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Necessary Lies Hardcover


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; First Edition edition (September 3, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1250010691
  • ISBN-13: 978-1250010698
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.4 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (282 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #11,404 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Employing accessible characters and compelling language, Chamberlain deeply mines the appalling, little-known history of North Carolina’s Eugenics Sterilization Program, in effect from 1929 to 1975. As worker-tenants on a tobacco farm in 1960, 15-year-old Ivy Hart lives with her faltering, temperamental grandmother, mentally slow yet breathtakingly beautiful 17-year-old sister, young nephew “Baby” William, and her own epilepsy. Jane Forrester, an idealistic social worker, whose status-conscious doctor-husband isn’t convinced his wife should hold a job, feels smothered by the social niceties of the early ’60s South and starts to question the boundaries and mutual respect in her own marriage. When Jane becomes Ivy’s family’s social worker, she encounters the state program that seeks to sterilize “mental defectives,” among others with supposedly undesirable characteristics. Through every choice she makes from then on, Jane triggers an inescapable series of events that thrusts everything either she or Ivy ever held to be true into a harsh light, binding them together in ways they do not immediately comprehend or appreciate. Absorbing and haunting, this should strongly touch Chamberlain’s fans and draw those who enjoy Jodi Picoult and Barbara Delinsky. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Chamberlain is the best-selling author of 21 novels, and her latest will have a 150,000-copy first printing and be supported by a major marketing campaign. --Julie Trevelyan

Review

“This enthralling novel transfixed me from the very first pages.” —Christina Schwarz, New York Times bestselling author of Drowning Ruth

"Necessary Lies shines!" —Lesley Kagen, New York Times bestselling author of Mare's Nest

“Expertly intertwines history and matters of the heart - love, loyalty and choosing what is right, no matter the consequences." —Heather Gudenkauf, New York Times bestselling author of The Weight of Silence & One Breath Away

“Diane Chamberlain’s Necessary Lies is the most important book she has ever written." —Dorothea Benton Frank, New York Times bestselling author of Porch Lights


More About the Author

I grew up in Plainfield, New Jersey where, at the age of twelve, I wrote several dreadful novellas, read and admired only by my family. When college rolled around, I forgot about writing and received my bachelor's and master's degrees in Social Work from San Diego State University. I was a hospital social worker in San Diego, and later in Washington DC. I also had a private psychotherapy practice working mainly with teenagers. All the while, I was writing on the side. I viewed my writing as a hobby, but it quickly became a passion. I finally decided to take a class in 'writing the novel.' I was very shy about showing my work to the instructor, but when I finally did, he loved it! He encouraged me to aim for publication and I decided to go for it. A few years later, my first novel, PRIVATE RELATIONS, was published.

Since then, I've written about a book a year- twenty-one at last count. I now live in North Carolina, the beautiful state where many of my books are set and where I'm ten minutes from my grandbabies. I share my life with my soulmate, John, who's a photographer as well as my muse, and with my two shelties, Keeper and Jet.

Are you wondering what my books are about? One of my readers in Japan had this to say about my work: "You make me believe life is beautiful even if it is full of pain and rage." Her words touch me deeply. They hang on the wall above my computer and help me remember exactly what it is I'm trying to achieve in my stories. I hope you'll enjoy them.

Customer Reviews

This book is a page turner...
Agnes Shapiro
This allows us, the readers, to really understand the feelings happening during the whole process.
Cheryl Stout
The characters in the book are very well developed.
Paula R March

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Laurel-Rain Snow "Rain" TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 4, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Almost from the very first page of Necessary Lies, I could feel the world of the 1960s in North Carolina swirling around me. Even though I'd never been there, I connected with the characters. As a retired social worker who has seen many of these kinds of families, and as a young person during the 60s, I felt very keenly the issues of those days.

Told in alternating first person perspectives, the story shifts between Ivy Hart, a teenaged girl living in a shack on a tobacco farm, and Jane Forrester, the newly married social worker who is passionately involved in this new job of hers, even though her physician husband is opposed to it.

