Review: Big Lies in a Small Town by Diane Chamberlain


Release date: January 14, 2020

Publisher: St. Martin’s

Genre: Historical Fiction


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? 


I love when a book is told in alternating timelines, especially if the author manages to seamlessly switch between past and present and I don’t know if any author does this better than DC. Can she do any wrong?! I’m beginning to think not, I’ve only read a handful of her books and have finished each one feeling so impressed and awed.

One of my very favorite things about cracking open a DC book is I always know that I’m going to learn something new and I’ll most likely be fascinated with whatever topic she covers and this was no exception. I know next to nothing about art in general, never mind art restoration but I was totally taken with the whole process was which is something I never would’ve guessed. Add in a mystery and her trademark characterization and I was all in. Fans of the author will be thrilled with her latest and if you’ve never read her before get on it!

Overall rating: 4.5/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

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