Listen free for 30 days

Listen with a free trial

One credit a month, good for any title to download and keep.
Unlimited listening to the Plus Catalogue - thousands of select Audible Originals, podcasts and audiobooks.
Exclusive member-only deals.
No commitment - cancel anytime.
Buy Now for £11.99

Buy Now for £11.99

Pay using card ending in
By completing your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and authorise Audible to charge your designated card or any other card on file. Please see our Privacy Notice, Cookies Notice and Interest-based Ads Notice.

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

Average customer ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    97
  • 4 Stars
    24
  • 3 Stars
    6
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    2
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    95
  • 4 Stars
    14
  • 3 Stars
    2
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    3
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    84
  • 4 Stars
    23
  • 3 Stars
    3
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    3

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

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.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Enjoyable

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

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A gripping story

Superbly narrated the book was a wonderful listen. A clever story with a fast moving plot. Thanks to the author - I loved it.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Thoroughly Enjoyable

I'm a big fan of Diane Chamberlain, and this one was really enjoyable. I didn't find myself on the edge of my seat as I have with some of her other books (or up late into the night!), but I did find myself looking forward to putting the next bit on. The story is wonderfully put together, and ties together in a lovely way. I felt the narrator did a great job with it also.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

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.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

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

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

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.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

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.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

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.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Slow burn but worth it

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