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Necessary Lies

(Necessary Lies #1)

4.24  ·  Rating details ·  55,774 ratings  ·  5,546 reviews
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
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published September 3rd 2013 by St. Martin's Press
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Jane Harris I would not agree. I believe that the book was well written. It was an engrossing, well researched story, though not a literary "masterpiece."
Karen O'donnell tennenbaum Actually even in the 1990's when I was working in foster care as an RN, Social workers did not have to have special qualifications, training or experi…moreActually even in the 1990's when I was working in foster care as an RN, Social workers did not have to have special qualifications, training or experience or even a degree in social work. (less)

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Average rating 4.24  · 
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Sep 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Diane Chamberlain has been a favorite of mine for some time but I think it may have been this book that pushed her towards the top of my list. I just love the way she tells a story with her writing.

Before I read this, I had no real knowledge of the Eugenics Program. I vaguely remember reading a magazine article years ago but that was pretty much the extent of what I knew.

One definition of Eugenics:

"the study of or belief in the possibility of improving the qualities of the human species or a h
Jul 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
*5+ stars*

So good. This story held my heart.

Set in the final years of Jim Crow and based on a true story, Necessary Lies is a story that everyone needs to read.

A reminder of how far we've come and how much further we still need to go with regards to discrimination & prejudice; with Chamberlain providing stark illustrations of how humanity degrades those who- unwittingly- are born to a specific race or gender. Likewise, our disdain for those living with a mental or physical disability
Debbie "DJ"
May 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This novel exceeded my already high expectations, and is historical fiction at it's best. I'm always drawn to America's dirty little secrets, and here we have N. Carolina's eugenics program in the 1960's. Chamberlain does an excellent job focusing in on one specific family and the impact this program has on their lives.

The main character, Jane, follows her heart to become a social worker against her husbands wishes (and later demands) to be a housewife and baby maker. She soon learns that this j
Jun 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: book-clubs

I was lucky enough to be a teenager in the 70s, not the early 60s. So the availability of things like birth control wasn’t an issue. Reading the beginning of this book and being reminded how little rights women had over their own bodies just 50 years ago got me totally riled up.

But do all women have the right to have children? Or to keep those children? I’m not of the opinion that the answer is yes. The book works well when Jane is grappling with the slippery slope of whom to sterilize or when t
B the BookAddict
Dec 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Most readers
Recommended to B the BookAddict by: Sharon's review

What impresses me most about this novel is the writer's ability to not play the overly dramatic tone in what is a pretty dramatic story. While healthy outrage ensured that steam poured from my own ears, Diane Chamberlain's manner and tone remained grounded and matter of fact throughout. Chamberlain acknowledges that while the characters of this novel are fictional, they are, incredibly, based on real cases; cases which were the norm in 1960 North Carolina. Knowing this will send chills through y
Iris P
Nov 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Iris P by: Elyse Walters

What makes the difference for me between a 4 stars and a 5 stars book?
Connecting with a story with both my brain and my heart. Heartbreaking but ultimately uplifting story. Just a wonderful read.
PinkAmy loves books, cats and naps
Can I give NECESSARY LIES more than 5 stars? I recommend reading Diane Chamberlain's short story THE FIRST LIE as an introduction to the book, but it's not essential.
The year is 1960. The place, rural North Carolina. Jane is a 22 year old newlywed, beginning her first job as a social worker. One of her more intriguing cases is the Hart family. The ailing grandmother Nonnie, her seventeen-year-old intellectually disabled daughter Mary Ella mother to two-year-old Baby William, and fifteen-year-ol
Lindsay - Traveling Sisters Book Reviews
4.5 stars! This book pulled me right in - Diane Chamberlain is such a fantastic author! I loved the characters and was completely absorbed in the storyline from page 1.

Based on real life events, this is the first I have heard of the Eugenics Sterilization Program which sterilized over 7,000 citizens in North Carolina between 1929 and 1975. Reasons for sterilization ranged from "feeble mindedness" to epilepsy to promiscuity of individuals living on welfare (to avoid welfare having to pay once fu
Angela M
Sep 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cgca-2013-14
I don't know why it has taken me so long to discover the wonderfully talented writer, Diane Chamberlain . But I am thrilled I have been introduced to her writing by a Gooodreads friend , who gave this book a glowing review .
The story of two welfare families working so hard and doing what ever it takes to provide bare minimum food and shelter for themselves & their families is heartbreaking . But at the point in the story where we learn of the Eugenics Sterilization Program and the impact on thes
This is the story of Jane, Ivy and Mary of Grace County, North Carolina.

