's story is set in 1940 and is written in third person.Both stories take place in North Carolina, and of course, are connected.After I finished my reading I wasn't sure who's story I liked better, and then I came to conclusion that Anna's was more interesting, but with Morgan I connected more.This book hit the home for me, and not in a good way, because it reminded me of my not-the-happiest childhood. I often caught myself thinking about my own life and my own complicated relationship with my parents, but that is the story for another time...The writing was very good. It was beautiful and easy to read.I think it is important to say that this book covers serious topics like alcoholism and racism in a sententious way, and from my perspective, it was not triggering. Still, I can't speak for others.However, there is one trigger warning readers should know about: and that's that this book talks about sexual abuse.I loved the way the story wrapped up, and the scene at the very end once again hit home for me, but it also warmed my heart.I really, really enjoyed reading Big Lies in a Small Town and would recommend it to readers who like historical fiction, general fiction and art.Read this and more reviews on my blog https://bookdustmagic.com
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  • Lindsay - Traveling Sister
    January 1, 1970
    4+ stars!A suspenseful and captivating mystery set in a small town. Told in the dual narratives of 1940 and 2018, the two main characters, Anna and Morgan are young artists looking to find their way. Before finishing a mural project for the small town of Edenton, Anna goes missing in 1940. Almost 80 years later, Morgan is asked to restore the unfinished mural project so it can be hung in a local art exhibit. Little does Morgan know the hidden secrets she will find while researching and restoring 4+ stars!A suspenseful and captivating mystery set in a small town. Told in the dual narratives of 1940 and 2018, the two main characters, Anna and Morgan are young artists looking to find their way. Before finishing a mural project for the small town of Edenton, Anna goes missing in 1940. Almost 80 years later, Morgan is asked to restore the unfinished mural project so it can be hung in a local art exhibit. Little does Morgan know the hidden secrets she will find while researching and restoring the mysterious mural.I adore small town settings and this one was no exception. The atmosphere engrossed and intrigued me from start to finish. I felt as though I was right there in Edenton with the characters. I loved the dual narrative, although I felt a deeper connection to and investment in Anna’s life in 1940. The plot unfolded smoothly while moving back and forth between the timelines, leaving a large sense of mystery at the end of each chapter which made me want to keep reading. Please be warned that there are some heavy topics covered within these pages: racism, physical abuse, rape, harassment.One issue I had was that Morgan’s romance felt cliche and unnecessary, however, it didn’t take away from my enjoyment. There were parts of the ending that I found predictable, yet I still felt connected to and invested in the storyline and it left me with a good sense of closure and contentment. If you are a fan of Diane Chamberlain, like I am, you will not be disappointed. This book showcases her usual captivating writing, unique storyline and unforgettable characters which has left me hungry for what she comes out with next.This was a Traveling Sister read that we all enjoyed and highly recommend. Thank you to Edelweiss for providing me with an ARC.Expected date of publication: January 14, 2020.
