The Stolen Marriage: A Novel by Diane Chamberlain

The Stolen Marriage: A Novel

14 hours, 13 minutesIn 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...

Title:The Stolen Marriage: A Novel
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The Stolen Marriage: A Novel Reviews

  • Deanna

    My reviews can also be seen at:

    Diane Chamberlain is one of my favorite authors. So I was very excited to read “The Stolen Marriage”. I’m usually not a big fan of historical fiction novels but I always find that I am pulled in by whatever subject matter Ms. Chamberlain is writing about, and this time was no different.

    The book opens in Baltimore, Maryland in August 1943. Tess DeMello is celebrating her twenty-third birthday and her fiancé, Vincent’s complet

    My reviews can also be seen at:

    Diane Chamberlain is one of my favorite authors. So I was very excited to read “The Stolen Marriage”. I’m usually not a big fan of historical fiction novels but I always find that I am pulled in by whatever subject matter Ms. Chamberlain is writing about, and this time was no different.

    The book opens in Baltimore, Maryland in August 1943. Tess DeMello is celebrating her twenty-third birthday and her fiancé, Vincent’s completion of his hospital residency. Tess has loved Vincent for as long as she can remember. Now that he’s a full-fledged doctor and Tess will be graduating from nursing school, they are looking forward to working side by side. She has it all planned. Where they will live, how many children they will have…everything. After being engaged for the last year she will finally be his bride in May 1944.

    But in a shockingly turn of events, Tess ends her engagement to Vincent and marries a man she knows nothing about. She relocates to live with her new husband, Henry in Hickory, North Carolina. Hickory is NOTHING like Little Italy. Her new husband runs a fine furniture factory that’s been in his family for years. Everyone judges Tess thinking she married Henry for his money. They don’t trust her and many seem to outright despise her.

    Now Tess is unhappy and trapped in a loveless marriage to a man who has many

    . Although Henry can be very kind, he’s often moody. He’s usually late coming home and sometimes doesn’t come home at all – offering lame excuses for his absence. While their house is being built they must live with Henry’s mother and sister who barely tolerate Tess. People tell her that there are so many things she doesn’t know but won’t tell her what those things are.

    Tess is hit with one thing after another as things go from bad to worse, and it doesn’t look like things are going to get much better.

    But when a polio outbreak hits Hickory, Tess is determined to do all she can to help. Will Tess ever find happiness and acceptance in Hickory? And will she ever find the love she so desperately wants and deserves?

    After a promising start, there was a lot going on and at first it wasn’t pulling me in. However, I needn’t have worried as it wasn’t long before I was gripped by the story and excited to find out what was going to happen next. As usual, the author has created many wonderful characters. Some characters I absolutely loved and others that made me furious. I was annoyed with Tess at first and at times I wanted to shout at her to stand up for herself. But I also admired her ability to hold her head up high.

    Diane Chamberlain writes fiction books but the stories are often written around real events in history such as the war, polio, racism etc. This novel was no different. I always learn new things when reading her novels, and often end up doing more of my own research to find out more. I found it interesting reading about a time that my mother lived in. In many ways it made me realize how fortunate I am, and how much I take for granted.

    A fantastic story about secrets, love, racism, betrayal, forgiveness and so much more. I can’t wait to read more from Diane Chamberlain.

    Thank you to Netgalley and St. Martin's Press for providing an advanced readers copy of this book for me to read in exchange for my honest review.

    * I had a lot of fun reading and discussing this novel with some of the ladies from The Traveling Sisters group.

  • Julie

    The Stolen Marriage by Diane Chamberlain is a 2017 St. Martin’s Press publication.

    Powerful and emotive-

    The story is set in the 1940’s, and is centered around Tess DeMello, who lives in Little Italy, is engaged to Vincent, the love of her life, and hoping to become a nurse. But, when her fiancé leaves town for a while, Tess makes a mistake that effectively derailed all her plans, sending her life into a tailspin.

    Trapped, and all alone after her break up with Vincent, Tess travels to Hickory, N

    The Stolen Marriage by Diane Chamberlain is a 2017 St. Martin’s Press publication.

    Powerful and emotive-

    The story is set in the 1940’s, and is centered around Tess DeMello, who lives in Little Italy, is engaged to Vincent, the love of her life, and hoping to become a nurse. But, when her fiancé leaves town for a while, Tess makes a mistake that effectively derailed all her plans, sending her life into a tailspin.

