Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Review: The Stolen Marriage by Diane Chamberlain

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?

Kindle Edition, 384 pages
Published October 3rd 2017 by St. Martin's Press 
Genre: Historical Fiction

Kristine's Thoughts:

** I received an advanced readers copy from St. Martin's Press via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!**

Diane Chamberlain is one of those authors who's books I always look forward to reading. I don't need to read the synopsis and I don't need to know what it is about ahead of time before picking it up. After reading every available title to date I just know that I am going to love it no matter what. Picking up a Diane Chamberlain novel is like wrapping myself in a warm blanket beside a nice fire on a cold winters day. It is the picture of comfort and satisfaction. I eagerly await and anticipate the release of each new novel.

The Stolen Marriage was about a young woman named Tess, who due to difficult circumstances, broke off her engagement to her life long sweetheart and moved away from everyone she knew and married a man she barely did. In her new life she had privilege but it came at a price and she had a difficult time navigating her new environment and understanding her new husband. Set in 1944 during a time of racial tensions and the polio epidemic, Tess struggled to come to terms and live with the decisions she made.

I have to start by saying that I love historical fiction and this story provided me with all of the things that I love most about the genre. It wasn't hard to tell that a lot of time and research went into making this story as historically accurate as possible. That is something that I have come to find you can always count on in a Diane Chamberlain book. I don't imagine that it is an easy task to wrap a fictional story and characters around real life facts and events but she made it seem effortless. The polio epidemic wasn't something that I knew a lot about but after the little bit that I learnt from reading this book I plan to research farther.

The characters and plot in this book were beautiful. I absolutely adored Tess. I almost felt like I was Tess as she was navigating her life. It was more than empathy. It felt like I was navigating the streets and people of Hickory as Tess. The writing and story were so engaging that it drew me back in time and I felt like I was a part of it. It was fascinating to read about a time when things were so different and you could be shamed for things that people wouldn't even blink an eye at now. I even had a love/hate relationship with Henry for reasons that I can't say and that you will have to read to find out. Every single aspect of this story kept me glued to the pages and because of that, I had it finished in no time.

There really are no words that can adequately describe how much I enjoyed this book. If you are a fan of Diane Chamberlain you will not be disappointed. If you haven't had the opportunity to pick up one of her books I strongly encourage you to. My only complaint is that I will have to wait for her next book.

I loved this book!

About the Author
Diane Chamberlain is the New York Times, USA Today and Sunday Times bestselling author of 25 novels published in more than twenty languages. Some of her most popular books include Necessary Lies, The Silent Sister, The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes, and The Keeper of the Light Trilogy. Diane likes to write complex stories about relationships between men and women, parents and children, brothers and sisters, and friends. Although the thematic focus of her books often revolves around family, love, compassion and forgiveness, her stories usually feature a combination of drama, mystery, secrets and intrigue. Diane’s background in psychology has given her a keen interest in understanding the way people tick, as well as the background necessary to create her realistic characters.

Diane was born and raised in Plainfield, New Jersey and spent her summers at the Jersey Shore. She also lived for many years in San Diego and northern Virginia before making North Carolina her home.

Diane received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in clinical social work from San Diego State University. Prior to her writing career, Diane worked in hospitals in San Diego and Washington, D.C. before opening a private psychotherapy practice in Alexandria Virginia specializing in adolescents. All the while Diane was writing on the side. Her first book, Private Relations was published in 1989 and it earned the RITA award for Best Single Title Contemporary Novel.

Diane lives with her partner, photographer John Pagliuca, and her sheltie, Cole. She has three stepdaughters, two sons-in-law, and four grandchildren. She’s currently at work on her next novel.

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