Book Review: Big Lies in a Small Town by Diane Chamberlain

Big Lies in a Small Town…

About the Book:

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?

My Thoughts:

I have been a long-time fan of Diane Chamberlain, she’s an author whose books just gel with me, every time. Big Lies in a Small Town is, in my opinion, her best yet. This was such a good novel. Next level fiction and one I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend far and wide.

Big Lies in a Small Town is a dual timeline narrative, with a multi-layered plot that has anchors in both eras, as well as credible links between the characters across time. Both of the main characters, Morgan and Anna, were women that I formed a great deal of empathy for and I felt quite invested in their stories. As the novel progressed, I really enjoyed seeing all of the plot threads begin to knit together and there were plenty of ‘ah-ha’ moments as mysteries were solved and character connections were made.

I was surprised to read in the author note that the town in which the story was set, Edenton, is an actual town in North Carolina. While the story itself is fiction, it interested me that Diane had used an actual small town as the setting for a novel that doesn’t always paint that town in a merry way; I wondered at the possible outrage from its residents and fallout for the author. But when you read a bit further into the author note, Diane outlines some very positive things that have been happening within that town to address its painful (and shameful) history; one that is deeply rooted in slavery and segregation. It seems also that Edentonians were more than happy to have their town as the setting for the latest Diane Chamberlain novel and were supportive of her intentions and her handling of their history.

Big Lies in a Small Town has some rather big issues woven into its plot and the characters are not left unscathed. This is one of the things I’ve always enjoyed when it comes to a Diane Chamberlain novel. She’s not afraid to ‘go there’ with the big issues, stretch her characters, and shake her readers up a bit with her plot. It gives her work a credible edge, and coupled with her extensive research, makes for absorbing reading. Once again, Diane Chamberlain has delivered a cracking good release and if you’re looking for a book that has it all: drama, mystery, crime, history, absorbing characters, and plenty of shock value – you can’t go past Big Lies in a Small Town.


Thanks is extended to Pan Macmillan Australia for providing me with a copy of Big Lies in a Small Town for review.

About the Author:

Diane Chamberlain is the bestselling author of numerous novels including Necessary Lies, The Silent Sister and Pretending to Dance. Her storylines are often a combination of romance, family drama, intrigue and suspense. She lives in North Carolina with her partner, photographer John Pagliuca, and her Shelties, Keeper and Cole.

Big Lies in a Small Town
Published by Macmillan
Released on 14th January 2020

12 thoughts on “Book Review: Big Lies in a Small Town by Diane Chamberlain

  1. Oh, I’m so glad you loved this one!! (I suspected you might haha) This was my first Diane Chamberlain, and it was SUCH a pleasant surprise – it really did have it all.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s