    Trapped, and all alone after her break up with Vincent, Tess travels to Hickory, North Carolina and agrees to marry Henry Kraft, a man she barely knows.

    Not only is living in Hickory a culture shock, but the residents are not exactly welcoming, and neither is her new mother-in-law. But, the most puzzling thing of all, is Henry’s behavior towards her once they are married.

    Henry is an enigma, harboring deeply buried secrets he refuses to share with his wife. Miserable and looking for a way out of her bleak situation, Tess sees a lifeline when the town of Hickory builds a new hospital in the wake of a polio outbreak.

    Although Henry is adamantly opposed to his wife working outside the home, Tess puts her foot down, and goes back to school so she can work as a nurse.

    Yet, Henry’s dual life remains a mystery, until a startling revelation once more changes the course of Tess’s life.

    I must confess, this story had me worried there for a while. I love historical fiction, southern fiction, and I am a huge fan of this author. When the stellar reviews started to trickle in, I became more and more excited about reading this book.

    But, I found myself struggling with a few issues here and there and was afraid I may have raised my expectations a little too high.

    However, after I finished the book and let everything sink in, I understood why this book has had such a profound effect on so many readers.

    The war backdrop, the polio outbreak, and the racial issues are a potent combination. I must comment on a few of the problems I had with the story, though. I’m slightly confused by the timeline concerning Henry and Tess’s first meeting. Was Henry already deeply involved in the situation that prompted him to seize upon the opportunity Tess’s predicament afforded him? If so, the behavior of both Tess and Henry, alcohol fueled or not, didn't seem in line with their characters and I wasn't totally convinced by their impulsiveness.

    However, I did understand the author’s intent and she did a magnificent job of getting that point across. It is heartbreaking and unimaginable that someone would have to resort to such desperate measures just to be with the people they loved.

    While I did have to suspend belief a little in respect to the clever planning, or sheer opportunitistic and quick thinking, that resulted in the freedom everyone so urgently needed, overall, I was happy with the way things worked out.

    Despite the serious work yet to be done, it is great to be reminded of the medical progress we’ve made, the results of which we almost take for granted now, and the roads paved by women like our brave and resilient protagonist, who fought for the opportunity to work outside the home, and to diversify the career choices women enjoy today.

    It is also good to be reminded of those awful racial laws, that have since been abolished, because I feel it is important to look at how far we've come, but we should also avoid complacency, and of course, as I said, there is still MUCH work we have yet to accomplish. I am often depressed by the threat of losing all this progress. Once won, we should not have to continue to fight these same battles over and over and over. But, alas, it seems we must and there are still many battles we haven't even fought, much less won.

    But… this novel also proves that the fight is worth the risk and sacrifice, that we can do better and things can change.

    So, after some consideration, I found this book to be just the right inspiration at just the right time for me. Diane Chamberlain is a great storyteller and once more I have come away with more appreciation for her talent.

    4 stars

  • Elyse

    5+++++ STARS!!!!!

    This is the second time I've rated one of Diane Chamberlain's books

    'more' than 5 stars!!!

    I thought "Necessary Lies", was phenomenal!! I STILL DO!!!

    Yet, "The Stolen Marriage" is absolutely my TOP FAVORITE. Diane Chamberlain

    got everything right!!! This is fiction - and historical fiction - and storytelling --- at its BEST!!!

    A DARN GOOD READ!!! Curl up and get comfy, because once you start reading--you'll get transported to another life - another time - with other people who

    5+++++ STARS!!!!!

    This is the second time I've rated one of Diane Chamberlain's books

    'more' than 5 stars!!!

    I thought "Necessary Lies", was phenomenal!! I STILL DO!!!

    Yet, "The Stolen Marriage" is absolutely my TOP FAVORITE. Diane Chamberlain

    got everything right!!! This is fiction - and historical fiction - and storytelling --- at its BEST!!!

    A DARN GOOD READ!!! Curl up and get comfy, because once you start reading--you'll get transported to another life - another time - with other people who will feel like your friends.

    "The Stolen Marriage", stole my heart --- connected my brain ---and my entire being is doing the happy dance!! Other than I'm sad the book ended. :(

    I'm grateful when a book is as fulfilling as this one is. Sincerely grateful!!! :)

    The story begins in 1943. Tess DeMello and Vincent Russo grew up living next door to each other in Little Italy, Baltimore, Maryland. Vincent has recently become a new medical doctor and Tess is finishing up nursing school. After graduation she will need to take the licensing exam, and then she will be a certified nurse. -- a few challenges about 'taking' the exam felt like nails on a chalkboard to me for awhile. I wanted to hit 'somebody' in the noggin.

    Tess and Vincent love each other - their families love each other - they are engaged and making wedding plans. Since they have been young teens, it has been their dream to work together in the medical field: doctor and nurse. As for those dreams.... well...READ THE BOOK....

    Vincent- is a new doctor without an official job yet- so he takes an opportunity to go to Chicago for a couple of weeks to volunteer with the polio epidemic. Great experience- right? Plus, he had a cousin who had polio years ago - so feels a draw to help with the epidemic. He needs to leave Tess for two weeks. He'll be back plenty in time to continue with wedding plans. Two weeks stretches into three weeks. Three weeks into four weeks, and longer. Tess misses him, and feels a little angry.

    Tess's best girlfriend is Gina Farinola. Her boyfriend, Mac, is overseas with the army. The war is going on throughout Europe. So, Gina says to Tess, "lets go to Washington for the weekend". (enough of being bummed out girls - missing their guys -Gina talked Tess into having some fun).

    One weekend-ONE NIGHT - in Washington-- changes the course-direction of life for Tess and Vincent and an entire community of people in Hickory, North Carolina forever!!!

    Just keep reading, (you won't be able to stop anyway, we are in trusted hands reading Diane's story!!

    Diane Chamberlain created wondrous characters!!!!!

    .....Tess DeMello, an Italian girl, has distinctive qualities... not only physically with exotic thick black hair, and exotic big brown eyes...but her values, life priorities, and moral integrity sets her apart from others.

    .....When Tess marries Hank Kraft of "Kraft Fine Furniture", a pillar of the community in Hickory, North Carolina.... it's clear plenty of girls wanted to get their hands on him.

    .....Hank is a mysterious man. A little chauvinistic - controlling - protective -clearly giving but distant (removed) -- he's one heck of a puzzling guy!

    To show just 'how' distant Hank is with Tess....

    ......This is Hank, ( or Henry), and Tess's wedding night ( the blue satin negligee that Gina bought her was useless)......haha:

    Hank says: "I like to read in bed, do you?"

    "Yes, I said. I've read in bed since I was old enough to turn the pages".

    "Do you have a book with you?", he asked

    "I nodded".

    "Why don't you get it?"

    "I hesitated. This was hardly what I expected on my wedding night, but I got out of bed and walked barefoot over to my suitcase. I reached for my Agatha Christie novel I'd been attempting to read over the last nerve-racking days. I returned to bed, propped my pillow behind me, and two of us read for the next 20 or 30 minutes. Or at least Henry read. I stared at the Pages but couldn't concentrate. I wanted to get this night over with."

    "Ready for lights out?" Henry finally asked.

    "Yes," I said, setting my book on the night table and switching off the lamp.

    "Good night", he said".

    Perfect wedding night? Ha!

    Chamberlain has a wonderful ability to understand her characters deeply ---( soon we will catch up with her). She captures the nuances beautifully, so that even the minor characters are memorable and distinctive. Plus, her writing is natural, insightful, and affecting...with a little mystery...(secrets included).

    We 'feel', we wonder, we examine, and empathize with the characters. We get an authentic experience of the living conditions of the times in the mid 40's --the religious issues - racial issues - the expected roles of men and women--

    laws of the days, ignorant thinking, and the tribulations inflicted by the war.

    I learned a few things about the polio epidemic - and treatments - that I didn't know until reading this book. For example...I had never heard of the "Sister Kenny Method". It was a fascinating way of treatment of infantile paralysis. Patients would be wrapped in wool --very time-consuming-- and then exercise them several times a day.

    You could feel how exhausting it was for the nurses....and we longed to reach out to the children ourselves.

    I LOVE THIS STORY!!!!!! It took me on a journey so thoroughly engrossing--- that there were times I wished all my friends were reading with me. It's so natural to want to share something that you really love.

    Great great great!!!!!

    HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

    Thank You Netgalley, St. Martin's Publishing, and Diane Chamberlain!!!!!!!!!

