printed copy

Liar's Bench

Kim Michele Richardson

ISBN 9781617737336
Publish Date 4/28/2015
Format Trade Paperback
Categories Psychological, Women's Fiction, Kensington, Fresh Voices, General
List Price: $15.00

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Kim Michele Richardson was interviewed on ABC WHAS 11.

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.

"With magical writing and a strong sense of time and place, Kim Richardson introduces us to an engaging and unforgettable protagonist in Muddy Summers. We meet seventeen-year-old Muddy at a moment of tremendous personal loss complicated by unanswered questions. Muddy's courage and passion drive the story and I didn't stop cheering for her until the riveting end." --Diane Chamberlain, USA Today bestselling author of The Silent Sister

Advance praise for Kim Michele Richardson and Liar’s Bench

“In Liar's Bench, Kim Michele 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. Southern storytelling at its finest.” --Ann Hite, author of Ghost on Black Mountain

“Readers of Southern fiction won't be able to turn the pages fast enough as they follow this colorful tale.” --Ellen Marie Wiseman, author of What She Left Behind

“In a story that spans more than one hundred years between two hangings, Richardson tackles bigotry and a society in flux in this gripping coming-of-age mystery that feels relevant no matter what the year is. 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

Liar's Bench is compulsively readable---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

About Kim Michele Richardson:

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. Liar’s Bench is her first novel. Kim Michele resides in the rolling hills of Kentucky with her family and is hard at work on her next novel.

Photo Credit: Andrew Eccles

Kim Michele Richardson was interviewed on ABC WHAS 11.


Average Customer Review

Based on 1 review

Customer Review

“The Scars of Others Should Teach Us Caution” (Thursday, June 4, 2015)
Reviewer: Nancy Narma

Back in August of 1860, in Peckinpaw, Kentucky, Mrs. Evelyn Anderson, Mistress of Hark Hill Plantation, reported that she had been poisoned by her House Slave, Frannie Crow. Frannie had been a victim of rape by the Plantation’s overseer and was unable to go about her usual schedule of house chores the following day after the assault. When questioned, Frannie confessed what had happened. Instead of having a pittance of sympathy, the Mistress summoned the overseer and demanded that Frannie be flogged for all of the help to witness. Two weeks later, the frail and pregnant Mistress called for Frannie’s assistance, complaining of a stomach ailment. Remembering the concoction that her own Grandmother gave for such ailments, Frannie fixes her a mild and milky tea. Just hours later, Mrs. Anderson miscarries. Mr. Anderson reports the “poisoning” and Frannie to the town marshal. After a 15 minute trial, Frannie Crow is found guilty and is hanged 5 days later. The remnants of her wooden gallows are given to her son Amos which eventually stand as a reminder of the lies which helped to create the gallows and is known as a “Liar’s Bench” in the town square. Many years later—in 1972, we are introduced to Mudas Summers, who, sadly is attending the burial of her Mother on her 17th Birthday. Mudas’ Father is a prosecuting Attorney and neither he nor Mudas believe Ella committed suicide, as was claimed. A grief-stricken Mudas decides to uncover the truth, not only for her own peace of mind, but to clear her Mother’s muddied name and make the future right for her Half-Sister, Genevieve. She is met with lies, rumors, and shocking details that may lead her in the wrong direction. Mudas is accompanied in her quest by her best friend, Bobby Marshall, who discovers some surprises himself, as well as deeper feelings that have been well-hidden for a long time. They realize quickly that they’re up against many dangerous characters. What has the Rooster Run Ledger got to do with any of this? Has the spirit of Frannie crow returned to claim justice and a better life for her loved ones? A lesson may be learned by all that there should be as much respect for the deceased as there is for the living. This is a fantastic story which will hold you in suspense and not let you go until you, sadly, reach the last page. The characters practically jump off the page due to the descriptiveness. The Author has also kindly included recipes for Mudas’ favorite “Red Cabbage Apple Casserole” and yummy sounding “Potato Candy”. I’m anxiously looking forward to Ms. Richardson’s next work and I bet you will too!
Nancy Narma

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