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  • Holly B
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 STARS A slow burn of a mystery set in North Carolina. Two women- Morgan and AnnaTwo timelines-2018 and 1940The plot switches between timelines (then/now) and follows the two women as they are connected by a painting/mural project that they are both working on in different capacities.The first half of the book was slow going and a bit bogged down in the painting project details (in my opinion). There areplenty of clues that may lead you to solve the big reveal and predict the end as I did. 3.5 STARS A slow burn of a mystery set in North Carolina. Two women- Morgan and AnnaTwo timelines-2018 and 1940The plot switches between timelines (then/now) and follows the two women as they are connected by a painting/mural project that they are both working on in different capacities.The first half of the book was slow going and a bit bogged down in the painting project details (in my opinion). There are plenty of clues that may lead you to solve the big reveal and predict the end as I did. The last third really picks up the pace and things start happening. The character development is very well done and the conclusion connects all the dots!Thanks to NG and the publisher for my review copy! This one is out on January 14.2020 
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  • Carolyn
    January 1, 1970
    Diane Chamberlain has written an excellent historical mystery centred around a 12 by 6 foot mural, the artist who painted it in 1940 and the young artist commissioned to restore it in 2018.In 1940, Anna Dale, a young woman from New Jersey won a national competition to paint a mural for a post office. Edenton, the town she was assigned in North Carolina was very different from her home town with narrow minded regarding racial discrimination and how women should act and dress. At first she is Diane Chamberlain has written an excellent historical mystery centred around a 12 by 6 foot mural, the artist who painted it in 1940 and the young artist commissioned to restore it in 2018.In 1940, Anna Dale, a young woman from New Jersey won a national competition to paint a mural for a post office. Edenton, the town she was assigned in North Carolina was very different from her home town with narrow minded regarding racial discrimination and how women should act and dress. At first she is welcomed into the town but when she insists on wearing trousers for painting such a huge mural and one of the art students she hires to help is an American African some of the town people are shocked at her behaviour. Her time in Edenton does not end well, the completed mural is never hung and Anna Dale is never heard of again.In 2018, Morgan Christopher, a young artist in jail for a crime she didn't commit is given parole in exchange for agreeing to restore a mural. She has never done any restoration work before and is puzzled about why she was selected by one of her favourite artists to undertake such a huge task with a tight, non-negotiable time frame. However, she is fascinated by the unusual mural and wondered whatever happened to Anna Dale and why there are no further records of her.Diane Chamberlain is a wonderful story teller and really hooked me in to this unusual mystery. She has captured the attitudes and complexities of small towns perfectly in both time lines. In addition to her two flawed but strong female artists she has also depicted some interesting secondary characters. I was fascinated by both threads of the story, wondering what happened to Anna in Edenton and how Morgan came to be selected to restore the mural. There are many secrets to be uncovered before all the pieces slot into place in this compelling mystery.With many thanks to Netgalley and St Martin's Press for a digital copy to read.
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  • Karen
    January 1, 1970
    Told in alternating timelines..the story of two artists.1939-Anna Dale, from New Jersey -a young graduate from a fine arts school, has won a contest to create a mural for a post office in Edenton, North Carolina.2018 -Morgan Christopher a young artist out on early parole from North Carolina Correctional Facility for Women, specifically to restore the mural that Anna painted in 1940 that was ruined in some mysterious happening.The novel is part mystery, romance, and also includes the racial Told in alternating timelines..the story of two artists.1939-Anna Dale, from New Jersey -a young graduate from a fine arts school, has won a contest to create a mural for a post office in Edenton, North Carolina.2018 -Morgan Christopher a young artist out on early parole from North Carolina Correctional Facility for Women, specifically to restore the mural that Anna painted in 1940 that was ruined in some mysterious happening.The novel is part mystery, romance, and also includes the racial climate of the 40’s in the South.I enjoyed it!Thank you to Netgalley and St Martin’s Press for the ARC
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  • sue
    January 1, 1970
    Yep, yep, yep, yeppers. This authors books I’ve been reading like......forever. I’m so intrigued with this plot. I’ve read books that peel away layers and layers revealing things slowly like an onion, but to see a painting being restored and cleaned and revelations being revealed, I was glued.As most (if not all) Diane Chamberlain’s fans know, she’s a talent to be reckoned with as she can take a reader into her story and we don’t come out to breath until the final page has been read. That’s how Yep, yep, yep, yeppers. This authors books I’ve been reading like......forever. I’m so intrigued with this plot. I’ve read books that peel away layers and layers revealing things slowly like an onion, but to see a painting being restored and cleaned and revelations being revealed, I was glued.As most (if not all) Diane Chamberlain’s fans know, she’s a talent to be reckoned with as she can take a reader into her story and we don’t come out to breath until the final page has been read. That’s how I felt about this book.It’s suspense.It’s a mystery.It’s a great plot with fabulous characters, lovely ones to the grumpy stressed ones.You will be in tune with them all, each for different reasons.There’s even romance......finally.The title says it all.Big Lies In A Small Town. 𝐀𝐧𝐝 𝐰𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐡𝐢𝐝𝐝𝐞𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐠𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐲 𝐰𝐞𝐫𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐜𝐚𝐦𝐞 𝐭𝐨 𝐥𝐢𝐠𝐡𝐭!The ending was just 𝐩𝐮𝐫𝐞 𝐠𝐨𝐥𝐝.I just loved it.
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  • Carol
    January 1, 1970
    5 BIG FAT ABSORBING STARS ALL THE WAY........ Love the story....Love the two main characters that alternate between 1940 and 2018 every other chapter....Love the secondary characters....and absolutely Love the ending! We have good, we have evil and we have a subtle love connection....but oh the secrets hiding within a mural in process of restoration....so cool. Even though I could see some of them coming, no matter....this terrific novel has been added to my 2019 favorites shelf. In the 5 BIG FAT ABSORBING STARS ALL THE WAY........ Love the story....Love the two main characters that alternate between 1940 and 2018 every other chapter....Love the secondary characters....and absolutely Love the ending! We have good, we have evil and we have a subtle love connection....but oh the secrets hiding within a mural in process of restoration....so cool. Even though I could see some of them coming, no matter....this terrific novel has been added to my 2019 favorites shelf. In the acknowledgements, DC writes about the charming real life very small town of Edenton, North Carolina where the story takes place and the history behind the 48 state mural competition sponsored by the Treasury Department during the Great Depression as well as making note of a most interesting Racial Reconciliation Group meeting she attended. Be sure to read all the author's notes. Many thanks to St. Martin's Press via NetGalley for the early invite to read this fine novel, and my apologies for mistakenly letting it fall into the older than 3 months category. BIG LIES IN A SMALL TOWN....my new favorite Diane Chamberlain read!
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  • Erin
    January 1, 1970
    Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for a digital galley in exchange for an honest review. Novel background: Diane Chamberlain's latest novel is a dual timeline( 1939/40 & 2018) set in Edenton, North Carolina surrounds the secrets around an unfinished community mural and its troubled artist. In the present, Morgan Christopher is an ex-inmate who is approached to complete the mural that was never completed by New Jersey artist, Anna Dale. As baffled as Morgan is by the endorsement, Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for a digital galley in exchange for an honest review. Novel background: Diane Chamberlain's latest novel is a dual timeline( 1939/40 & 2018) set in Edenton, North Carolina surrounds the secrets around an unfinished community mural and its troubled artist. In the present, Morgan Christopher is an ex-inmate who is approached to complete the mural that was never completed by New Jersey artist, Anna Dale. As baffled as Morgan is by the endorsement, she soon becomes consumed with the mystery behind the artist's disappearance. In the past, Anna Dale struggles as an outsider to complete her mural, but a local artist isn't taking his rejection well and the townspeople are none to pleased when Anaa confronts the prejudices deep rooted in the community. I am a big fan of DC( have read all of her books except " Lovers and Strangers") and newcomers can expect a solidly written story with many intriguing characters. But I never felt really interested in the storyline as I found it similiar to a few of her other books. I enjoyed the storyline in the past was much better and I wasn't a huge fan of the relationship that was setup for Morgan. The character had way too much on her plate as it and it felt too predictable. Goodreads review 15/11/19Publication Date 14/01/20
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  • Linda
    January 1, 1970
    "Never lie to someone who trusts you. Never trust someone who lies to you."Diane Chamberlain, a gifted storyteller, sets this one down in the small community of Edenton, North Carolina. She's shifting the sands of time from 1940 to 2018 with chapters reflecting the lives of her two main characters, Anna Dale and Morgan Christopher. We'll come to find, because of time and place, that these two women could not be more different. Yet, there is a steeliness in their resolve because of life's "Never lie to someone who trusts you. Never trust someone who lies to you."Diane Chamberlain, a gifted storyteller, sets this one down in the small community of Edenton, North Carolina. She's shifting the sands of time from 1940 to 2018 with chapters reflecting the lives of her two main characters, Anna Dale and Morgan Christopher. We'll come to find, because of time and place, that these two women could not be more different. Yet, there is a steeliness in their resolve because of life's short-circuiting