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Necessary Lies
by Diane Chamberlain

Overview -

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.  Read more...


 
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More About Necessary Lies by Diane Chamberlain
 
 
 
Overview

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?

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9781250010698
  • ISBN-10: 1250010691
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publish Date: September 2013
  • Page Count: 343


Related Categories

Books > Fiction > Contemporary Women

 
BookPage Reviews

Confronting sterilization in small-town North Carolina

From 1929 until 1975, North Carolina sterilized more than 7,000 of its citizens, targeting inmates in mental institutions, epileptics and others whose sterilization was considered “for the public good.” Diane Chamberlain has based her latest novel on this controversial procedure, the Eugenics Sterilization Program.

It is 1960, and Jane Forrester has just been hired as a social worker for the Department of Public Welfare and is newly married to Robert, a pediatrician. They live in a wealthy neighborhood in Raleigh.

Ivy Hart is a 15-year-old who lives in a small tenant house on a tobacco farm in rural Grace County. Her father died when she was small; her mother was committed to a mental hospital; and her older sister, Mary Ella, left school at 14 when she became pregnant with baby William. Mary Ella, labeled “feebleminded,” has been sterilized without her knowledge, told she was hospitalized for an appendectomy.

In the alternating voices of Jane and Ivy, we learn how Jane becomes immersed in the Hart family’s dire circumstances, raising doubts in the minds of both her boss and her husband that she’s tough enough for the job. Robert is embarrassed by the fact that Jane is working rather than fitting into the Junior League role embraced by the wives of his colleagues, but he’s especially bothered by her sincere attachment to these poor families, which is starting to make her question the Eugenics Department’s plans for the Harts.

Chamberlain weaves an element of suspense throughout this emotional story as these differing views eventually collide in a powerful denouement. Necessary Lies is a poignant and perceptive novel zeroing in on a hidden social issue—reminiscent of the work of Jodi Picoult and A. Manette Ansay.

 
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