Review

Big Lies in a Small Town. Diane Chamberlain

Book Cover

Published: St Martin’s Press
Date 14th January 2020
Source: Publisher via NetGalley

Banner

If you ever had any doubt that you must let go the past so that you can move into the future then this book will certainly convince you of it being so true.

Morgan Christopher has the huge task of restoring a mural painted by Anna Dale in 1940. Morgan has been unfairly in prison for the past year, because of a boyfriend who was a coward. This is an opportunity for her, although she knows nothing about restoring painting. Plus there is a time limit. And why did the well known artist Jesse Williams name her as the person who must do it?

Anna Dale has been given the task of painting the mural in Edenton  to hang in the post office. She moves there for awhile while she paints it so that she can get a feel for the place, its history and people. A few young students help her, Jesse among them. Anna has come from the north and is rather wondering of the racist ways still present here in this town and she is to run up against it in unpleasant ways.

The less said about the plot the better. It needs to unfold for the reader so that you have an opportunity to see it play out before your eyes. The story is told between Anna and Morgan. The chapters are short, so this time I could easily live with the dual time line. There was no time to miss one character because I was speedily back with her. As well, their stories of working on the mural and the mystery it presents links up so seamlessly.

I loved this book. It held me in its thrall all the way through. There is mystery, challenge, injustice, racism and violence – but not too much, just a taste. The characters of Anna and Morgan – nothing not to love. Jesse was another who in the ’40’s I cheered on. And his family.

All I can say is don’t miss out on this one. I wish it went on much further, but maybe Diane Chamberlain knows where to stop!

Review

A Family of Strangers Emilie Richards

book cover

Published: Mira
Date: 25th June 2019
Source: Publisher via NetGalley

Banner

I slowly read the last pages of A Family of Strangers, reluctant to finish, because then I have to step out of the story web that Emilie Richards has woven and entrapped me in.

Ryan has had to return home to help her parents take care of her two nieces. There Dad is in a submarine somewhere and their mother – Ryan’s sister – Wendy, has let Ryan know she needs to disappear for awhile. Wendy is way older than Ryan so they have never really been at home together so don’t know each other that well.

When Ryan takes on the role of caring for her two nieces Holly and Noelle, she finds the going tough, the girls are lost and very wary. I liked how it wasn’t easy for Ryan as she had to find her way with them and discover what was happening for them.  As well Ryan needs to deal with a situation – a serious one – that she was involved in before she left town.  However she wants to reach out to Teo, the man she loved but left.

Those who like to listen to crime podcasts will appreciate that Ryan has produced and been part of a successful crime podcast. She is a journalist and as a mystery surrounding her sister begins to develop her skills, colleagues and general instincts come into play.

Along the way Ryan is going to have the opportunity of a second chance, she is going to find out what matters to her, how her family really sees her, and where true justice lies.

For those who like an absorbing family story, with mystery that leaves clues along the way so that you are able to infer and make judgements about what tack the story is going in.  A satisfying read.

 

Review

The Good Liar by Catherine McKenzie

book cover

Published:  Lake Union
Date: 3rd April 2018
Format: e-ARC
Pages: 380
Genre: Mystery/Contemporary Fiction
Source: Publisher via NetGalley

Rating
Goodreads callout

A year later, Cecily is in mourning. She was supposed to be in the building that day. Instead, she stood on the street and witnessed it going down, with her husband and best friend inside.

Kate, now living thousands of miles away, fled the disaster and is hoping that her past won’t catch up with her. And Franny, a young woman in search of her birth mother, watched the horror unfold on the morning news, knowing that the woman she was so desperate to reconnect with was in the building.

Banner

Three women in this novel and a web of lies and deceits.

In my opinion as I read :

  • One woman is a bit of a mystery
  • One woman is socially disturbed and I can’t agree with her actions
  • One woman seems ordinary and caught in the cross fires of other people’s mistakes, poor choices and the victim of disloyalty.

I know this story is going to have lots of revelations along the way, and one comes for sure mid-read. Now my mind is beginning to see many possibilities and schemes. I just need to read on and see where this goes.

There is Cecelia – mother of two, who is on her way to the building where her husband works and is just in time to see that building explode. Why was she going to meet her husband Tom?  Well eventually that is revealed.

Then we have Kate, who is taking care of two delightful twin boys in Canada. But she has only been there  a year and why did she flee the disaster – when she has a family of her own. Not cool.

Finally Frannie who maintains she is adopted and that one of the women killed in the explosion was her birth mother.

All through the story people lie in one way or the other. There was really only one woman I liked, the other two – not so much, although I might have felt sorry, no really I didn’t feel sorry or sympathetic towards them.

This was a story that had some good twists and turns and revelations, the kind of book that kept me reading until I had finished it up in a day!