events. Anna Dale, a young twenty-two year old from New Jersey, has won a mural competition in 1939 that will bring her to Edenton, North Carolina with its small town homeyness lined with some very small minds. Life on the East coast has not prepared Anna for what she is about to encounter there. She is to create a huge mural depicting Edenton life which will be displayed on the post office wall. The veil of friendliness is soon lifted as individuals show their true colors. Anna will come face to face with southern social norms and bigotry of the time period. She works daily in a rundown warehouse, but the mural is never completed. No one knows whatever happened to Anna.The storyline flips to 2018 with Morgan Christopher awaiting visitors in her jail cell. She's serving time for a crime that she did not commit. You'll find the details of that later. Lisa Williams, daughter of the late artist Jesse Jameson Williams, is cutting a deal with Morgan. Morgan had to cut short her three year major in Art at UNC at Chapel Hill because of prison. Morgan can be out on parole if she agrees to restore the mural of Anna Dale in a short amount of time. Our girl Morgan jumps at the chance, but she has no idea of the tangled web she is about to walk into. Same small town of Edenton with a 2018 lineage of small minds. Morgan has an insurmountable task of proving herself to Lisa Williams, to her new parole officer, and to the curator of the town's art museum. Why was she chosen for the task? And there's still the heavy question of what happened to Anna Dale?Chamberlain knows how to move the reader smoothly and adeptly through the pages of her novels. She paints the atmosphere with just the right amounts of intensity and drive. Her characters are so human in nature and so reflective of the peacemakers and the hell raisers we've all encountered in life. She just lays the story map before us and we can't help but follow the surfaces and the depths to the very end.I received a copy of this book through NetGalley for an honest review. My thanks to St. Martin's Press and to Diane Chamberlain for the opportunity.
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  • Katie B
    January 1, 1970
    This is the third book by Diane Chamberlain I have read and once again, it was another good read.. While each of her books share some common elements, they all feel uniquely different. You kinda know where the author might be headed fairly early on but because the characters are fully-developed you feel invested in them and want to see their story unfold. She's a good storyteller and I look forward to checking out more of her books in the future.Morgan Christopher was on track for a career as in This is the third book by Diane Chamberlain I have read and once again, it was another good read.. While each of her books share some common elements, they all feel uniquely different. You kinda know where the author might be headed fairly early on but because the characters are fully-developed you feel invested in them and want to see their story unfold. She's a good storyteller and I look forward to checking out more of her books in the future.Morgan Christopher was on track for a career as in artist but ended up in prison for a crime she didn't commit. She is given the opportunity for early release as long as she stays on the straight and narrow and restores an old post office mural. The whole art restoration is out of her area of expertise but who the heck wants to stay in prison? So of course she accepts the offer and with a tight deadline she just hopes she can finish the project on time.This story alternates between Morgan in the present time and the 1940s when Anna Dale, an artist from New Jersey, has just won a contest to paint a mural for a post office in North Carolina. She arrives in the small town of Edenton, North Carolina to get ideas for the mural. She soon realizes this town is full of secrets, racism, and lies, among other things, and she sure as heck better watch her back.It was easy to feel this almost protectiveness over both Morgan and Anna because they were basically all alone in the world. I'm not an artistic person at all but I did find the process of making the mural as well as the restoration of it, pretty fascinating. I wouldn't say this book packed the same emotional punch as the author's previous book, The Dream Daughter, but there are definitely some touching moments. This is just a really solid novel and if you enjoyed the author's other books, you will be sure to want to give this one a look!Thank you to St. Martin's Press and Netgalley for giving me the opportunity to read an advance digital copy in exchange for an honest review!
