Set in North Carolina in 1960, Jane Forrester is newly married and fresh out of college. Despite her doctor husband’s reservations about his wife taking a job, Jane is determined to help others through social work. She is immediately hired as a case worker in rural Grace County, and just as quickly, she becomes overly involved in her client’s lives.
This was my first novel by Diane Chamberlain and I gather that the author does not usually delve into the realm of historical fiction. Lovers of history are pretty harsh when it comes to critiquing novels, but I think Chamberlain did an admirable job. The story was captivating and she was able to present the issues of racism, sterilization, and personal choice in a way that was truthful and yet could be shocking to her readers.
I think the main character could have been fleshed out a bit more. We are supposed to connect with her and admire her, and yet she really does have so many faults. For instance, I could not understand why she chose to marry her doctor husband. They did not agree on any major issues and because of this, Jane simply chooses to be dishonest. This knocks her down several pegs in my book – first for being stupid, and second for being dishonest.
Still, it was an enjoyable and enlightening read. Many thanks to St. Martin’s Press for sending me an advance review copy. Look for Necessary Lies to hit bookshelves on September 13, 2013.
3 1/2 stars (out of 5)
Published in 2013