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Big Lies In A Small Town: Diane Chamberlain

Big lies in a small town

Morgan Christopher spent time in prison for a crime she did not commit. Admitting to being drunk when driving which caused the victim to hit her quality of life, she’s about to get a second chance in life. Jesse Jameson Williams owned and art gallery in a small town called Edenton and for some reason in his will he left a sum of money for a specific canvas to be restored. Morgan was approached in prison resentfully by his daughter, Lisa with a high-powered attorney to restore the canvas or painting as she gets out of jail card. But she knows nothing about how to do this but takes the challenge. Just who painted it is the other half of this psychological/ mystery thriller that will set her on a collision course to the past as we meet Anna Dale the artist in 1939 learning she won an art contest and has been chosen to paint this mural which would hang in the post office of this town depicting something related to the local history, industries, flora, fauna or local pursuits. Excited Anna takes a two-day drive to get to see Edenton and meet the movers and shakers a meeting that left her knowing she was not their first choice but that was out of their hands.

Anna Dale is 22 years old and won a federal art contest and was chosen to paint this mural. However, as we get to know her, we learn that this mural was never installed and now in the present timeline another 22-year-old artist, Morgan is ordered to restore the damaged mural which was in storage. Jesse Jameson Williams passed away and as noted his daughter, Lisa is instructed to make sure that Morgan is given the job of restoring the mural. Knowing this African American’s work, admiring it and in awe of her new surroundings, Morgan is about to take on a challenge that will uncover secrets, lies and a heart stopping shock as she begins working on the restoration and sees what lies within the canvas.

Anna is faced with many obstacles along the way including Martin Drapple, the local portrait artist who when sober understands that Anna is working on the mural but when drunk he changes . Anna’s mother had mental issues when we meet her at the start of the novel before her passing. Her manic episodes caused Anna to have to care for her at home until she passed. Then feeling her spirit within her and wanting to make her proud, Anna takes this journey and it’s one that will change her life.

Morgan’s second arrest for DUI brings to light why she’s caught in a maze of restrictions she learns about from her parole officer who shows no compassion and could care less about her guilt or innocence.

As Morgan is trying to search the web for resources about restoration, Lisa comes in an demands that she gets to work immediately not caring about anything but meeting the deadline and even if the restoration is not perfect it will hang in the foyer of the gallery anyway. What Morgan does not know is that there is an underlying reason about her anxiety and that she will lose something dear to her if she fails.

Anna Dale has to decide the focal point of her mural and her choices are limited and the warehouse where she will work is definitely not conducive to painting but she has no choice and yet she hopes it’s safe asking that a lock be placed on the door, the warehouse cleaned up and hoping that she will deliver what they want but secrets, lies and betrayals will shock readers when you learn more about this town in the past and in the present. Just what will Morgan find when they canvas is unraveled besides a ragged mural, parts missing paint and much more.

The author’s research about art restoration brings the method to life as Oliver who is the curator of the gallery agrees to help Morgan hoping she will succeed.

The time periods flash back but the plot lines intersect as Morgan uncovers something hidden beneath the dirt and filth hoping to restore the mural to perfection. With Oliver’s guidance and help she begins to wonder why Anna Dale had axes, blood ,knives and skulls in a mural about Edenton. But Lisa’s aunt Mama Nelle might have a touch of dementia remembers Anna and when Morgan explains what she uncovered she relates something else.

The sketch that Anna created, and the mural was to have the peanut factory, the cotton mill and the tea party and more to make the town proud. But racial tensions and prejudices could not be hidden, and meeting Martin Drapple gives readers an eerie and underlying uneasy feeling.

Miss Myrtle, Ellen Harper, the mayor’s wife, Freda who works for Miss Myrtle and Madge would be part of the Tea Party scene. Freda would be the peanut factory worker. Frank from the lumber mill would be the lumberman. Anna had two students that would get school credit for helping her and then the author lets us meet Jesse as a teen whose art teacher asks Anna if he could help too.

