Necessary Lies by Diane Chamberlain @D_Chamberlain @audible_com #AlisonElliott #AudiobookReview #HistoricalFiction

Another Historical read for me, and something that would have passed me by.

Why did I pick it up?  – If it hadn’t been recommended in a Facebook group I am in then I don’t think i would have (Thanks Cyndi)

This story was one that made me absolutely stunned, I had no idea that this was something that was practised, and also that it was STILL being practised up to the 1980’s!!

I was crazy mad listening to this book, how people can have been given this much authority over other human beings is just mind blowing.
If you are a Jodi Picoult fan then you will probably love this one too.

Anyhoo, back to my review!

My Thoughts

Set in the 60’s in Rural Grace County, Jane Forrester goes for an interview for a job as a social worker, much to the dismay of her fiance, he is unhappy in the fact that she is getting a job, let alone a job that might undermine his position as a doctor, and make him a laughing stock at the Golf Club, none of his friends wives work after all!

Jane wants to work, and feels that this would be an ideal position for her, that she may be able to do some good, she may even be able to help people less fortunate than her.

She gets the position and shadows another worker until an accident sets her on her own to carry on the job.

Ivy is one of her cases.

15 year old Ivy lives on a Tobacco farm with her family, her parents both died so she is now in the full time care of her grandmother, but her grandmother is ill, so it is Ivy that is doing the caring. Looking after her grandmother, her mentally ill sister and her sisters 2 year old son William is no mean feat, they rely on Welfare to get money for the family, they work on the Tobacco farm to pay for their lodgings.

Ivy has her own problems, she is epileptic, and because she is 15, she is “obviously” going to start sleeping around, I mean, look at Mary Ella her “feeble minded” sister, she had William after all!
They managed to fix that though, at least she won’t be bringing any more “retards” into this world!

Ivy is an ideal candidate for the program, it just needs to be signed off by the Social Worker, of course you don’t tell her what it is you are doing, just tell them that they look ill, Mary Ella had her “appendix” out, and look, she’s perfectly fine now!!

Jane cannot believe what is happening to these young girls, but what can she do, she’s already been reprimanded for something she did wrong, she may even lose her job.

This story is based on true events that happened, in the authors notes she does say that she didn’t want to focus on the actual deed, but to focus on the families and the aftermath, but some of the stories that she read about it were truly horrifying.

🎧🎧 – Brilliantly narrated by Alison Elliot, this story is one that will probably stay with you for a while!


About the book

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 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?


Have a great day!





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10 thoughts on “Necessary Lies by Diane Chamberlain @D_Chamberlain @audible_com #AlisonElliott #AudiobookReview #HistoricalFiction

    • I was absolutely stunned reading it, like, how did this even happen? How did they have so much authority to do that, it’s beyone belief!


  1. This is one of my favorite books by Diane Chamberlain, but it just made me sick reading it to know the state I’ve lived in since I was 18 and my granddaddy grew up in did such atrocious acts although I’m sure that TN wasn’t far behind with what they did either in those days! It was just unfathomable, especially knowing it was done until the 1980s! I do love how Chamberlain writes historical fiction that is eye-opening. Wonderful review, Berit, and I bet it was fantastic on audio!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh! I have to read this! I know it was happening in the 70’s in New Zealand in long term psychiatric facilities, but only with severely retarded patients who were not capable of understanding what they were doing or of giving consent for sex. Great review! 💕📚

    Liked by 1 person

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