Newly graduated Jane Forrester, is eager to begin her career as a case worker for the Department of Welfare. It is the 1960’s and times are changing in North Carolina and Jane is eager to make a difference. Jane is assigned to an area in rural Grace County and her clientele are poor laborers who live and work on the local tobacco farms. It becomes obvious that Jane is too tender-hearted for this job and she quickly becomes emotionally involved with one of her clients, Ivy Hart. Fifteen-year-old Ivy cares for her declining grandmother, her mentally ill older sister and her infant nephew. As the Hart Family’s deeply held secrets begin to surface, Jane quickly finds herself pit against the government’s Eugenics Sterilization Program. Jane comes to the realization that the program, which mandates sterilization for anyone deemed by the government as unfit to bear children, is not only flawed, but now also threatens Ivy. Jane struggles with doing her job and doing what she feels is right. Her job demands that she follow through on her orders, yet if she does what is expected of her, Ivy’s life and lives of countless others like her will be forever damaged.
I can’t help but compare this story to that of Winter Garden, by Luanne Rice. Both books are teeming with compelling characters and though both are fictional stories, they deal with real events from history. Not only are these books enjoyable to read, they are also giving you a glimpse of what life was like during turbulent times in history.
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