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Necessary Lies: A Novel

Bestselling author Diane Chamberlain delivers a breakout book about a small southern town fifty years ago, and the darkest—and most hopeful—places in the human heart

After losing her parents, fifteen-year-old Ivy Hart is left to care for her grandmother, older sister and nephew as tenants on a small tobacco farm. As she struggles with her grandmother’s aging, her sister’s mental illness and her own epilepsy, she realizes they might need more than she can give.
When Jane Forrester takes a position as Grace County’s newest social worker, she doesn’t realize just how much her help is needed. She quickly becomes emotionally invested in her clients’ lives, causing tension with her boss and her new husband. But as Jane is drawn in by the Hart women, she begins to discover the secrets of the small farm—secrets much darker than she would have guessed. Soon, she must decide whether to take drastic action to help them, or risk losing the battle against everything she believes is wrong.
Set in rural Grace County, North Carolina in a time of state-mandated sterilizations and racial tension, Necessary Lies tells the story of these two young women, seemingly worlds apart, but both haunted by tragedy. Jane and Ivy are thrown together and must ask themselves: how can you know what you believe is right, when everyone is telling you it’s wrong?

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Anonymous says:

Great story! Necessary Lies is of a young, newly married social worker who, against her husband’s wishes, works with families that are uneducated, white and non-white, and not of the proper societal standards. This was also the time when the Eugenics Program, basically a sterilization of people who had low IQs and would be unable to care for themselves and their possible future children, was in force ( I didn’t even know this was a thing). As I was reading, I kept thinking, “I can see how this was…

Anonymous says:

Courage in the Face of Darkness If I could give this book 10 stars, I would. Why? Because the author has created strong, believable characters through whom we see the terrible impact North Carolina’s sterilization program had on the lives on innocent people. [Over 7000 people were sterilized between 1929 and 1975.] There are two primary narrators of the story: Ivy, a lively 15 years old girl, living on a tobacco plantation as a member of a poor tenant farming family. And Jane, a 22 year old social worker who has just…

Anonymous says:

Real bravery Courageous women face a system where poverty and disease make involuntary sterilization possible. Jane, a new bride, accepts a job as a case worker for a North Carolina welfare department. She finds tangled relationships and difficult time with acceptance of a program that mandates sterilization for impoverished folk beset with mental or physical issues. Jane also runs afoul a system where objectivity rather than compassion is valued. Her job becomes an unwelcome distraction to her physician…

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