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Ratings and Book Reviews (9 9 star ratings
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    Another irresistible story!

    The last book by Diane Chamberlain I read (listened to) was The Dream Daughter narrated by the fantastic Susan Bennett (more about her later), and it was so wonderful and magical that I was a little afraid that Big Lies in a Small Town couldn’t live up to my expectations. I needn’t have worried. Big Lies in a Small Town is another amazing book. When you look up “Diane Chamberlain” you should be pointed to “wonderful and magical.” The story opens with twenty-two year old wannabe artist Morgan Christopher, serving a three-year prison sentence for a crime she didn’t commit, receiving visitors and being unexpectedly released from prison. The famous artist Jesse Jameson Williams has just died, and his will has some unusual stipulations: if Morgan can restore an old WWII post office mural in the little southern town of Edenton, North Carolina she can stay out of prison, and Jesse’s daughter Lisa can keep the family home. The deadline is short – only two months. Morgan knows who Jesse Jameson Williams was, but she has no idea of who Anna Dale, the original artist who created the mural was, and she is by no means an art restorer. But what she does know is that she can’t survive the last two years of her prison sentence. So of course she says, “Yep, I can do it,” and hopes for a miracle to help her figure it out in time. Lisa desperately wants the house she grew up in, with all its memories, and she pushes Morgan hard and with little compassion or understanding. The action switches between 1940 and 2018 in Edenton. In 1940, twenty-two year old artist Anna Dale didn’t win the WWII WPA post office mural contest for the design she submitted for her local post office in New Jersey, but instead has been offered the chance to paint a mural in rural Edenton. Anna has just lost her mother, desperately needs a job, and has no direction for her life ahead, so she accepts the challenge. And what a challenge it turns out to be. Nothing has prepared her for how different 1940 North Carolina and 1940 New Jersey are, and those people that are different in 1940 North Carolina: different looks, different ideas, different perceived morals, different thoughts about what rules need to be followed, are not always welcome – or safe. In 2018 Morgan has her own set of problems: an unsympathetic parole office who doesn’t really believe she didn’t commit the crime she was imprisoned for, a most unfriendly, unwelcoming host in Lisa Williams, who just wants the mural finished on time and keeps hanging the threat of a return to prison over Morgan’s head, and a job she has no idea how to do. But as we learn more about these women and their experiences with this mural – the link between them – we start to care deeply about each of them. Both young, struggling to adjust to unfamiliar surroundings and demands they are not sure they can meet. Also, both strong and dedicated to doing the very best work they can do. There are enough twists, turns, surprises and unknowns to keep you riveted to this irresistible novel. Anna makes some good friends, receives interest and admiration of her work from many of the townsfolk, meets a young man with incredible artistic promise and becomes totally dedicated to the completion of the mural as a work of art she can be proud of. She also experiences deceit, lies, resentment and violence from those who don’t think she fits in, don’t trust this Northerner, and resent the fact that the local artist with a young family to support didn’t win the contest. Morgan is all alone, too. Estranged from her family, not willing to return to the life that caused her troubles in the first place, terrified she won’t be able to complete this job. But she also makes some good friends, especially the curator of the soon-to-be-opened Jesse Jameson Williams museum, and as she uncovers layer after layer of debris from the mural becomes as dedicated as Anna Dale was to making it the best it can be. As always in a novel by author Chamberlain, the story is full of brave characters. Brave in both large and small ways, set against sometimes unimaginable obstacles. The prose is beautiful and the words flow, the storyline pulls you in and makes you feel you are living in the time, with the people. The history of the murals is an added bonus, adding authenticity and realism There are murals in what was once a post office in San Francisco. I first viewed them several years ago and thought they were beautiful and an interesting slice of history, but after finishing Big Lies in a Small Town I did some research and discovered controversy surrounded them as well, with people seeing what they perceived as hidden or unacceptable symbolism in the drawings, and demanding changes. Fascinating. Thanks to author Diane Chamberlain for writing yet another fabulous book, and Macmillan Publishers/St. Martin’s Press via NetGalley for providing an advance copy of Big Lies in a Small Town for my reading pleasure and honest re
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    Fiction - Excellent Story

    Big Lies in a Small Town by Diane Chamberlain Intricately woven story that moves seamlessly between1940 and 2018 – I was captivated from the beginning and could not stop reading till the very end. The first scene had me wondering what had happened and though I did not find out immediately I learned in due time. Two women brought together by one mural – one created it and one will restore it – both live for a time in the same small North Carolina town while working and both have life altering experiences. What I liked: * The way the story unfolds...I don’t usually like alternating chapters taking place in different eras but this worked seamlessly and was perfectly * Anna – the woman from the North sent to the South to create a mural for the post office. She was so intelligent, focused and giving...really liked her * Morgan – she had a tough life but was so willing to work hard and do things right. I enjoyed getting to know her and feel she has a future to be proud of...and a HEA to look forward to * Jesse – in addition to being a superb artist he was a great friend and mentor to many * Jesse’s family – I would love to have visited with more than one of them * The idea of second chances * Learning so much about murals – how they are painted and restored – almost makes me want to paint on in my own house * Everything except what I did not like… What I did not like: * The bigotry, racism and male attitude in the 40’s (though not sure how much better it is now) * The way Anna & Morgan were hurt by men * Having to say goodbye to the characters at the end of the book Did I enjoy this book? Definitely Would I read more by this author? Without a doubt! Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for the ARC – This is my honest review. 5 Stars
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    Hooked from the very beginning!

    This was my first book by Diane Chamberlain and it will not be my last. I was hooked from the beginning. This story carries over two timelines 78 years apart. Anna, a young New Jersey artist who won a competition to paint a large mural in a rural southern town, in 1940 and Morgan, a college art major who was sentenced to 3 years in prison for a crime she didn't commit, who was released early on the condition she restore the mural painted by Anna. With each chapter, one for Anna and one for Morgan, you start to build the history and the connection between the two times. It kept me guessing what happened back in 1940 and what the next clues Morgan would find when restoring the mural in the next chapter. This book touches on racism, sexism, forgiveness of others and oneself. I became so engrossed in reading this wonderful book that I read it in one sitting and stayed up till the wee hours of the morning to finish. I wanted to know everything about these characters and I was not disappointed in the discovery. I received an advance reader copy for an honest review.
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    Big Lies in a Small Town

    Big Lies in a Small Town is the latest book by Diane Chamberlain. All the fans of Ms Chamberlain will love this story and anyone who hasn't read her, this is a great novel to start with. As usual with Ms Chamberlain's work, my only regret is that the story ended. I could have continued reading more about these characters for a long time. I was given an early copy to review.
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    Pages fly by

    Big Lies in a Small Town grabs ahold of you from the title, to the first page to the last page. You get quickly caught up in the story of Anna Dale in the the 1940's who was commisioned to produce a mural for the post office in the small town of Edenton, North Carolina. In 2018 Morgan Christopher is, under unusual circumstances, given the job in the same town to restore the mural. You are caught up in the two stories. what happened to Anna Dale and can Morgan delve into the story and secrets behind the mural that have been buried for so many years. Life in a small town back in the 40's and now in the present is so well done. I so did not want this book to end and I will be buying my hard copy on publication date. Put this on the top of your TBR pile !! Thanks to Net Galley and St. Marin's Press for letting me get lost in Anna and Morgan's world.
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