This was my second Diane Chamberlain book and color me impressed!
**(see my review of The Dream Daughter – one of my favorite books EVER here!)**
What. A. Story.
I am in awe of her creativity to always create such alluring tales that are consistently so unique and fresh.
The merging of real life aspects – including the town of Edenton and the mural contest, as well as exploring themes of recovery, redemption and racism had me flipping pages to find what clever and shocking surprise I’d find myself at every chapter.
The writing is so comfortable – smooth prose and delicate details that build up so beautifully that you don’t see things coming – even though they’ve been hinted at and teased before. The plot seems so effortless, yet so intricate – I had a hard time putting this one down!
“A novel about arts and secrets…grippingly told…pulls readers toward a shocking conclusion.”―People magazine, Best New Books
Told in dual narratives – Morgan, fresh from prison, present day – tasked to complete a mural restoration in exchange for early release – and Anna, the mural original painter, in 1940, who faced incredible odds to complete the painting, but has not been seen since – both women’s stories had me riveted!
Why was Morgan picked to restore it? And what happened to Anna? Why is the painting so weird?!
The painting itself is the third main character. I can see every single detail in my mind. The rich colors, the characters faces, the curious and strange details.
As an artist myself, I was taken back to art school with all the elements of design and layout, and preparation of canvas and colors.
The descriptions were exquisite and I want someone to paint this so I can see it in real life!
“Chamberlain, a master storyteller, keeps readers hooked, with a story line that leavens history and social commentary with romance and mystery.”―Lexington Dispatch
I really enjoyed this one. So many strong and interesting themes, mixed in with characters I really connected with, and a story that held my interest from beginning to end.
Thanks so much to St Martins Press for this gifted book.
You can grab a copy of this wonderful book here!
- Hardcover: 400 pages
- Publisher: St. Martin’s Press (January 14, 2020)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1250087333
- ISBN-13: 978-1250087331
About the book:
From New York Times bestselling author Diane Chamberlain comes a novel of chilling intrigue, a decades-old disappearance, and one woman’s quest to find the truth…
North Carolina, 2018:
Morgan Christopher’s life has been derailed. Taking the fall for a crime she did not commit, her dream of a career in art is put on hold―until a mysterious visitor makes her an offer that will get her released from prison immediately. Her assignment: restore an old post office mural in a sleepy southern town. Morgan knows nothing about art restoration, but desperate to be free, 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 in great need of 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?
About the Author:
Diane Chamberlain is the New York Times, USA Today and (London) Sunday Times best-selling author of 27 novels. The daughter of a school principal who supplied her with a new book almost daily, Diane quickly learned the emotional power of story. Although she wrote many small “books” as a child, she didn’t seriously turn to writing fiction until her early thirties when she was waiting for a delayed doctor’s appointment with nothing more than a pad, a pen, and an idea. She was instantly hooked.
Diane was born and raised in Plainfield, New Jersey and lived for many years in both San Diego and northern Virginia. She received her master’s degree in clinical social work from San Diego State University. Prior to her writing career, she was a hospital social worker in both San Diego and Washington, D.C, and a psychotherapist in private practice in Alexandria, Virginia, working primarily with adolescents.
More than two decades ago, Diane was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, which changed the way she works: She wrote two novels using voice recognition software before new medication allowed her to get back to typing. She feels fortunate that her arthritis is not more severe and that she’s able to enjoy everyday activities as well as keep up with a busy travel schedule.
Diane lives in North Carolina with her significant other, photographer John Pagliuca, and their odd but lovable Shetland Sheepdog, Cole.
Please visit Diane’s website for her event schedule and for more information on her newest novel, Big Lies in a Small Town, as well as a complete list of her books.