It’s 2018, and Morgan Christopher is currently incarcerated in the North Carolina Prison System. She had been a third-year art student when she was involved in a motor vehicle accident that left another young woman paralyzed. A year into her sentence, she is still struggling with the truth of her situation, when a guard summons her to a visitation room. Upon entering the room, she finds two women waiting for her, one of whom is a lawyer, and they have an amazing proposition for her.
Morgan has somehow caught the eye of a famous artist who has recently died. While she is well acquainted with his work, she cannot fathom how he could possibly have known her, nor how he would have chosen her for the project she’s being offered – the opportunity to be paroled and to restore an old mural that was originally planned to hang in the Edenton, NC Post Office. However, the offer comes with a catch. The work on the mural must be completed in two months’ time. Desperate to be free, Morgan accepts the offer.
In 1939, a young Anna Dale receives a letter from the US Treasury, indicating that she has won a contest; she is the artist selected to create a mural for the Edenton, NC Post Office. Having recently lost her ailing mother, Anna opts to take a short trip to explore the small waterfront town of Edenton, to gain a flavor for the town, and gain ideas for the painting. A young woman living in New Jersey, she’s aware of the divisions that still exist between races south of the Mason Dixon line and hopes to design a mural to honor all of the residents of this small southern town. Embraced by the townspeople, she opts to remain in Edenton until completion of the mural.
As Morgan gets herself settled in her benefactor’s home in Edenton, she’s appalled by the shape that the mural is in when she finally lays eyes on it – mildew, scratches and abraded areas of paint adorn the canvas, and with no experience in restoring old works, she’s realizing there’s likely no way she’ll be able to complete this project to its specifications. As she slowly works to uncover the images, she becomes very intrigued by the painter Anna Dale, who seemingly disappeared after the mural was painted. And why was the mural hidden away and never installed in its place of honor?
Told from both Anna’s time and Morgan’s present, this story will immerse you into a past southern culture, where the color of your skin dictated your very freedom, as it very quickly draws you in, captures your heart, and has you frantically flipping pages as you’re cheering Morgan on, and yearning to know what became of young Anna. I originally chose this book because of its NC setting, and my visits to the town of Edenton, and I’m so glad I did – this story is totally enchanting!! An absolute gem!!
I received this book as an Advance Reader Copy from Netgalley, in exchange for an objective review. Do you love to read?? Visit netgalley.com and start reviewing books today!!