In the best-selling tradition of The Secret Life of Bees, Liar's Bench is an atmospheric, compulsively listenable tale full of heart and history, set in 1970s Kentucky and exploring civil rights and family secrets.
In 1972 on Mudas Summers's 17th birthday, her beloved mama Ella is found hanging from the rafters of their home. Most people in Peckinpaw, Kentucky, assume that Ella's no-good husband did the deed. Others think Ella grew tired of his abuse and did it herself. Muddy is determined to find out for sure either way, especially once she finds strange papers hidden among her mama's possessions.
But Peckinpaw keeps its secrets buried deep. Muddy's almost-more-than-friend Bobby Marshall knows that better than most. Though he passes for white, one of his ancestors was Frannie Crow, a slave hanged a century ago on nearby Hark Hill Plantation. Adorning the town square is a seat built from Frannie's gallows; a tribute, a relic - and a caution - it's known as Liar's Bench. The answers Muddy seeks soon lead back to Hark Hill, to hatred and corruption that have echoed through the years, and to lies she must be brave enough to confront at last.
Kim Michele Richardson's lush, beautifully written debut is set against a southern backdrop passing uneasily from bigotry and brutality to hope. With its compelling mystery and complex yet relatable heroine, Liar's Bench is a story of first love, raw courage, and truths that won't be denied.
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- Michelle Sawyer