Right away I could relate to each of them, and even though I'd never been in Ivy Hart's shoes, I had many clients who were just as disadvantaged.

The Eugenics Laws were new to my experience, however, even though I had read about these kinds of issues. Cringing as I read, I knew that the story was going to unfold in very dramatic ways. But the issues of mentally challenged individuals, sometimes institutionalized during the 1960s (and before), were practices I had seen firsthand. I will never forget how those experiences would change everything about how I viewed the world.

In this fictionalized tale, we see how one social worker's passion takes her outside the lines, risking everything to save one girl. How does Jane put everything on the line for Ivy? What happens to alter the course she had chosen? And what would be the final outcome years later?

A must-read for anyone who cares about social issues and justice for the disadvantaged, Chamberlain's story (and the preceding prequel called The First Lie) was one I could not put down. Five stars.
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful By David N. Parker VINE VOICE on July 23, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Recent Women's College of Greensboro graduate Jane Mackie wants to do something to help others less fortunate than her. When she brings that dedication to her new job as a caseworker for the Department of Public Welfare, she inadvertently finds herself a part of North Carolina's shameful Eugenics Project.

When Jane goes with her new supervisor to visit those who will be her new clients, she finds their lives infinitely different from her own. One of them includes fifteen year old Ivy Hart, her older sister Mary Ella, Mary Ella's 2 year old son, Baby William, and the girls' grandmother Nonnie. They live in a tiny shack on a tobacco farm. Nonnie and the girls work on the farm; the shack is their rental payment in addition to a meager wage.

Charlotte Werkman, Jane's supervisor, takes her on her rounds the first few days, introducing Jane to her clients and explaining - and demonstrating - the work she will be doing. She will visit the welfare recipients, determine if they are receiving enough subsidies to survive, and bring donated clothing as needed. Jane is warned NOT to get emotionally involved with her clients. She must also try to monitor the girl's behaviors - the Department wants to prevent girls from getting pregnant, so they will supply contraceptive jelly to those who are sexually active. Jane is also supposed to watch for signs of retardation or debilitating illness; she notes that Baby William is still not talking, and that Nonnie and the girls don't appear to be watching him well.

When Charlotte tells Jane that she is preparing an order for Ivy's sterilization, Jane also learns that Mary Ella was sterilized, with Nonnie's permission, immediately after Baby William's birth - and told that she had her appendix removed.
Read more ›
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Denise Crawford TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 11, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Jane Forrester, newly married and recently graduated from Woman's College in Greensboro with a degree in sociology, is hired on as a caseworker for the Department of Public Welfare in Raleigh, North Carolina circa 1960s. Idealistic and with a desire to help others, she is assigned to white and Negro ("colored") welfare families living in Grace County and laboring together on tobacco farms as hired workers. While working with one family in particular, the Harts, Jane comes face to face with the effects of the Eugenics Sterilization Program utilized in North Carolina to mandate population control for those considered unfit to bear and raise children. What transpires between Jane, the Hart family, and others on the Gardiner farm as she rebels against the concept of forced sterilization changes their lives forever.

The story was interesting but the behavior of Jane required immense suspension of disbelief. For some reason I was unable to connect with her character, and though I felt immense sympathy for the Harts and the others, I was left unsatisfied by the unrealistic Lifetime movie-like conclusion. I did not read the short story prequel, THE FIRST LIE, and don't feel the need to go back and do so as everything in the novel was tied up neatly. The most interesting part of the book was the Author's Note at the end. I think the premise was fascinating, but the execution was predictable and the characters all just too one-dimensional.

I have read all of Diane Chamberlain's previous novels. I prefer the ones that involve a mystery, and those that delve into relationships between family and friends -- more the lies, secrets, betrayals type. I would guess that her fans will want to read this, and that most all who like it will be women. The central topic, state mandated sterilization for certain welfare recipients, would make a good one for a book club discussion.

Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for the ARC ebook.
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