Necessary Lies

Narrated by: Alison Elliott
Length: 10 hrs and 51 mins
Categories: Fiction, Historical
4.5 out of 5 stars (3,219 ratings)

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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

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Performance

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Story

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

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

25 people found this 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.

14 people found this 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.

26 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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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

5 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

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!

4 people found this helpful

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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.

4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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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.

13 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

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!

8 people found this helpful

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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

8 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

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.

11 people found this helpful