Morgan and Anna both had parents that were not there for either one of them and both chose paths in the art world but what really happened to Anna and what secrets are hidden in this canvas as Morgan researches Anna’s life and reads the articles from the past.

In the present Morgan meets Oliver’s son, Nathan whose views on the canvas are quite interesting but learning he might disappoint his father left her in a quandary. As in the past Peter and Jesse continued to work with Anna where Theresa quit. Jesse is black and during this time black people were not considered equal to white and his talent would have gone unexplored if not for Anna.

Anne meets Jesse’s family and the color lines are broken and she learns more about why he needs remain allowed to help her with he canvas even though he’s missing classes in school His passion for art comes through but in the present Oliver faces a harsh reality when his son decides to take their time together to go with his mother and step father to Disney World Morgan is great and understand why he’s upset but what child would turn that trip down? Things get tense in the past when Martin once again comes to help Anna and the confrontation between him and his wife places her in a bad position, but Jesse defends her. Meeting his parents allows her to learn more about him in the past and Morgan wonders why August 5th is the date the canvas needs to be hung in the gallery. While Oliver and Morgan try to figure out what the painter was trying to express in order to write the transcript for the wall.

In the present Morgan meets Oliver’s son, Nathan whose views on the canvas are quite interesting but learning he might disappoint his father left her in a quandary. As in the past Peter and Jesse continued to work with Anna where Theresa quit. Jesse is black and during this time black people were not considered equal to white and his talent would have gone unexplored if not for Anna.

There mixed views about Anna and Jesse working as a team as Peter dropped out and a racial slur caused her pause for thought she thinking about her mother’s suicide brought back the questions of why in her mind as Morgan and Oliver get into an accident from her on things get tense. The issues are real as we focus on alcohol addiction, racism, jealousy, prejudice, uncertainty, self-awareness, self-worth, friendships, loyalties, betrayals and most of all faith in yourself.

Mama Nelle and Morgan view a picture of the original mural and her mind snaps to the past as we learn the truth behind defacing if the canvas and what Anna really painted and a secret that would remain buried. A heartbreaking revelation as Anna becomes a shell of herself and the town turns on her. What happened that made her withdraw?? Why did they think she and Jesse were more than artist and mentor? A town filled with moral rules and ethics they thought everyone should follow as Morgan face her own demons in the present and the fear of not completing the restoration and prison.

Morgan and Anna’s lives will come full circle as Anna’s words, feelings and thoughts are expressed and revealed in a diary that will bring tears to the reader’s eyes, understanding of the torment that Anna was facing, the betrayals of those she thought were her friends and the young boy who would grow to be a giving and wonderful man who thought helping those that would ordinarily fail might change a life and bring some hope.

Anna Dale/Morgan Christopher how are their lives bound? If the opening happens you won’t believe the outpouring and the final revelation that Morgan learns after reading a journal Just what happened to Anna Dale? How does her life blend with Morgan’s? Author Diane Chamberlain takes us deep inside the minds, actions, hopes, failures and dreams of two young women, both 22 years old, years apart as we learn the final truth behind the Big Lies in a Small Town called Edenton. A man whose legacy will live on and whose reasons for choosing Morgan you won’t believe.

Fran Lewis: Just reviews

 

 

 

 

 

About Just Reviews by:gabina49:

author educator book reviewer for authors reading and writing staff developer Book reviewer for manic readers, ijustfinished.com book pleasures and authors upon request blog tours on my blog and interviews with authors I am the author of five published books. I wrote three children's books in my Bertha Series and Two on Alzheimer's. Radio show talk host on Red River Radio/Blog Talk Radio Book Discussion with Fran Lewis the third Wed. of every month at one eastern. I interview 2 authors each month feature their latest releases. I review books for authors upon request and my latest book Sharp As A Tack or Scrambled Eggs Which Describes Your Brain? Is an E book, Kindle and on Xlibris.com Some of the proceeds from this last book will go to fund research in the area of Brain Traumatic Injury in memory of my sister Marcia who died in July.

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