Liar's Bench (Paperback)
“You'll hear echoes of To Kill a Mockingbird in this haunting coming-of-age story...Beautifully written, atmospheric, and intricately plotted.”
—Susan Wiggs, New York Times bestselling author
In 1972, on Mudas Summers' seventeenth 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 amongst 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. Now, the answers Muddy seeks soon lead back to Hark Hill, to hatred and corruption that have echoed through the years--and 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.
About the Author
Kim Michele Richardson is a volunteer for Habitat for Humanity and an advocate for the prevention of child abuse and domestic violence. She is also the author of the memoir The Unbreakable Child and the novels GodPretty in the Tobacco Field and Liar’s Bench. Kim Michele resides in the rolling hills of Kentucky with her family and is hard at work on her next novel.
Praise for LIAR’S BENCH
“An intricately crafted plot with vivid characters make up Richardson’s debut novel set in a small Kentucky town in the 1970’s. Her beautifully descriptive storytelling gorgeously weaves a story centered around two hangings, which occur about a hundred years apart. Mudas and Bobby make strong protagonists as they find the courage to find answers within the volatile environment of the South. A wonderful story that will leave its mark on readers’ hearts.”
—RT Book Reviews, 4.5 Stars Top Pick
“This glorious debut novel is one of an unexpectedly fine crop of recent and new Southern fiction… Liar’s Bench succeeds on many levels. As a coming-of-age story, it is splendidly realized and uplifting. As a portrait of a Southern community painfully stumbling into the age of racial and gender equality, it is penetrating and convincing. It is a high energy action tale. Ms. Richardson’s evocation of the sensory world is supremely effective: much of any reader’s delight will be rooted in savoring the sounds, smells, tastes, and fragrances that enhance her captivating vision of a typical Southern small town during two linked periods of its history.”
—Southern Literary Review
“This has southern small-town charm… includes recipes and discussion questions and may appeal to those who like Rebecca Wells or Jennifer Chiaverini.”
“A satisfying mystery with thought-provoking historical elements, written in a sassy Southern voice.”
—Historical Novels Review
“Richardson manages to put together a chilling view of race relations in the South.”
“Readers of Southern fiction won’t be able to turn the pages fast enough…”
—Ellen Wiseman, author of What She Left Behind
“A highly imaginative coming-of-age story with a lot of unexpected twists and turns. Very hard to put down!”
—Noah Bly, author of The Third Hill North Of Town
“With value for readers of all ages, Liar’s Bench is a story that will stay with you long after the reading’s done.”
—Jamie Mason, author of Three Graves Full
"In Liar's Bench, her debut novel, Kim Richardson brings you home to meet her people and to pull up a rocker on the porch with a Mason jar of sweet tea, to watch the fireflies in the dusk while she spins a sure-footed tale of wrongful death, first love and reconciliation. Like Muddy, you'll find you cannot walk away."
—Amy Conner, author of The Right Thing
“Liar’s Bench is one of those rare books I wish I had written."
—Ann Hite, author of Ghost on Black Mountain and Georgia Author Of The Year 2012
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