Necessary Sins

Lazare Family Saga, Book 1

Fiction - Historical - Event/Era
490 Pages
Reviewed on 10/29/2019
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Elizabeth Bell has been writing stories since the second grade. At the age of fourteen, she chose a pen name and vowed to become a published author. That same year, she began the Lazare Family Saga. It took her a couple decades to get it right. New generations kept demanding attention, and the saga became four epic historical novels.

After earning her MFA in Creative Writing at George Mason University, Elizabeth realized she would have to return her two hundred library books. Instead, she cleverly found a job in the university library. She works there to this day.

Elizabeth is an active member of the Historical Novel Society, and she loves chatting with fellow readers, writers, and history buffs. Visit her at

    Book Review

Reviewed by Heather Osborne for Readers' Favorite

Necessary Sins (Lazare Family Saga, Book 1) by Elizabeth Bell is an exceptionally well-researched historical fiction novel encompassing the early years and life of Joseph Lazare. Growing up in Charleston, young Joseph has always believed his complexion is from his Spanish grandmother. However, as a youth on the cusp of becoming a young adult, Joseph discovers he’s actually part African. In the times before the Civil War, this could be a very dangerous piece of information, if revealed. However, Joseph believes he has a higher calling—to God. With his blessing and the knowledge of Joseph’s true heritage, the local Bishop encourages Joseph to attend seminary school in Rome. Yet, when Joseph returns, he is blindsided by a young woman, Tessa. Joseph finds his faith and calling challenged in a way he never thought possible.

This is the first time I have read anything by this author, and it certainly won’t be the last. It has been a good while since I’ve found a historical novel I can really sink my teeth into. The research put into Necessary Sins by Elizabeth Bell is thorough, especially in regard to the Catholic church. I felt immersed in the setting, as well as swept up in Joseph’s emotional trials. I appreciated that the novel didn’t focus solely on religion, but more on how Joseph was tested as a character. It made for a very enjoyable read. I will definitely be looking out for the sequel, as I’m very excited to find out what happens to Joseph and Tessa.