Sadly, it is also about the dire policies and consequences of eugenics on unsuspecting victims.

The Hart family, (consisting of grandmother Nonnie and her two granddaughters, the two sisters Mary Ella and Ivy), was, according to Margaret Sanger (a eugenics advocate) those good-for-nothing people who were fostered at the expense of good human beings. They were those genetic elements, who contributed to
Set in 1960's rural North Carolina, a shocking, but enlightening story surrounding the Eugenic's Sterilization Program, their unethical practices and the abuse of State authority. I was totally unfamiliar with the program thus surprised and disgusted with the procedures yet was totally enthralled by the author's presentation and well-developed characters.

Another page-turning winner for Diane Chamberlain!

Elyse  Walters
Aug 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
5++++ STARS!!!

This novel stands out among many others!
An important story! A clear vision of what it might have felt like to live in 'this country' during a time when people were called 'feebleminded', and morons....and unwanted sterilization was mandated. --Social workers had the power to petition for the sterilization of individuals.
My emotions were on fire page after page --I wanted to fight for the victims!

The Eugenics Sterilization Program was 'real' in our country. Most states stopped per
Mar 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
If you can believe it....I found this book on the Bargain rack of my local bookstore! I immediately recognized it as a book I had been wanting to read plus I just adore Diane Chamberlain's books.

This was a complete winner and fully fledged 5 star read! I was engrossed from the first page to the last. The story of two sisters living in poverty in rural North Carolina in 1960 and the social worker who comes to their aide. It's a heartbreaking and distressing story and I certainly shed some tears e
Oct 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoy Diane Chamberlain books. This is my third read by this author. I love her writing style and how she puts all the characters together in a beautifully told story. I like it when I can understand what an author is trying to portray. There was a couple of characters that I wasn't too happy with while reading but the end result is what I wanted to see happen. Great story and a highly recommended must read.
May 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Set amidst the tobacco fields in North Carolina in the 1960s, Necessary Lies is an engaging story that pits the passion of an inexperienced social worker against the rules and conventions of the Department of Public Welfare. It documents the hardscrabble life of the Harts and Jordans, two families whose children labor in the tobacco fields in exchange for a roof over their heads.

Necessary Lies may not be great literary fiction but it is grounded in historical fact about the Eugenics Program in
Carol Brill
Nov 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
For me, the strength in this book, even more than the story, is how well Diane Chamberlain captured the sense of place and time. The story opens and closes in 2011, but most of the story takes place in 1960. Diane Chamberlain chillingly captures the time when women must ask their husband's permission to have a job or take birth control--a time when Eugenics, the practice of sterilizing the "feeble-minded" aka known as poor, uneducated who couldn't score well on white-biased IQ testgs was far too ...more
Jun 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's hard to believe the happenings in this book took place in my lifetime. Granted it is a work of fiction but it is based on real-life happenings in the 1960s.

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
Diane S ☔
3.5 I am appalled that with the large amount of books I have read, I had never heard of this eugenic program before. A white family of sharecroppers on a tobacco farm in the south, and a newly married social worker are the two threads in this story.
The thread with the sharecroppers was my favorite, the parts with Jane sometimes came off a bit awkward. The book, nevertheless, hooked me from the very beginning. All the secrets kept and waiting to be revealed on this farm, Jane and her pediatric h
Jul 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own-read
Jane Forrester has recently just married her husband Robert, who is a pediatrician. Jane is desperate to have a career before starting a family of her own. Her husband doesn't approve of her working and doesn't understand why she feels the need to work.

Jane decides to take a job as a social worker and one of her first cases is the Hart family. Ivy is fifteen years old and lives with her ailing grandmother Nonnie, her elder sister Mary Ella and her baby William. Together they all live on a tobacc
Brenda - Traveling Sisters Book Reviews
My TBR shelf has grown since I have discovered Diane Chamberlain thanks to my sister.

I love to read books that open my mind, makes me ask myself questions and want to find out more. This is what Diane Chamberlain has done for me with Neccessary Lies.
Jun 23, 2013 rated it liked it
3.5 Stars

Necessary Lies was an engaging and compelling read by Diane chamberlain.

I love how the author took the tough subject of the Eugenics Sterilization Program and wove it into this Fiction story.

