Liar's Bench (Paperback)

By Kim Michele Richardson

Kensington, 9781617737336, 272pp.

Publication Date: April 28, 2015

Other Editions of This Title:
Pre-Recorded Audio Player (5/2/2015)
Compact Disc (4/28/2015)
Compact Disc (4/28/2015)
MP3 CD (4/28/2015)

List Price: 15.00*
* Individual store prices may vary.


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

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.” – Booklist

“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.” – Publishers Weekly

“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

"You'll hear echoes of To Kill A Mockingbird in this haunting coming-of-age story... Beautifully written, atmospheric and intricately plotted, Kim Michele Richardson's debut novel will stay with you long after the last page is turned." – Susan Wiggs, # 1 New York Times bestselling author

"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

Conversation Starters from

  1. The South of 1972 was not far removed from Freedom Riders, police dogs, and water blasts attacking peaceful protesters. How does the Civil Rights Movement influence Mudas? How does it affect her actions, her fears, and her relationship with Bobby?generic viagra price canada
  2. Kentucky straddles the “deep” South and the Midwest’s industrial heartland. Mama was torn between those two worlds. Bobby also feels the pull of the big city and dreams of “getting out” of Peckinpaw. Muddy also has high hopes for herself, but she feels a deep connection with her hometown. Do you think she will live out her days in Peckinpaw? Or will her aspirations take her elsewhere?generic viagra price canada
  3. In the large majority of divorces, mothers retain primary custody of the children. In Liar’s Bench, Muddy remains in her father’s care, which would have been particularly unusual in the ’70s. Is Adam a good father? Does his gender make him ill-equipped to parent a teenage girl? How might have Mudas’ life turned out differently if she had continued to live with her mother?generic viagra price canada
  4. Liar’s Bench is infused with descriptions of the plants, the sky, the soil, the birds, and their songs. Have we, today, lost the ability to see, feel, and appreciate our natural surroundings? Have we become disconnected from nature?generic viagra price canada
  5. In relation to Frannie and Amos, it is difficult to live with the specters of our past. Is it possible to move forward? Does history ever allow a clean slate?generic viagra price canada
  6. Today, we live in the age of information. Everything is accessible, right at our fingertips. With that in mind, consider how Muddy’s story would be different if it happened today. Would it be easier for her to find out the truth about her mama’s death? Or would the wealth of information be a smoke screen, making it harder than ever to distinguish fact from fiction?generic viagra price canada
  7. Imagine being a seventeen-year-old. That scary twilight-gray area of youth. Close to freedom, but still so far away. The constant undercurrent of Liar’s Bench is Muddy’s desire to shed the skin of her childhood and take on the shiny new coat of an adult. Has that process changed for young women since then? How? Is it easier or more difficult?generic viagra price canada
  8. Grammy Essie explained “true love” to Muddy through scent. Our sense of smell plays a powerful part in our lives. How does the sense of smell affect your life, and how does it influence us, either romantically or in our culture? How does smell trigger emotional responses? Are there any particular scents that evoke childhood memories for you? What are they?generic viagra price canada
  9. Title IX is a portion of the Education Amendments of 1972 that states (in part) that “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance . . .” Today, it’s hard to imagine there was a time when girls couldn’t participate in school sports because of gender. Are there any current policiesthat we will look back on, fifty years from now, and find unfathomable? Is this how we define progress?generic viagra price canada
  10. “Most all of us kids were still riding on the coattails of the peace and love movement, trying to find ourselves, to let loose the flower child hidden in our barn-wide bell-bottoms,” Mudas tells us. Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of boys, including Bobby’s older brother, are fighting overseas in Vietnam, brought there by choice or by the Draft. How doesa war overseas affect life back home?generic viagra price canada
  11. Do you have any family recipes that you treasure? Will you pass them on to the next generation in the same way that Mama gives Muddy the cabbage casserole recipe card and Grammy Essie makes potato candy? How are food and family linked?generic viagra price canada