Book Reviews

‘The best moments in reading are when you come across something - a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things - which you had thought special and particular to you. And now, here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out, and taken yours.’ Alan Bennett

“Many a book is like a key to unknown chambers within the castle of one’s own self.” ― Franz Kafka

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Necessary Lies - Diane Chamberlain




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 Jane is tasked with supporting through her social work, and Jane quickly finds herself caring deeply for them. When she discovers secrets about them and those around them, she is left with impossible decisions that will change all their lives forever.

Diane Chamberlain gets to the heart of human relationships in her writing; she paints an honest, bleak yet never hopeless portrait of the times and the people, incorporating terrible truths into her novel – Grace County may be fictional, but the enforced sterilizations, racism and distaste at a woman having a career are certainly not.

She delivers a heartbreaking storyline in short chapters alternating between the two distinctive, compelling first-person voices of Ivy and Jane, illustrating the clash between the two vastly differing worlds they inhabit; Ivy’s poverty versus Jane’s comfortable middle-class existence. Yet despite their different backgrounds, the two young women find similarities in one another and share the same hopes as they fight for what they think is right despite the strongly opposing views of others. An important and gripping story, told with honesty and sympathy.

Published by Pan Macmillan

Originally reviewed for We Love This Book online book magazine.

Thanks to them and the publisher for the chance to read and review a proof copy of this novel.  

9 comments:

  1. Hi Lindsay,

    Diane Chamberlain was one of the first authors my mother-in-law discovered on-line, when we gave her the gift of a Kindle for her 80th birthday. I am guessing that it was one of her earlier books, as it would have come from the Amazon 'offers' bulletin. Since then however, mother has gone on to purchase many more of Diane's books and she keeps urging me to try them. I shall have to let her know that Diane has a new book out and I shall definitely have to add her to my list of authors to try.

    Your review is concise and straight to the point and I love the phrase "An important and gripping story, told with honesty and sympathy." this sold it to me in one line, thanks.

    Yvonne

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks very much for your comment Yvonne. It's lovely to hear how your mother-in-law discovered this author and nice to hear her enjoying her Kindle too, what a thoughtful gift to give her. I do enjoy this authors novels - I haven't read them all though, and have mainly read the newer ones, but hope to get to the older ones too at some point. Thank you for your lovely words.

      Delete
  2. lovely review Lyns, I really like Diane Chamberlain books, will keep an eye out for this one!

    Lainy http://www.alwaysreading.net

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks very much for commenting, Lainy. Glad to hear you are a fan of her writing too.

      Delete
  3. Oh I really must catch up on my TBR copies by this author....and many more!! Great review as usual, Lins.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks very much for commenting, Treez. I really enjoy this author's novels, I haven't read all the ones I've got either, though. TBR still teetering...

      Delete
  4. Definitely one I'll be keeping a look out for. Thanks Lindsay.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks very much for commenting Tracy.

      Delete
  5. Great review, this book sounds interesting and will look out for it when I next go to WHSmiths :) http://storytellershannon.blogspot.co.uk/

    ReplyDelete

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit and leave a comment. It's great reading your comments and I really appreciate them :)