Friday, October 6, 2017

The Stolen Marriage by Diane Chamberlain

Hardcover, 384 pages
Expected publication: October 3rd 2017 by St. Martin's Press

From perennial bestseller Diane Chamberlain, a compelling new novel

In 1944, twenty-three-year-old Tess DeMello abruptly ends her engagement to the love of her life when she marries a mysterious stranger and moves to Hickory, North Carolina, a small town struggling with racial tension and the hardships imposed by World War II. Tess’s new husband, Henry Kraft, is a secretive man who often stays out all night, hides money from his new wife, and shows no interest in making love. Tess quickly realizes she’s trapped in a strange and loveless marriage with no way out.

The people of Hickory love and respect Henry and see Tess as an outsider, treating her with suspicion and disdain, especially after one of the town’s prominent citizens dies in a terrible accident and Tess is blamed. Tess suspects people are talking about her, plotting behind her back, and following her as she walks around town. What does everyone know about Henry that she does not? Feeling alone and adrift, Tess turns to the one person who seems to understand her, a local medium who gives her hope but seems to know more than he’s letting on.

When a sudden polio epidemic strikes the town, the townspeople band together to build a polio hospital. Tess, who has a nursing degree, bucks Henry’s wishes and begins to work at the hospital, finding meaning in nursing the young victims. Yet at home, Henry’s actions grow more alarming by the day. As Tess works to save the lives of her patients, can she untangle her husband’s mysterious behavior and save her own life?

My Thoughts…

Diane Chamberlain is amazing.   Her historical fictions novels take me back in time and pull me into the happenings of an era so long ago.   I love the WWII era and The Stolen Marriage is set in that time.    The research that she did to know about the polio hospitals, the rationing tickets, and the black/white relationships was so deep and perfect.   She took a history lesson, twisted into a book that was impossible to put down.   There is so much to be learned from her story yet it didn’t feel like I was learning, it felt like I was living it.    

The characters were wonderfully made.    They had real reactions to the world around them, they had feelings that were what everyday people would feel, and they had relationships that made sense in the time they lived in.     I liked that they were not predictable.   There were times that I felt like I knew where the story was heading and then it would head down a different path and I’d think oh, yea I like this direction.     Many times I was amazed at how developed the storyline and the characters were. 

Diane Chamberlain kept me on my toes, my mind always taking in the facts, and turning page after page.    I recommend picking up your own copy right away.

Thank you to William Rhino at St. Martin’s Press for a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. 

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