Summary: 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?
Thoughts: I decided to listen to this one on audio while following along with the book and I’m glad that I chose to do this. The very detailed descriptions of this book lend themselves well to an audio book, I really enjoyed relaxing and trying to see the story. The narrator for this book made it easy to listen to and it was a soothing listen during this weird times. I also liked how there was one narrator but she goes along with each of the girl’s personalities so you can tell who is speaking.
I like how you slowly get the girls back story as the rest of the plot progresses, it makes the book go along smoothly. I was glad to find that their past was put throughout the current times as it didn’t feel like I was waiting for something to happen. I liked that there wasn’t several chapters of backstory before we got to know how these two girls were connected. While the beginning is slow, I enjoyed the pace as it lets you immerse yourself into the worlds that this book takes place in.
Something else that I enjoyed was that there was a clear distinction between both of the girls story but that they also were put together in a way that didn’t make things choppy. Each chapter blended well with each other and the way the story was told lent itself well to the style that was used. It was as if the girls were sometimes the same person but you saw the distinction as the town people came into view.
The town people added another layer to the story as they each had their reasons for why they treated Anna and Morgan differently than others. I liked the added complexity of race brought in as Anna paints the mural and how she feels out of place. I like that you get to see her discomfort and the discomfort of others and her taking a while to understand why they don’t want her there. I thought it was really reflective of the time period and of things happening in that time and place.
I really enjoyed the way that the time jump is written in this book because often times I would forget that these stories weren’t being told side by side. It was nice to be reminded that there was a connection between the two stories and to see the mystery unravel as Morgan learns more about Anna and as you as the reader learns more about both of these girls.