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  • Chelsea Humphrey
    January 1, 1970
    I think that fans of historical fiction with a touch of mysterious atmosphere will enjoy this one much more than I did. HF is very hit or miss for me, and while I found the outcome to be a bit predictable, Diane's writing is so engaging and entertaining that I can see why this story is a favorite of many readers already. Highly recommend that you give this one a try if it's on your radar, and if HF with dual narratives is your jam.*Many thanks to the publisher for providing my review copy.
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  • Pauline
    January 1, 1970
    I always look forward to Diane Chamberlain's books and I was delighted to receive an ARC of her new book Big Lies In A Small Town. This story is told in two time frames.In 1940 Anna Dale wins an art competition to paint a mural for a post office building in a small town. When she arrives to work on the painting she feels that she is not welcome because everyone is unhappy that the towns resident painter was not chosen as the winner.In 2018 Morgan Christopher is let out on parole from prison to I always look forward to Diane Chamberlain's books and I was delighted to receive an ARC of her new book Big Lies In A Small Town. This story is told in two time frames.In 1940 Anna Dale wins an art competition to paint a mural for a post office building in a small town. When she arrives to work on the painting she feels that she is not welcome because everyone is unhappy that the towns resident painter was not chosen as the winner.In 2018 Morgan Christopher is let out on parole from prison to restore the mural that has never been put up in the town and has been in storage since it was finished. I liked both of these characters and thought that the dual timeline worked very well.I really enjoyed this story and can't wait for this author next book. Thank you NetGalley and St Martin's Press for my e-copy in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Kathryn in FL
    January 1, 1970
    This was a stellar story y'all. Two parallel story lines tell about a depression era work created by an up and coming artist making friends "wrong people" and setting others at odds. Then 8o years later, an old mural is resurrected and restored by young woman, who searches for answers to the riddle of past. The deception lurking behind what appeared on the surface, captured my attention to the point, my fingers had trouble keeping the pages turning fast enough.An amazing story, exceptional This was a stellar story y'all. Two parallel story lines tell about a depression era work created by an up and coming artist making friends "wrong people" and setting others at odds. Then 8o years later, an old mural is resurrected and restored by young woman, who searches for answers to the riddle of past. The deception lurking behind what appeared on the surface, captured my attention to the point, my fingers had trouble keeping the pages turning fast enough.An amazing story, exceptional characters and intricately woven together to create a masterpiece of writing.I think this would be good as a book club read.Thank you to the author, Diane Chamberlain (please come visit FL), Goodreads, St. Martin's Press for providing an ARC for my review in return for my honest opinion!
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  • Holly
    January 1, 1970
    You have to make peace with the past or you can never move into the future.Big Lies in a Small Town is the second book I’ve read by Diane Chamberlain, the first being The Dream Daughter. This one is equally as good and reading it was a deeply satisfying and delightful experience.The story is told in two timelines, each featuring a flawed woman who is given a second chance at life. Usually one story is stronger than the other but these two are equally captivating. Diane Chamberlain seamlessly You have to make peace with the past or you can never move into the future.Big Lies in a Small Town is the second book I’ve read by Diane Chamberlain, the first being The Dream Daughter. This one is equally as good and reading it was a deeply satisfying and delightful experience.The story is told in two timelines, each featuring a flawed woman who is given a second chance at life. Usually one story is stronger than the other but these two are equally captivating. Diane Chamberlain seamlessly ties the two distinct stories together via a mural painted by Anna in the 1940s and then restored by Morgan in the present day. I don’t know anything about art restoration and am not particularly interested in it but Chamberlain makes it fascinating and a pleasure to read. There are many parallels between the two protagonists. They are both strong woman who are likable, are overcoming the odds, are persistent, and determined. One of my not-so-tactful professors told me I was in the top of the pack when it came to effort, but the “bottom of the middle of the pack” when it came to talent.She knew she’d lost her marbles. Every once in a while, she thought she found them again and in those moments she knew clearly that her mind was going downhill but it was easier to just keep plowing forward than to find a way to fix the mess she’d made.”You were a mistake,” my mother told me once when she was blotto. “We never wanted to have kids.” That had already been pretty clear to me. They’d never been there for me.Anna and Morgan are both very alone with no family or support systems in place. Bad men who robbed them of their lives and left an indelible mark figure prominently in both their lives. However, the good men they come to know ultimately prevail.The story is about love, racism, mental illness, secrets, and redemption. The characters are well-developed and the book is well written. Chamberlain is a masterful storyteller who will keep your interest and attention.Thank you to St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for an advance reader copy in exchange for my honest review.
