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?
I would have never thought a book about art restoration would be interesting but I was fascinated by this. The story is in 2 time periods and follows an artist who is making a mural for a post office in a small southern town and a woman who is tasked to restore the mural in present day. There is a lot of controversy surrounding the artist and mural and this makes for a very interesting and, at times, tense and suspenseful read.
I really enjoyed the character development and rich atmosphere described in this book. I was very interested in the history of the public murals that are described in the story so I researched them online as there is one such mural in my hometown post office. I found some very interesting information about it and was surprised to find that my town mural also had some controversy surrounding it.
I always enjoy Diane Chamberlain’s books, they have a little bit of everything and evoke many feelings and this one was no exception. I definitely recommend this story!
I received a digital copy of this book from NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.