Friday, August 1, 2014

Necessary Lies

Necessary Lies
by Diane Chamberlain

Genre: Historical Fiction

Synopsis: It is 1960 in North Caroline and the lives of Ivy Hart and Jane Forrester couldn't be more different.  Fifteen-year-old Ivy lives with her family as tenants on a small tobacco farm, but when her parents die, Ivy is left to care for her grandmother, older sister, and nephew.  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 client's lives, causing tension with her new husband and her boss.  No one understands why Jane would want to become a caseworker for the Department of Public Health when she could be a housewife and Junior League member.  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 a life-changing battle.

Set in a time and place of racial tension and state-mandated sterilizations, Necessary Lies is 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?
From the book jacket

Review:  I really enjoyed reading this book.  It took me a while to get into the book but once I finally did, it was hard to put down!  I was really engrossed in the story of how Jane, a new social worker, could help Ivy's family even when the other social workers told her she was doing the wrong thing.  This book infuriated me at times due to the social workers' attitudes towards the poverty stricken families.  I was also irritated with Jane's husband because of his view's of Jane's job and Jane herself.  I had to remind myself that this book took place in the 60s and women were expected to stay home and human rights weren't where we are today.  I really applaud Jane for standing up for her beliefs and trying to do what was right.  That's not to say that Jane made major mistakes but I think she did everything out of her true desire to help families and be honest with them.  One of the topics in this book is the Eugenics Program where people were sterilized due to various reasons-low IQ, medical issues, etc and I found this appalling!  Make sure to read the author's note at the back of the book to find out about the real Eugenics Program in North Caroline.  Sure opened up my eyes!  Chamberlain really touched on the reader's emotions in this book and knew how to draw the reader in.  This book was so much different than the last book I read from her, The Secret Life of Cee Cee Wilkes.  I liked this one so much better so if you haven't loved her books in the past, try this one!

Rating:  4.5 stars

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