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  • Tahera
    January 1, 1970
    This turned out to be so so so good!! I am just going to go ahead and give this a 5*! Loved the story, the writing, the characters, the setting, and most of all I think I fell in love with Anna Dale's mural which played a big part in getting her and Morgan Christopher's paths to cross in such an unexpected way. Thanks to NetGalley, the publisher St. Martin's Press and the author for providing me with an e-Arc of the book.
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  • Ceecee
    January 1, 1970
    After a bit of a slow start the book suddenly came alive for me and grabbed me like the tentacles of an octopus, it drew me in and I became totally immersed and invested in it. This is the story of two women in the same place at two very different periods of time. We meet Anna Dale first, in the small town of Edenton in 1939/40 where she has been commissioned by a government department to paint a mural for the Post Office. She’s from New Jersey and though not liberal by today’s standards it After a bit of a slow start the book suddenly came alive for me and grabbed me like the tentacles of an octopus, it drew me in and I became totally immersed and invested in it. This is the story of two women in the same place at two very different periods of time. We meet Anna Dale first, in the small town of Edenton in 1939/40 where she has been commissioned by a government department to paint a mural for the Post Office. She’s from New Jersey and though not liberal by today’s standards it certainly is when compared to Edenton where views are firm and entrenched. She encounters sexism, prejudice, discrimination and attempts to control her but also conversely life saving kindness. Our second character is Jordan Christopher who in June 2018 is serving a year in prison for a DUI. To her confused delight she can leave prison early if she accepts certain conditions one of which is to restore the badly decayed mural. This commission has been given to her by recently deceased well known black artist Jesse Jameson Williams and she has to complete the task by August. The story is told in alternate storylines by Jordan and Anna and what unfolds is at times magical, at others shocking and horrifying and so it takes you on an emotional journey. There is a lot to admire in the storytelling and the unlocking of the mystery surrounding the mural. I love the art elements and seeing the mural reveal itself a bit at a time is fascinating. I love the dual storytelling too and this flows from one character to the other very well and gives you a feeling of suspense. Though at times it is perhaps overly detailed there are some wonderful visual images that make Edenton and the characters come to life in front of your eyes. The power in the writing lies in the characters who whilst they aren’t all likeable they are so real. Anna and Jordan are women to admire. They are truthful, honourable, creative and bold. Jesse and Jesse’s family draw you in with their warmth and give you a protective hug. Oliver who helps Jordan at the gallery where the mural will be displayed, is a character you could fall in love with oh, so easily. Some of the characters from 1940 have ugly hate in their hearts and the racial divide is well portrayed and has the power to shock. The book has so many layers and elements to it and all the ingredients of a good novel. There’s the puzzle and mystery surrounding the mural and working out why Anna painted what she did, there’s a huge mystery surrounding her and what happens in the town while she is there, there is intrigue, there’s bigotry, plenty of shocks, some horror, there’s fear and sorrow but there’s also truth and love, learning to trust again and letting go of the past, reconciling to it in order to recover and move on. Though the end is perhaps a bit contrived I really like it as after the emotional rollercoaster it’s the ending that readers crave and need. The epilogue in which the author explains about Edenton is absolutely fascinating. Overall, a terrific read that I thoroughly enjoyed and highly recommend. Easy 5 stars! Many thanks to NetGalley and Pan McMillan for the ARC.