The Eugenics Sterilization Program took place between the years of 1929 and 1975 and saw over seven thousand of North Carolina's citizens sterilized. The program targeted the " mentally defective" "feebleminded" inmates in mental institutions and training schools and others whose sterilization was
Apr 01, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
2.5 star but I rounded up to be kind.

This book examines the eugenics program that was in effect in the 1960s in the South whereby people who were determined to be mentally, physically or morally deficient could be sterilized by the State, sometimes without them even knowing. This is a great premise for a book. Unfortunately the execution was lacking.

The story is told from 2 points of view:
Jane, a new social worker for Grace County who finds herself getting emotionally invested with some of he
May 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, family-drama
I won a copy of "Necessary Lies" by Diane Chamberlain through the Goodreads Giveaway Contest. This a beautifully written moving novel set in the rural South, in Raleigh in Grace County, tells the story of two young women, Jane and Ivy, both faced by tragedy and obstacles in their path.

After losing her parents, fifteen-year-old Ivy Hart is left to care for her aging diabetic grandmother, seventeen year old mentally ill sister, Mary Ella and nephew, baby William as tenants on a small tobacco farm
May 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I won this book from Goodreads. This was the first book I read by Diane Chamberlain, although I understand that she has written many books. I really enjoyed it and made my way through it very quickly. The genre of books I read are very diverse and this fit very nicely with my occasional taste for some of Jodi Picoult's better books or Kristin Hannah's more recent books. Although the story's backdrop was the practice of eugenics in North Carolina, what worked particularly well for me was the depi ...more
Dec 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Extremely well written, informative 5-star historical fiction.

I was so naive about the Eugenics Sterilization Program in the U.S., I had to Google it and found out some things even more shocking than what's revealed in this book. The Nazi's eugenics programs were largely based on what America was doing to the blacks, the feeble-minded, and the poor. Even after we saw how Hitler went far beyond what anyone could have imagined, the programs continued into the 60s and 70s. There were also euthanasi
Jun 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wow! Another great story from Diane Chamberlain! I found it started out a little slowly but very quickly the story drew me in and by the end of it, I couldn’t put this book down. For the last fifteen pages I had goosebumps and smiled through my tears. This is my third or fourth book by this author and she always tells a unique story with such detail that she brings the characters to life. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Maxine (Booklover Catlady)
A profoundly moving book. I've never read Diane Chamberlain before, I certainly will be reading more of her books. Every word in this book just flowed, it was lovely to read.

North Carolina, 1960 and Jane Forrester is a new social worker assigned to some clients who are suffering extreme poverty amongst the rural tobacco fields of Grace County. Jane is new to the job and has possibly too big a heart according to others.

The book shifts POV between Jane and a young fifteen year old girl, Ivy, who i
Judy D Collins
Top Books of 2013!

Set in rural Grace County, North Carolina in a time of state-mandated sterilizations and racial tension, International bestselling author, Diane Chamberlin delivers a powerful Southern Historical Fiction NECESSARY LIES. A story of two young women, seemingly worlds apart, but both haunted by tragedy. A Must Read!

I also purchased the audio, a year after reading the book. Alison Elliott delivered a moving and emotional performance, matching the intensity and tone of the time
Living in North Carolina (actually very close to where this fictional story is set) the topic that Chamberlain tackles in "Necessary Lies" is one that continues to be in the news, and is a black mark on the history of this state. Many states had Eugenics/Sterilization programs for mainly mentally ill and institutionalized patients, however most stopped these practices after the war, often due to the comparison with Hitlers Master Race ideas. Sadly, North Carolina not only continued the practice ...more
"Watching this mother and daughter who both seemed so content with their lives, I thought of how you could look at people and never know what had come before. What trials. What horrors. You couldn't see [her] impoverished roots, or how close she'd come to having no family at all. You couldn't see the loss . . . a loss that would haunt both of us forever. The wounds were deep . . ."

Yes, the wounds ARE deep!

This story - a story steeped in ghastly truths surrounding eugenics during the nineteen-
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Gering Book Junkies: Eugenics on NPR 1 11 Mar 28, 2017 11:09AM  
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Diane Chamberlain is the New York Times, USA Today and (London) Sunday Times best-selling author of 27 novels. The daughter of a school principal who supplied her with a new book almost daily, Diane quickly learned the emotional power of story. Although she wrote many small “books” as a child, she didn’t seriously turn to writing fiction until her early thirties when she was waiting for a delayed ...more

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