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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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Story

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
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  • 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

21 of 21 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

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.

12 of 12 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

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.

25 of 27 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Paula
  • Overland Park, KS USA
  • 02-04-18

Excellent! Excellent! Can't Say It Enough!

This book is one of the best I had listened to in recent months. From the very first words, it will pull you into a story where poverty and culture clash in the 1950's. It is the story of a naive young social worker who simply cares too much about her poor, uneducated clients. It is the story of a southern culture where white upper class society creates rules and practices that prey on the poor -- both black and white. It is the story of a country where. . even after Hitler's attempt to use eugenics to create the master race; sterilization was used and abused in South Carolina by biased, empowered social workers. You will love the characters in the story -- and your eyes will get misty as the ending unfolds. This is a book about our history as a nation and if you are over age 55, you will relate fully to the circumstances it describes.

Great writing -- but among the best things about this book was the narration. Alison Elliott should be narrating many, many more books. She was perfect!

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

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

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • 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.

12 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • 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.

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • 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.

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Cyndi
  • Beautiful Michigan
  • 09-25-18

✫✫ 5 Stars ✫✫

Wow what a story. I truly felt like I was sitting in the 1960's in rural NC being told this story by the people who where there. The author tells us the story of Jane Forrester and her job as a social worker in 1960. Going into the job she has no idea what she is getting into at all which makes this story even better because she was just as surprised by the things going on with "the system" as I was.

During her time as a social worker she handles a couple family's who struggle with poverty, health and mental illness. When she came into their lives, she shed some light on things for the young Ivy Hart who along with her sister was kept in the dark about the program that the state was using to sterilize mentally ill and epileptic girls without their knowledge. Ivy & Jane were two very strong characters with two very different lives who maybe unknowingly helped each other find their way in life.

The fact that this book is based on a real situation as the author explains in the Author's Note made this book even better for me but also made me even sicker to know that these things did really happen. Truly heartbreaking!

The narration was perfect, She really did an amazing job voicing characters of different ages, different educations and mentally ill.

#Amazing #RealLife #CanNotRecommendEnough #Sweepstakes #Tagsgiving

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • B.J.
  • Minneapolis, MN, United States
  • 02-26-18

Unexpectedly good.

I think I expected a not-so-deep listen about the south a half-century ago. I wasn't exactly expecting new ground would be covered, but some of my favorite reviewers gave it a 5-star so I gave it a shot.

This is a case where characters you've come to love can demonstrate an issue much more effectively than if you describe an idea from on high. It seems like any time you can see the impact on a human, it all makes more sense. (I think back to movies like "Schindler's List" and "Sophie's choice" that did this brilliantly.) I'm sure it's why certain news stories take a different turn when you see the human suffering on a personal level.

Though I knew about the program that comes to light in this book, I'd never thought about it in these terms. I never imagined how it felt to a trained professional with a conscience -- and to be powerless in the face of something you know to be so wrong.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful