Cover Image: Necessary Sins

Necessary Sins

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Member Reviews

Go on a historical journey with the Lazare family as their story moves from Haiti to Charleston.  The majority of the story takes place in Charleston during the 1800s, a time of history I do not know much about.   The rich detailed setting allowed me to picture the area and connect with the members of the Lazare family!  I look forward to continuing their family story!  As I listened to the audio copy, the narrator Dallin Bradford had a smooth cadence   Thank you to NetGalley and BooksGoSocial Audio for an advanced audio copy!  All thoughts and opinions are my own!
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Joseph Lazare grows up in Charleston believing his black hair and olive skin come from a Spanish grandmother and is shocked when he learns that his grandma was actually a Haitian slave.  Already considering becoming a priest, he lets his racial prejudice make the final decision for him, choosing the seminary.  However, when he meets Tessa Conley, a pious Irish immigrant who shares the same interests as him, Joseph finds his vows being put to the test.  Joseph has to stand by and watch as Tessa marries another man, who does not love her the way she deserves.  If Joseph and Tessa act on their feelings, their faith tells them they will go to hell.  Can they find happiness here on earth?

I loved this book so much that once I finished it, I ordered the entire series.  Elizabeth Bell did a great job researching the history in this book and wrote an absolutely beautiful story.  Dallin Bradford did an excellent job narrating the audiobook, and I would have happily listened to the entire series in audiobook form, except that the others aren’t out yet.  I highly recommend checking out this book, especially for historical fiction fans!

Many thanks to NetGalley for providing me an audio ARC of this book.
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Thank you to NetGalley and BooksGoSocial Audio for accepting my request to audibly read and review Necessary Sins.  My sincerest apologies to the publisher, author and everyone involved for not having this read by at minimum the archive date; my review will be honest.  

Author:  Elizabeth Bell
Narrator:  Dallin Bradford
Published:  05/12/22
Genre:  Historical Fiction -- Literary Fiction

Reading throughout my life was always a love, a hobby, a way of life.  Prior to my birth there was a Twilight Zone episode with Burgess Meredith made with the ending predicting my potential future. I still tear up, every time I see the crack in his lenses. 

Upon completion of Necessary Sins, my eyes were swollen and I decided I'm going to need therapy.  This may be the first saga that I've ever read.  When it became clear early on that I would have to pace and digest, time permitted me to resonate on my past.  This is a whole new experience for me.

I was thoroughly engaged from page one.  I went forward without looking back.  At the conclusion, I was emotionally drained, completely satisfied, and have no questions.  The story was well-written.  It flowed seamlessly.  I was impressed that the author didn't dumb down.  Every person/character in the book had a role and played it exceptionally well.  I wasn't eye-rolling and exacerbated with tropes.  

Joseph was real in my head. His struggles, pain, agony and naivety encompassed me.  My review doesn't do justice to the book.  Even now I'm choked up and wiping tears.  The historical aspects are not completely new to me.  However, Joseph was written so well and that is new to me.  His reactions were spot on in my head.  

The narrator was amazing.  

I would carefully gift this.  At 490 pages and 16 hours of audio it's not for everyone.  It is an amazing tale.
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Thank you to the publishers, author and NetGalley for the free copy of this audio book.

This was a bit of a beast to get through but definitely an interesting read. Very detailed and well thought out, with well developed characters. The narrator did a great job. I would be willing to read more in this series.
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Marguerite and Mateo fled to Haiti from France to elude the Duke she was forced to marry and for 20 years they were very very happy. When the Africans they kept enslaved had had enough they revolted and in doing so killed Marguerite‘s five children and her husband but right before her husband died he told her to save their grandson. Margarita didn’t know what he was talking about but when she went to her daughter‘s plantation looking for any sign of life she found the Creole girl and the baby and Marguerite new from the babies blue eyes this was her oldest son‘s little boy. So she steals the little boy after ridding her self of his creole mother she takes her grandson to the Carolinas to live with her husband uncle and raises him as a white boy but tells everyone his mother was a Spanish countess from the island of Espanol he would grow up to be a very kind and loving Dr. husband and father and his Son Joseph would grow up thanking he too was white the only way he could find out the truth is if he finds the church book from the year he was born and when he becomes a priest himself he’s one step closer to knowing the truth. I know this is an awful summary but I didn’t want to give anything away that I didn’t know when starting this epic journey of an audiobook. When I first received the book from NetGalley and the publisher I was excited but when I read that it was over 15 hours long it was a little daunting but OMG does time fly when listening to this book. If you love epic journey still love necessary send it is so good there’s so much I want to say about this book but… I don’t want to give anything away just know this is a great book if you love issues that deal with rice just be worn they are triggers such as Margaret’s feelings for Africans but this is so good I highly recommend this book if you love historical fiction written with drama and beauty you love this book. I received this book from NetGalley and the publisher but I am leaving this review voluntarily please forgive any mistakes as I dictate my review.
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I finished this audiobook this weekend and I cannot wait to start the next in this series!  

It was a long listen- over 16 hours- but I loved the history and realistic humanity that I got while listening.  It was a detailed and thorough book and honestly I sunk into it like a comfy bed and didn't want to get out!  The author wrote about several different places and historic events in a way that allowed me to visualize everything clearly. The narrator was fabulous and did the many various accents perfectly. He even sang in a few spots and it sounded authentic!

Necessary Sins is about a young boy who grows up in a unique family with secrets in the 1800's South.  Joseph Lazare is the grandson of a slave but noone knows except a few people who find out along the way.  His mother is deaf and his father is a doctor, both things also make Joseph an outsider.  He feels he has a calling to serve as a priest and dedicates his life from a young age to serving God.  He has a lot of misconceptions about sex and is pretty single-minded about women. Joseph is extremely committed to the priesthood and what he thinks will save souls.