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  • Mandy White
    January 1, 1970
    Confession time - this was my first Diane Chamberlain book! She is an author that I have seen in the library, in bookstores and pretty much everywhere but I had never picked up any of her books to read...until now. Why or why did I wait so long? I fell head over heels in love with this book. It was so wonderfully written with such lovely characters how could I not? Big Lies in a Small Town is the perfect mix of historical fiction, women's fiction and mystery and I could not love it more.Told in Confession time - this was my first Diane Chamberlain book! She is an author that I have seen in the library, in bookstores and pretty much everywhere but I had never picked up any of her books to read...until now. Why or why did I wait so long? I fell head over heels in love with this book. It was so wonderfully written with such lovely characters how could I not? Big Lies in a Small Town is the perfect mix of historical fiction, women's fiction and mystery and I could not love it more.Told in dual timelines, the story of the post office mural in the small town of Edenton, South Carolina. In present day we meet Morgan Christopher, a young artist who is in prison for a crime that she did not commit. A year into her sentence she receive a visit from a stranger who gives her a way out - all she has to do is restore a mural - something that she has never done before but she jumps at the chance. But then she sees the mural, covered in grime and panics - what as she done?But as she cleans away the dirt she reveals a painting of the towns deepest and darkest secrets. and a story that the artist went mad. Morgan is intrigued and as she works she wants to learn more about the artist.In 1940 Anna Dale won a competition to paint a mural for the Edenton Post Office. Moving there from New Jersey is a culture shock. It is a small town, with small time thinking and allegiances. The men don't want her there, believing that the local artist Martin Drapple should have won. It is also a time of racism and sexism and it is on a scale that astounds Anna. She gets help on the mural from some of the local art students - Jesse, a black teenager is so talented and he relishes the opportunity. But this town has a dark side and its residents are not all that they seem to be.It is a compelling read and a great start to my 2020 reading. A big thank you to Pan MacMillan Australia for my advanced copy of this book to read. All opinions are my own and are in no way biased.
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  • Julie (JuJu)
    January 1, 1970
    “Big Lies in a Small Town” is a realistic and sometimes heartbreaking historical fiction / mystery. Two different timelines and several very different people are linked by their love of art and a mysterious mural. Anna is a lovable young artist, rumored to have lost her mind while painting the mural for the town post office. Jesse is a young black student that is assigned to help her, during a time filled with prejudice. And their taboo relationship doesn’t sit well with the narrow-minded “Big Lies in a Small Town” is a realistic and sometimes heartbreaking historical fiction / mystery. Two different timelines and several very different people are linked by their love of art and a mysterious mural. Anna is a lovable young artist, rumored to have lost her mind while painting the mural for the town post office. Jesse is a young black student that is assigned to help her, during a time filled with prejudice. And their taboo relationship doesn’t sit well with the narrow-minded residents of the small North Carolina town. So much mystery surrounds the strange mural that never makes it onto the post office wall. The story of it’s disappearance and reappearance, so many years later, make for a unique read. We see some of the uglier sides of human nature..ugly rumors and misconceptions that tear the close-knit community apart.Told in the past—1939 / 1940—and the present, I found both narratives evenly irresistible. A lot of the subject matter is disturbing, but the story is told so beautifully, I didn’t want to put it down! This is another hit by Ms. Chamberlain! I’ve only read one of her previous books—“The Dream Daughter”—and I loved it! So when I had the opportunity to grab this one, I didn’t think twice. She has a unique writing style that not only pulls me in, but makes me feel connected to her wonderful characters. I highly recommend this wonderful book and author! My Rating: 5 ⭐️’sPublished: January 14th 2020 by St. Martin's PressPages: 400Recommended: Absolutely!#BigLiesinaSmallTown #NetGalley #MustRead @D_Chamberlain @StMartinsPressMy review can be found on: Goodreads, Twitter, Pinterest and BookBub.It will be added to Amazon and BN.com when published.
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