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?
In this heart-wrenching historical fiction, prolific author Chamberlain focuses on a time in North Carolina's history that most people would rather forget. It's 1960, and Jane is a 21-year-old newlywed who's just accepted a job as a social worker, though her husband, Robert, would rather she stay home like the other country club wives. Her clients poor tobacco farmers in Grace County, like the Hart family live in the harsh reality of the rural South, with too many mouths to feed and not much to feed them. Jane is eager to help, until she discovers that part of her job is deciding whether young girls like the vivacious Ivy Hart should be sterilized, in order to keep them from having babies that depend on the state. A captivating look at the little-discussed eugenics program that was responsible for sterilizing more than 7,000 American citizens some without their knowledge this engrossing novel digs deep into the moral complexity of a dark period in history and brings it to life.
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This book had me gripped with anticipation from chapter 1! I loved every page, especially the alternating perspectives from the two main characters. A must read.
To be honest I wasn't sure to expect from this book as it didn't start off with a climax like the books I normally read. But this was a great book! I grew to love Ivy and Jane so much and I wanted them both to do everything they could to get ahead. Very educational and informative on something that you wouldn't expect was common practice in the United States. If you're wondering if it's worth a read, I only have to say: YES.