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Publisher's Summary

Big Lies in a Small Town, by the internationally best-selling author Diane Chamberlain, is a sweeping novel about two women connected by a painting that holds many dark secrets.

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 Centre. Her dream of a career in the arts 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 for 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?

©2020 Diane Chamberlain (P)2020 Macmillan Digital Audio

Critic Reviews

"Fans of Jodi Picoult’s style will love how Diane Chamberlain writes." (Candis)

"Narrator Susan Bennett offers a moving performance of this multilayered story of two women whose lives are affected by a New Deal art mural. Portraying Morgan, Bennett's voice has a tone of artistic sensitivity. When Anna's life spirals out of control, she adds feverish intensity. For the locals, Bennett superbly delivers a languid Southern drawl. Overall, Bennett adds an exciting dimension to a gripping story of racism, madness, murder, and even romance." (J.E.S, AudioFile)

What listeners say about Big Lies in a Small Town

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Great story

A clever story of art revealing details of a crime in time past. I would have enjoyed more detail of the types of paints and their color. There were sentences where the narrator noticed too late, and attempted to correct with one or two words, which was a question, or words spoken softer or louder. These areas need to be marked in advance.

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  • Ninaminacat
  • 23-10-2020

Two timelines, both equally interesting

This was a gripping dual timeline novel which kept my interest throughout - in spite of some rather unlikely circumstances, such a request that an art restoration project be undertaken by someone with no experience (even at trainee level) of this very specialised profession. One factor which contributed to my enjoyment was Diane Chamberlain's creation of two equally interesting timelines - a rare phenomenon, as I am sure you will agree. I was always keen to get to know both sets of characters better, to solve the mystery of artist Anna Dale's disappearance in the 1940s and to see how Morgan Christopher could even begin to undertake the restoration in 2018. The descriptions of both Anna's methods in working on the original art work, a post office mural, and of Morgan's attempts to restore it, which might have slowed down the narrative, enhanced the reading experience. Another major plus point was Susan Bennett's excellent narration which made it clear who each character was and brought to life Morgan in particular.

So, why withhold the fifth star, when the novel was clearly hitting the mark in so many respects? One reason is the lack of credibility of some scenarios - including one relating to the final reveal - and another is the element of predictability of some aspects of the plot. However, narrating two equally engrossing timelines is such a rarity, that overall, I would rate the novel at 4.5 stars.

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  • G in Southampton
  • 05-09-2020

Enjoyable

Easy to listen too and engaging story, if a little predictable. Would recommend as a beach read.

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  • Kathryn Yeo
  • 18-07-2021

Another brilliant book by Diane Chamberlain

I've been a fan of Diane Chamberlain's books for some time now and I can honestly say this book is up there as one of my favourites. I love the way the plot and characters are inexplicably twisted together then bit by bit become untangled.

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  • Miss Moneypenny
  • 17-07-2021

Loved this book

Thoroughly enjoyed this book & highly recommend it. Loved the story & the way it was told. I really cared about the characters & their journeys. Diane Chamberlain is a wonderful writer & will be reading more of her books after this one

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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-04-2021

Worth all thirteen hours and twenty minutes spent

The stories of Anna 1940 and Morgan in 2018, are easy to follow. Both of their lives linked by the love and expression of their art; just as both females were linked. I enjoyed both parts of the story as they are clearly defined by the way this manuscript was cleverly constructed. The narrator handled both male and female, the aged and youthful voices with care, She herself deserving of great accolades along with the Author. Together the book came alive. The book has whispers of a historic documentary as well as a bloody good contemporary read. Diane managed to squeeze every emotion from me. I applaud them both.
This book I chose on my husbands Audible as we share a desk. I shall be seeking out more of @DianeChamberlain to read You will regret not reading or listening to this.

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  • Mrs Valda R Chapman
  • 05-03-2021

Another Southern Story

This story rambles on a bit, rather than sharp twists and turns the story slowly unfolds and for the most part meanders along. The best bit was the unravel at the end but for me this made the story unbalanced, not much happened until well over half way through. Nicely written though and narration was professional.

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  • Karen Dearnaley
  • 20-02-2021

Another good story from Diane Chamberlain

I read another book by Diane Chamberlain a few weeks ago and really enjoyed it so I thought I would give this one a try. It was a good story, two timelines with each chapter alternating between 1940 and 2018. It was an interesting story and well narrated but it just dragged a little for me towards the end and it was a little far fetched in places.

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  • Surrey Mum
  • 31-01-2021

Slow burn but worth it

Took a while to get going but when it did you get sucked in. Stick with it.

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  • Shell
  • 07-10-2020

Enjoyable

Loved this book had me on the edge of my seat but it just ended

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  • Pauline
  • 26-07-2020

Intriguing

Loved every minute of this story. Wanted to listen from start to finish in one go which wasn't possible.

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