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Necessary Lies (Necessary Lies #1)

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4.22  ·  Rating Details  ·  25,098 Ratings  ·  3,117 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 Hartis 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 me
...more
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published September 3rd 2013 by St. Martin's Press (first published August 1st 2013)
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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…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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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Deanna
Nov 14, 2015 Deanna rated it it was amazing
I can't believe I didn't write a review for this book! I read it last year and updated it with a five star rating but left it at that.

It was such a good book! I happened to come across it today and now I can't stop thinking about it again.

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
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Debbie "DJ" Wilson
Apr 11, 2015 Debbie "DJ" Wilson 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
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Amy
Aug 28, 2013 Amy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reread
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
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Iris  Pereyra
Mar 18, 2016 Iris Pereyra rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Iris by: Elyse

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.
B the BookAddict
Mar 15, 2014 B the BookAddict 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
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Margitte
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 EUGENICS BACKGROUND
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
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Angela M
Sep 28, 2013 Angela M 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
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Carol
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!

Sharon
Jan 30, 2014 Sharon 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
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Carol Brill
Apr 29, 2016 Carol Brill 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
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
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Elyse
Oct 07, 2013 Elyse rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-read
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
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Dem
Dec 27, 2013 Dem 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
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☮Karen
Jul 25, 2015 ☮Karen 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
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Esil
Jul 02, 2013 Esil 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
Connie
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
Pamela
"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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Kathryn
This is my first Diane Chamberlain, and I don’t think it will be my last. The story was based around the eugenics program of North Carolina in the 1960’s - the state-mandated sterilisation of the “mentally defective”, the “feebleminded”, people in mental institutions, people with epilepsy. For people living in the community, a petition for sterilisation could be initiated by a social worker and could be done without consent of the person involved if a guardian consented. This occurred from 1929 ...more
Rose
One of the best novels I've read in 2013, hands down, and I'm kind of floored that I haven't heard all that much about the book apart from conversations locally (because I live in the state this is set within, even grew up and interacted in the cities it had taken place.) While this novel is historical fiction, the setting and terms of events in this novel as depicted is very real. I can't stress that enough to anyone who might pick up this novel to read.

To say I'm horrified at reading some of t
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Crystal Craig
Nov 17, 2015 Crystal Craig rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who enjoyed 'Whistling Past the Graveyard'
I love the character, Jane Forrester. She's so independent and passionate - determined to stand up for what she believes is right. All the characters were well-developed. I went with the audio version, and I had a hard time to stop from listening. I enjoyed the setting; 1960, rural North Carolina. It had that southern small town feeling. The story covers many difficult issues, topics that are sad to read. I find when I'm reading about how cruel humans being can often be, I need a happy outcome, ...more
Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews


"Ivy and Mary was here."

Those words are the beginning, the ending, and the basis of NECESSARY LIES. Those five words go full circle in this incredible, haunting book.

You will be transported to another world as you read NECESSARY LIES. A world of poverty and illiteracy as well as pity for the way the families had to live.

Jane, a physician's wife, was the new social worker dealing with the Hart and Jordan families. The families worked on a farm owned by Mr. Gardiner who had connections with both f
...more
Aoibhínn
Another wonderful gripping and engaging read from Diane Chamberlain with plenty of twists and turns throughout the novel. It was well-written and extremely thought provoking. I loved all the main characters and most of the supporting characters. All the characters were well developed, likable and really believable. I found the eugenic sterilisation programme to be quite shocking and disturbing and I can't believe that it was still being practiced in the USA until as recently as 1974. The only ba ...more
Kristie
Jul 05, 2015 Kristie rated it it was amazing
This was an interesting historical fiction novel that has it's roots in a too true sterilization program. Set in Grace County in North Carolina in the 1960s, this is the story of Jane Forrester, a new social worker for the welfare department and a few of her clients, most specifically Ivy Hart.

Jane has recently gotten married, but wants to put off having children until after she has worked for a while. She feels that it is important to help people and chooses to do so as a welfare social worker
...more
Molly
Nov 25, 2013 Molly rated it liked it
While this book had some strong moments, its strengths were often outweighed by its weaknesses. Characters were either one-dimensional, stock characters (this is not to say that they were unlikeable or unnecessary to the story, they were just lacking in depth and originality), or so contradictory as to make it impossible to believe them.

I had a particular problem with one protagonist, Jane. While I suppose it was the author's intention to illustrate the conflict a 1960s woman might have felt be
...more
Judy Collins
A special thank you to St. Martin's Press and the author for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Top Books of 2013!

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. 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
...more
Carole
I'm a huge Diane Chamberlain fan! I love all of her books, but I think this is her best yet! I could easily relate to the character, Jane in the book. She's a social worker who truly cares about her clients, so much that it costs her deeply. I will long remember this book, & think about the story. It's one of those books you don't want to end, because you like the characters so much. Put this book on the TOP of your TBR list!!
Lynne
Nov 07, 2015 Lynne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A powerfully, moving story with a lot of love, kindness and caring juxtaposed with hatred and bigotry. Women's rights and human rights are explored as part of this incredibly well written story.
Lindsay (Little Reader Library)
Necessary Lies has a period setting in Grace County, rural North Carolina, USA in 1960. Newly married Jane Forrester controversially embarks on a career as a social worker, whilst most of her contemporaries are stay-at-home wives and mothers. Ivy Hart is a fifteen-year-old girl living and working in harsh, destitute conditions on a small tobacco farm, caring for her aging grandmother and older sister who has a small child; on top of this Ivy copes with epilepsy. Ivy’s family is one of those that ...more
Phrynne
Jun 03, 2014 Phrynne rated it really liked it
My main reaction to this book was amazement that such awful things could still have been happening within my own life time. I was aware of the Nazi eugenic program during World War Two but not that such a thing was carried on in America right up to the early seventies. Incredible. I did enjoy the book very much. The main characters of Jane and Ivy were both very well written and I found myself cheering them on and praying for happy endings for them both. I liked the way we saw the story from sev ...more
Lela
Apr 16, 2014 Lela rated it really liked it
4.5 Really good book. Liked it a whole lot. Can't believe the story behind the book! Well, yes, I can. It just infuriates me!
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Diane Chamberlain is the USA Today and Sunday Times bestselling author of 24 novels published in more than twenty languages. Some of her most popular books include Necessary Lies, The Silent Sister, The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes, and The Keeper of the Light Trilogy. Diane likes to write complex stories about relationships between men and women, parents and children, brothers and sisters, and fr ...more
More about Diane Chamberlain...

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“Sometimes coloring outside the lines can cost you. Only you can figure out if it’s worth it.” 12 likes
“All the love in the world doesn't put food on the table.” 5 likes
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