  • Angela M

    I loved Necessary Lies, the first book by Diane Chamberlain that I read. I have mixed feelings about this one even though she reflects on some important issues of the time she writes about. A view of the polio epidemic in the 1940’s was definitely informative. The historical significance and sadness over forbidden inter racial relationships that were not only unacceptable but unlawful in the South in the 1940’s is depicted. The problem was that I just wasn’t captivated by the story until I was o

    I loved Necessary Lies, the first book by Diane Chamberlain that I read. I have mixed feelings about this one even though she reflects on some important issues of the time she writes about. A view of the polio epidemic in the 1940’s was definitely informative. The historical significance and sadness over forbidden inter racial relationships that were not only unacceptable but unlawful in the South in the 1940’s is depicted. The problem was that I just wasn’t captivated by the story until I was over half way done .

    Tess DeMello seems to be living a wonderful life even though the story takes place in the war years. She happily engaged, finishing nursing school, but through a turn of events, she leaves Baltimore and ends up in Hickory, NC in a marriage that never should have happened in the first place. She's trapped in a loveless marriage and is seen by her husband's well to do family as an outsider who has spoiled their lives. Secrets abound about her husband Henry who at first doesn't come across as a good man. She’s miserable until The Hickory Emergency Infantile Paralysis Hospital came to be by hard work of good people in Hickory, which Chamberlain tells us in an ending note was a real place. It wasn’t until then that Tess's character comes to life, as the nurse she was trained to be and the capable, caring person that she is and it wasn't until then that the book came alive for me . The secrets, though not revealed until close to the end were somewhat predictable and the ending a little too pat. As mentioned earlier, there are some positive things about the story so I'll go with 3 stars. It's a pretty quick read and fans of Chamberlain will have to decide for themselves as there are more positive reviews to read .

    I received an advanced copy of this book from St. Martin's Press through NetGalley.

  • Christine

    4.5 stars (rounded to 5 stars)

    This is my third Diane Chamberlain novel, and I have to say she writes fiction as well as anyone I’ve read. I could easily get in a rut and read several Chamberlain stories in a row. It’s been about a year since I read my last one; it won’t take nearly that long for me to read my next.

    The story is set in the mid 1940s, first in Baltimore, then in the town of Hickory, North Carolina. Tess DeMello had a good thing going. She had a wonderful fiancé, a budding career, a

    4.5 stars (rounded to 5 stars)

    This is my third Diane Chamberlain novel, and I have to say she writes fiction as well as anyone I’ve read. I could easily get in a rut and read several Chamberlain stories in a row. It’s been about a year since I read my last one; it won’t take nearly that long for me to read my next.

    The story is set in the mid 1940s, first in Baltimore, then in the town of Hickory, North Carolina. Tess DeMello had a good thing going. She had a wonderful fiancé, a budding career, a loving mother, her church, and a hometown she loved. Then she made a mistake that would change things forever. Stolen Marriage is a compelling story about regrets, deception, heartache, strength, and redemption. It is also a powerful tale of prejudice, privilege of the rich, forbidden love, fierce loyalty, and the pulling together of a community to save many lives.

    Stolen Marriage is written in first person from Tess’s perspective. Ms. Chamberlain does a stellar job in developing Tess and letting us in on the roller coaster ride of her thoughts and emotions. For many reasons Tess is not welcome in Hickory. I admired the way she didn’t wallow in the circumstances of her own making, but forged on, doing everything she could to make the best of a bad situation. The tale is full of intriguing characters. Tess’s new husband, Henry Kraft is a well-respected businessman, but his actions are curious and his motives are not clear. Henry’s mother Ruth and his sister Lucy have their own agendas, and they do not include having Tess as a member of the family. We also are introduced to Reverend Sam and a bit of paranormal imagery. Then there is sweet Hattie and Honor, Zeke and little Jilly amongst an array of other townspeople.

    Playing a large part in the story is the hospital for polio victims set up in Hickory in an astounding 54 hours when the emergent need arose. Much of this section is based on fact and is clearly well researched. Learning about the way the epidemic was handled back then was fascinating. It was a nice change to read and learn about a crisis other than the war from that time period.

    The plot turns in the story were well done. I thought I had things figured out on several occasions, but the twists kept coming. The ending was very satisfying, and I appreciated the epilogue, which takes place ten years later.

    I found Stolen Marriage to be very inspiring. This gets a lot of points in my book. The only thing keeping it from a full 5 stars is that I wish Vincent had been more fleshed out. I didn’t feel I knew enough about him and his history with Tess to fully feel their relationship.