The day before he is ordained, Joseph meets the woman who makes him feel all the things he believes he shouldn't.  Tessa is an Irish girl, very religious, sweet, kind and beautiful- and immediately fills his mind wherever he goes. Tessa is constantly near when her brother becomes engaged to Joseph's sister.  She is his greatest temptation and his true love.  Joseph struggles to resist her as the years pass and tries to maintain his religious devotion but are there some necessary sins?

In the author's note at the end, the author explains that this book was inspired by John Jake's North and South and also Colleen McCullough's The Thorn Birds.  I totally picked up on the inspirations after just a few chapters of listening.  I love sagas that you can become engrossed in- especially those- and Necessary Sins felt like it belonged alongside those two powerful titles.
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This is a spell-binding tale with well developed characters.  There are some tough subjects including murder, child molestation, and harm.  This was a tough read yet well written and page turning.  There is no chance of guessing what lies on the next page and the ending is a total shock.  Enjoy and only read this with the lights on!
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First I would like to point out that this review is based on only a portion of the book and not the full book itself due to personal reasons I was unable to finish this book. Please consider this when reading this review and do not hold it against the book or author this is solely an opinion based on my personal beliefs. I'm reading this one of three stars as I don't feel like it is appropriate to rate lower when I will not be reviewing character development scenery development or writing style.
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The Priest's Secret

This is a southern saga of the Lazare family which takes place in the 1800's in South Carolina. It is the story of a family secret that different members of the family deal with in a different way. The son Joseph Lazare hides behind the priesthood becoming a priest at age twenty three.

When he meets the beautiful Irish immigrant Tessa Conley he fights against his attraction to her as it is unholy with him being a priest. Then she marries a wealthy man and becomes only his possession. Joseph and Tessa both fight an attraction that could ruin both of them.

This story is rich in history and detailed in the dress and manners of the time period. I loved how descriptive the buildings are and the ways of the people how they thought, lived and loved. It was interesting how differently Joseph thought when he learned his families secret than what he thought before.

I loved how beautifully written were the passages for the masses and how descriptive of the catholic faith in this era.

I listened to the audio book and the narrator was nothing short of fantastic. He recited the masses in good order and with a beautiful voice. It was easy to listen to and very easy to understand.

This was a great story describing the people, the places and the historical aspects of this time period. I totally enjoyed listening to this audio book.

Thanks to Elizabeth Bell for writing a great story, to Dallin Bradford for the wonderful narration, to Books Go Social Audio for publishing it and to NetGalley for allowing me to listen to and review this story.
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This book is a masterpiece! I cannot believe this is a first time author. Even from the very beginning of Chapter One, it is clear that many hours ~ or years ~ of research has gone into this epic story. From the first, there's no "woke" covering up or cleaning up of history, which is great. Slavery happened and it is extremely well researched in this book. I loved that this author was not afraid to use historically accurate language of the era ~ something that many would avoid nowadays for fear of being "cancelled ". The story itself is epic! It covers every imaginable topic, romance, family loyalties, courage, sacrifice. The characters are well thought out and well developed. The descriptions are simply amazing, immediately immersing the reader into the pages.  The depth of this book is incredible and I simply cannot wait for the sequels. My thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the advance copy in exchange for my honest and unbiased review.
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The narrator did a great job bringing the characters to life. Discussing heavier topics like racism, religion, forbidden love, and a lot of moral dilemmas I am happy I chose to listen because it might have taken me little longer to read through. While the story followed mostly Joseph, his father was my favorite and I loved how the narrator portrayed him. I was interested in seeing how Joseph changed throughout as he battled with the decisions he made and how he saw his ancestry. I enjoyed the forbidden love aspect and it am interested to see where the next book takes this family. The author did a great job telling a story about a difficult time in history.
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Necessary Sins was a hard book for me to listen to. I started to end listening several times, but I managed to make it through to the end.
Joseph Lazare was a very hard character for me to get behind. He was so self righteous and judgmental even for a priest. His self importance was sickening.
It was obvious Elizabeth Bell had done a tremendous amount of research on the catholic faith and the rules of the church in the time period of the book.  I’m sure glad I did not have to abide by those rules.
I will admit that by the end of the story I was curious about the rest of the saga that is continued in three other volumes.
Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers of the audio edition for making this book available.
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As a reader you know when a book will be an Epic story and this book has the makings of an Epic series.  This book, the first installment in an ambitious four-book family saga and I look forward to the next installment!   The portrayal of the slave revolt in Saint Domingue (now Haiti) that opens the book is powerful stuff. There is no fluff in this book.  The research is done well.  The story then moves ahead in time to focus on a family in Charleston, founded by survivors of that revolt. A secret from the past—the slave ancestry of one survivor, René Lazare—threatens the status of him and his children, living as they are in a slave state in the first half of the 1800s. The focus gradually narrows to René’s son Joseph, whose deeply religious nature makes him pursue a vocation as a Catholic priest. He fears that he is unworthy, yet he hopes service to God is a way to atone for his “tainted blood” the the view of Joseph, a man of his own time. Unfortunately, Father Joseph’s devotion to God is threatened by his growing attraction to and deep emotional kinship with the beautiful Irish immigrant Tessa Conley. This internal conflict becomes the primary driving force of the second half of the book. Readers who loved The Thorn Birds should enjoy this aspect of the story.  This has threads of the Thorn Birds.  This is the first book of the family Lazare saga and is beautiful. The story is so compelling, so masterfully written and thoroughly documented that is a must read for the lovers of Historical Fiction.

Thanks to netgalley, the author and publisher for this epic book.
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