Monday, October 21, 2013

Necessary Lies by Diane Chamberlain

The best selling author of The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes has returned with another winner.
I could not put this book down and finished it in just a couple days despite hosting a family birthday party/dinner.  Necessary Lies is set in 1960s North Carolina.  Newly married Jane Forrester has just taken a job as Grace County's newest social worker, even though her pediatrician husband wants her to settle in the lifestyle of a typical suburban wife.  But golf dates and charity balls have no allure for Jane, especially as she gets drawn into the lives of her clients who reside on a nearby tobacco farm.

Perhaps it is that Mary Ella's rare beauty reminds Jane of her own deceased sister, or that the younger sister Ivy's spunkiness reminds Jane of her own independent streak.  As Jane learns more about the family and more about the county's social welfare department, she feels torn between accepted procedures and her own sense of right and wrong.  When pushed by the department to see that paperwork be completed so that 15 year old Ivy will be sterilized without the girl's knowledge, just as her older sister had been earlier, Jane feels she is in the midst of Nazi Germany, not 1960's America.

Extreme poverty, racial tensions, theories of social engineering, and human caring collide in this fast paced book.  With a simple flashback technique at the beginning of the book, readers will quickly get caught up in Ivy's desperate life on the tobacco farm, her desires to leave, and her need to trust the new social worker.

Check out Diane Chamberlain's website, Barnes and Noble, or perhaps Goodreads to see what others are saying about this book.  I can see many book clubs tackling this one.

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