    Overall, Stolen Marriage was a captivating read. Kudos to Ms. Chamberlain for being able to write such a quality book so far into her career (and without a co-author, lol). This novel is highly recommended for everyone. I look forward to reading many more of Ms. Chamberlain’s novels.

    Many thanks to St. Martin’s Press for inviting me to read an ARC through Net Galley. Opinions expressed are mine alone and are not biased in any way.

  • Carol
  • Paromjit

    This is wonderful and compelling historical fiction by Diane Chamberlain set in the 1940s. Tess and Vincent have grown up in the same neighbourhood of Baltimore, Maryland. They are engaged, madly in love and their families are over the moon. Vincent has just qualified as a medical doctor, and Tess is in the process of becoming a registered nurse. A medical emergency in Chicago has Vincent volunteering his help, promising Tess that he will return soon. He stays away longer than expected, making T

    This is wonderful and compelling historical fiction by Diane Chamberlain set in the 1940s. Tess and Vincent have grown up in the same neighbourhood of Baltimore, Maryland. They are engaged, madly in love and their families are over the moon. Vincent has just qualified as a medical doctor, and Tess is in the process of becoming a registered nurse. A medical emergency in Chicago has Vincent volunteering his help, promising Tess that he will return soon. He stays away longer than expected, making Tess jittery, insecure and nervous. To distract herself, she joins her best friend Gina on a weekend away at Washington that results in tragic repercussions. On a dinner with two men, Tess gets drunk, and actions which have her getting pregnant. Tess ends her engagement with Vincent, and is surprised when well to do, furniture man, Hank Kraft, wants to marry her. Tess moves to small town Hickory, in North Carolina, a place suffering from the privations of World War 2 and simmering racial tensions.

    It soon becomes apparent that Hank and Tess's marriage is in trouble, given their wedding night where Hank shows no desire for Tess, despite having made her pregnant. Trapped in a loveless marriage, and a husband with secrets, Tess has to find deep reserves to adapt to her present set of circumstances. Hickory does not welcome her, Hank's mother and sister are resentful and suspicious of her motives, and apparently another woman was meant to have married Hank, according to local women, she has stolen their marriage. Tess finds company in the domestic help, but her life feels empty and unfulfilled. When a hospital is set up for polio victims, Tess wants to do her bit. She finds her mettle as she faces down opposition to her working from Hank and his mother. Tess finds her calling as a nurse, but where is her life going to lead? What are Hank's secrets? This is a story of its time, where the past haunts the present as the truth emerges.

    Diane has done impressive research of the period, capturing the culture and true life events of the time. Her details of the time, such as the illegality of marriage between the races, her deployment of a wide array of characters and her beautiful writing style gives us an atmospheric and compelling narrative located in the 1940s, with numerous twists and turns. The character of Tess captures the situations, attitudes to and expectations of women in this period of time. I really liked Tess and a number of other characters, such as Reverend Sam and the way he communes with the dead. This is a story of love, loss, race, marriage, tragedy and redemption. A wonderful piece of historical fiction that I thoroughly enjoyed reading. Just brilliant! Many thanks to PanMacmillan for an ARC.

  • Mary Beth

    Blurb

    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 re

    Blurb

    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?

    I really loved this book and I am starting to love this genre more and more. This is actually a historical fiction book that is based on true events. You can really tell that the author did lots and lots of research on this book. The people in Hickory actually did built and staffed a polio hospital in fifty-four hours, which is just amazing. The hospital evaluated six hundred and sixty-three patients over it's nine months in existence. The author does a great job writing about the town of Hickory and it's Polio Hospital. The patients and their situations described in this book are purely products of her imagination. I loved the story. I thought also that the characters were so well done and that the author makes them come to life. I loved Tess! Tess begins her story with a crisis and self doubt and grows stronger. The author also writes about life in the war in Hickory. She goes back to the year of 1944. I thought she did another great job writing about the year of 1944. I actually felt like I time traveled back in time to this year. I felt like I was there. You could really tell that the author educated herself on North Carolina laws regarding marriage in the forties. Interracial marriages were prohibited and punishable by up to ten years in prison and getting out of a marriage was close to impossible, as Tess discovers in this book. I am so happy that has changed today. That would be just awful. I summarized the author's note at the end of the book and also wrote my thoughts of this book.

