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Publisher's Summary

Best-selling author Diane Chamberlain delivers a breakout book about a small southern town 50 years ago, and the darkest - and most hopeful - places in the human heart. After losing her parents, 15-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?

©2013 Diane Chamberlain (P)2013 Macmillan Audio

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

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  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Marie
  • Arlington, TN, United States
  • 05-26-15

Controversial story - great performance

What made the experience of listening to Necessary Lies the most enjoyable?

The characters came to life and one was pulled into the story right away.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Necessary Lies?

Can't give details - but there are some moving moments in the story

Which character – as performed by Alison Elliott – was your favorite?

Ivy and Jane

Any additional comments?

Great read - part of US history - don't miss this one - great value for your credit

12 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • janie
  • sabine pass, tx, United States
  • 01-12-15

Exelent Read!!!

I loved every minute of this book! I loved the narrator and it kept my interest. Read it completely without stopping.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Excellent

This book went beyond meeting my expectations and actually blew me away. I was totally absorbed in the story as well as the history. I had no idea involuntary sterilization lasted so late into the century. Being a social worker and professional counselor I could so relate to Jane's inner turmoil. Horrifying! I love the characters and the story. Thanks Diane Chamberlain.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story

Sometimes the truth is hard to hear. Listen anyway

First Diane may very well be my new favorite author. After reading the Silent Sister I needed another good read. Diane does a great job of getting you right into the story and keeping the pace engaging and vivid. This was a hard listen due to the subject matter and as there seemed to be no positive outcomes or ending I was nervous to spend 10 hours angry, sad and frustrated due to the injustices. After listening to the final chapter and hearing the truth about the practice of sterilization lasting until 1976 and the misuse of power to cover up crimes, prejudices, racism, and ignorance I strongly believe everyone needs to know this portion of our history.

As I continue to her political, religious, economic and racial debates about what injustices do or don't .... Have or haven't existed and people telling other people to just get over it or it wasn't that bad or minimized and rationalizing a history they don't believe or understand, the more I believe it should be mandated reading: stories such as this, Selma or The UnBroken. Especially this story that I am sure many people are completely unaware of, and 1976 was only 49 years ago. Just because the majority of us are not evil does not mean that evil doesn't exist in the work nor does it mean that there are not still institutionalized evils still in place. Sorry for the tangent but the power of Diane's writing planted the outrage. She's an excellent writer. Thank you for shining a light on a little known atrocity right here at home in the great US of A.

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

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  • Story
  • Bette
  • Gustine, CA, United States
  • 11-21-13

Pulls you into the story from the First Page!

Wonderful story! I normally read murder/ mystery books, but I'll be looking into more by this author. Story held my interest from beginning to end.

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Excellent read on a controversial topic

Best audible book I've heard in a while. Great book for book club discussions.
Excellent writing on a difficult and controversial topic

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story
  • Tara
  • Washington, USA
  • 04-11-14

Excellent story, historically accurate

My first introduction to American eugenics programs was through Jodi Picoult's book Second Glance. I was deeply moved by the subject, but have rarely run across it since until [book:Necessary Lies|17286747]. The story was gripping and well balanced by the characters maintaining an accurate world view for the time period (1960's), the author clearly being cautious not to modernize the characters' outlook on life and the world around them, ensuring that they were influenced by an accurately depicted 1960's society. The story is absolutely riveting, equally heart-wrenching and heart-warming, and the characters each completely unique, entirely genuine, and full of color. I highly recommend this work for anyone interested in eugenics, historical fiction, or even anyone who just thrives on an excellently told story.

The performance was also incredibly wonderful.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story
  • Toni
  • HOLLY HILL, FL, United States
  • 02-09-15

Just Fantastic!

Would you listen to Necessary Lies again? Why?

Not really into reading or watching things more than once, but this might be an exception.

Who was your favorite character and why?

All of the main characters stood out

Which character – as performed by Alison Elliott – was your favorite?

Narrator brought Ivy to life, amazing

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Perfect mix of fact and fiction

Great story, woven with lots of historically accurate facts, and excellent narration.
This was my first Diane Chamberlain book, and I enjoyed it very much.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Story

Compelling!

I live in North Carolina. I do home visits with people all over the socioeconomic spectrum. Even though it's 2017 and not 1960, this book resonated in many ways. I listened to the book while driving between home visits. Sometimes I hated to turn it off to enter a client's. Other times I had to stop the player as it was too intense to listen and drive simultaneously. Well written, compelling characters and plot. A lesson in history as well. Highly recommend!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful