Big Lies in a Small Town by Diane Chamberlain. (2020).
**4.5 out of 5 stars**
North Carolina, 2018: Morgan is in prison for a crime she didn’t commit. Her dream of a career in the arts is on hold until a mysterious visitor makes her an offer that will get her out of prison. She has to restore an old post office mural for an art gallery opening. What she finds under the layers of grime is a painting that tells the story of madness, violence and small-town secrets.
North Carolina, 1940: Anna is an artist who wins a national contest to paint a mural for a post office in a small town. She accepts and finds herself immersed in a town where people are hiding secrets behind closed doors and where the price for being different might just end in murder…
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Told alternating between the two timelines of 2018 and 1940, I was really immersed in both Morgan’s and Anna’s respective stories that came together in the end. Not knowing much about art restoration, the bits of information shared about the process in this book was actually quite fascinating to me. There are many dark elements to this story and yet it didn’t feel draining to read; it’s written really well so you just want to keep flipping those pages to see what happens next and get to the bottom of the mystery of the mural. Part historical fiction, part mystery and a light romance on the side, this book hit the spot for me. I happily recommend this book and after also loving the author’s previous novel before this one, I fully intend to get reading more of her books.