    I love the book cover of this book. Diane Chamberlain is a new author to me and I will be reading more of her books. I thought this was such a great story, and I was very impressed. I love to read a fiction book based on a true event. It's the enjoying the story while actually learning about the town, the polio hospital and what it was like in the year of 1944. I now want to experience all of her books. I highly recommend this book.

    I want to thank Netgalley, the publisher, St. Martin's Press and Diane Chamberlain for the copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  • Linda

    "You are in way over your head," she said.

    Pass the sweet tea and sit near the magnolias. That is an understatement.

    Tess DeMello flipped the switch on a life she never bargained for. A promising future seems to dim by the minute as a shocking reality grabs her by the hand and won't let go. Too much alcohol, a tall pleasant looking stranger, and a darkened room line up as the very nails sealing her fate. It's 1943 in the Little Italy neighborhood in Baltimore. What follows is a broken engagement t

    "You are in way over your head," she said.

    Pass the sweet tea and sit near the magnolias. That is an understatement.

    Tess DeMello flipped the switch on a life she never bargained for. A promising future seems to dim by the minute as a shocking reality grabs her by the hand and won't let go. Too much alcohol, a tall pleasant looking stranger, and a darkened room line up as the very nails sealing her fate. It's 1943 in the Little Italy neighborhood in Baltimore. What follows is a broken engagement to the love of her life and a broken-hearted mother who refuses to forgive. Being in a "family way" will do that.

    So Tess boards a train to Hickory, North Carolina in search of the father of her baby. Her initial intention is to make a financial agreement with Henry so that she can raise the baby on her own. Somehow marriage becomes part of the transaction. Those train tracks have led Tess into a horrendous quagmire of circumstances. Breaking free is atune to a hippo crossing daintily over a wide patch of heavy quicksand. Not a chance, sweetie.

    A hidden pregnancy, a loveless marriage, and a mother-in-law and sister-in-law who gave the devil his pitchfork await Tess in Hickory. Even the town's people have cricks in their necks from giving Tess nasty looks. A dark-haired girl with Italian features just doesn't seem to fit in with all these Southern belles. Oh, and there are secrets here, too. There's something about Henry and his cold indifference. Hmmmmm.......

    This was my first book by Diane Chamberlain. It's certainly a page-turner with the writing style that Chamberlain presents. She pulls us into the World War II era hook, line, and sinker with the judgmental attitudes back then. These attitudes are prevalent throughout the storyline and are causal factors into the faulty decisions made by these characters. Chamberlain has done a lot of research into the lifestyles during the war effort, the polio epidemic, and the race relations of the time. We read with a mind that observes that some things change and some things don't.

    Chamberlain does throw a nice "twisty" towards the end, but many events are predictable because of the era. The story advances into 1955 with most episodes placed in neat little rowhouses at the end. But then, you have to dive into this shifting pool filled with many quirky characters in order to walk through the sparking fire to get there. A fast-paced, enjoyable read.

  • Diane S ☔

    3.5 I am not going to rehash the summary of the plot for this book, you can read that on your own. This was another sisters read and my review is just what I wrote as my final analysis on the sisters thread for final thoughts. The year is 1944, and takes place for the most part in Hickory, South Carolina.

    I definitely think the last third of the novel was the best, we got to finally know the characters and what they are made of. Such different times, choices for women so limited. At least Henry p

    3.5 I am not going to rehash the summary of the plot for this book, you can read that on your own. This was another sisters read and my review is just what I wrote as my final analysis on the sisters thread for final thoughts. The year is 1944, and takes place for the most part in Hickory, South Carolina.

    I definitely think the last third of the novel was the best, we got to finally know the characters and what they are made of. Such different times, choices for women so limited. At least Henry proved honorable in the end. Still though for me this was way too dramatic, too many things thrown in,made it unbelievable. Definitely reminded me of a soap opera. Yes, she did a vast amount of research but it seemed as if everything she found out she just had to include..

    Did like the parts about polio, the hospital, those seemed very real. The happy ever after ending, nice but maybe too good to be true.

    My rating will be a 3.5. as I did like the last part. In fact the book was very likable for me, just not more than that. Know I will probably be in the minority here.

    Turned out I wasn't the only one who felt this way about the book, we ended up split down the middle. It is important to mention, as the author did at books end, that this hospital for those inflicted with polio, did in fact exist. Most amazing of all is that is was actually put together and functional within a matter of days. I don't think I was the ideal reader for this book, but I did enjoy the historical elements of this, just not the piling on of things that went wrong.

    ARC from Netgalley.

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