Friday, 28 March 2014

Necessary Lies by Diane Chamberlain

The best intentions expose the darkest secrets...

I have only read one other Diane Chamberlain book, Confessions of a Midwife, which I whole-heartedly recommend. For any fans of Kate Morton. She is a great alternative if you need a change of pace.Necessary Lies popped up on my Kindle recommendations at a sub £3 price so I snapped it up. I have a rule which is that I cannot buy books on Kindle that are over £3. It saves me money as when I first got it I went a bit click crazy. So this was a real find!

I knew I would enjoy this book from the first chapter. Told from the points of view of Ivy (a fifteen year old, impoverished girl) and Jane (a 22 year old, newly wed, eager social worker). Both characters are unbelievable engaging so I did not mind the back and forth between each characters perspective.  The story was built up slowly and the theme is clear throughout. There are many lies being told in this story, so we know immediately and some we do not figure out until the end. The story follows the two characters as they become more involved in one another’s lives.

Ivy Hart is a young girl whose bares far too much responsibility on her very young shoulders. She has to ensure her ailing grandmother, Nonnie, takes her medicines and monitors her sugars. She must be mindful of her absent-minded beautiful sister Mary-Ella who has already slipped up and has a young son. Finally she must look after Baby William when Mary-Ella goes off on one of her wanders. All the while she works long hard days on the tobacco farm, maintains a forbidden love with her bosses son and suffers fits. She has a tough and hard life and makes the best of the situation she is. However, things are about to get much more complicated fast. Jane is a newly wed who has decided to work, even though her husband could not be more unhappy with her choice. She sees the difference she can make as a social worker and is plunged into an entirely different world. The case that tugs her heart strings is that of the Hart family. The lies that have been told to the family by their former social worker eat away at Jane and she must reveal the truth to Mary-Ella. Unbeknownst to her she was sterilised after the birth of her son and can no longer bare children. This Eugenics program sickens Jane and she feels she must do everything in her power, even if it is illegal, to save Ivy from the same fate. 

The two main female characters are written amazingly well. Their personalities and plight leap of the page commanding your undivided attention. I personally felt a real emotional connection to the two women and read at a mile a minute just to find out their fate. Sadly the Eugenics Program was real and although this is a fictional account of the affects of the program these situations could have occurred. Chamberlain added some historical information about the program at the end of the book and they are devastatingly sad. Many women were robbed of the chance to have children due to prejudice and abuse. This story however fictional needed to be told to raise more understanding of the atrocities caused by this program. 

I really do not want to give much away in this review but I will say I cried through the entire last chapter, it was written so heart-wrenchingly well that I just bawled from the moment I realised what was about to happen. A perfectly in tune ending to a very bitter-sweet story.

Beautifully written for fans of Picoult, Morton and the like. 

*This is not a young adult or teenage fiction book. 

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