The Stolen Marriage by Diane Chamberlain

October 3rd, 2017 Kimberly Review 49 Comments

3rd Oct
The Stolen Marriage by Diane Chamberlain
The Stolen Marriage
by Diane Chamberlain
Published by: St. Martin
Genres: Historical Fiction
Source: Publisher
Purchase: Amazon
Goodreads
Rating: One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star

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?

2017 fave historical Southern well written

One man stole her heart: the other stole her life.

Diane Chamberlain magically transports me to her settings and introduces vibrant and complex characters. Such was the case with THE STOLEN MARRIAGE. It’s 1944 when folks are dealing with food rations, racial discrimination, and polio outbreaks. Chamberlain touches on all three as our protagonist Tess DeMello makes an error that lands her in Hickory, North Carolina. Poignant, inspiring and fascinating I devoured THE STOLEN MARRIAGE.

Tess, a young nursing student, lives in an Italian community in Baltimore, Maryland and is engaged to a young Doctor. He travels to Chicago to fight a polio outbreak and keeps extending his time there. Depressed and unsure she begrudgingly goes to Washington DC for the weekend with her best friend.  Events that occur there have her breaking off her engagement and marrying Henry Kraft, a furniture maker in rural Hickory, North Carolina. She has married into wealth, and Henry is more than generous, but the people of Hickory are far less accepting. Her marriage isn’t a happy one. Henry isn’t intimate with her, works odd hours and hides money from her. The townsfolk make it clear she is an outsider. She finds solace when speaking to a local medium and this thread was particularly interesting and touched on magical realism.

Through stubbornness and Henry’s understanding, Tess gets her nursing license, but he forbids her to work. As his wife, labor was seen as beneath her station, but when a polio epidemic breaks out, and a hospital is set up in Hickory, Tess soon finds herself working. Here, Tess meets up with the young doctor she abandoned and confesses everything to him. It was fascinating learning more about this epidemic, iron lungs, and these makeshift hospitals. It was heartbreaking, and the story shared both joyful and tearful moments. Chamberlain detailed societies fears and misunderstandings of this epidemic that devoured children and folks of every race and social standing.

THE STOLEN MARRIAGE not only dealt with the polio epidemic, but it shared the pressures of society and racism. We delve into Tess’s mistakes and consequences. We explore Southern culture, marriage laws, racism and more. Chamberlain’s research is evident, and her eloquent writing styles paint a detailed picture of the climate and characters in 1944. There is romance threaded throughout the story, and I found it touching and surreal. We also get a bit of suspense, regarding Henry’s odd hours and hidden money.

This is the type of story that pulls you, connects you to the characters and brings the period to life in vivid color. Each of the characters is flawed and realistic. Chamberlain shines a realistic light on situations these characters faced, allowing the reader to become emotionally connected. She combines the best of fiction and history giving readers a story that will stay with them long after the book ends.

A must-read for fans of historical fiction, diversity, and American history. THE STOLEN MARIAGE ranks among my favorite Diane Chamberlain novels.

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About Diane Chamberlain

Diane Chamberlain

Diane Chamberlain is the New York Times, USA Today and Sunday Times bestselling author of 24 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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About Kimberly

Kimberly is a coffee loving book addict who reads and listens to fictional stories in all genres. She’s a self-professed Whovian, as well as a Supernatural, and Sherlock Holmes junkie, She enjoys sharing books, tips, recipes and hosting the Sunday Post. The coffee is always on and she is ready to chat…Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

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49 Responses to “The Stolen Marriage by Diane Chamberlain”

  1. Naomi Hop

    Wow Kimberly, this sounds like it was a bit of an emotional read. I’d love to know what happened in Washington to break off the engagement, and to upturn her life. GReat review, as always, my friend!

  2. kindlemom1

    I have yet to try this author. It looks like I really need to change that. I saw this on Netgalley was it?, and almost grabbed it darn it!

  3. Bookworm Brandee

    I’ve not read Chamberlain but this particular story speaks to me and seems a good place to start. 🙂 Wonderful review, Kimberly. I’m happy you enjoyed this one so well.

  4. ShootingStarsMag

    I’m certainly curious why she broke off her engagement now. Sounds like a great novel, and it focuses on a period of history I don’t know a ton about!

  5. Evie

    How did I miss this? I’m looking this up and adding it to my TBR. Based on your review I know I’d devour this book too.

  6. Laurel-Rain Snow

    I LOVED this book…and have enjoyed all of Chamberlain’s books so far. Immersing myself in this one took me to places I had forgotten about, issues I thought I had left behind.

    Thanks for the great review!

  7. Karen Blue

    This sounds so good. I have read a few reviews for this and they are all saying it is excellent. I like the idea of learning more about nursing in the 40s, I bet it was tough. This relationship status sounds really tough too. Great review!

    Karen Blue recently posted: State of the ARC #1
  8. Stephanie

    Awesome review Kimberly! This book sounds absolutely fascinating! You don’t see too many books from this time period. I totally put it on hold at my library. Can’t wait to get my hands on it!

    Thanks for introducing me to this book!

    Stephanie recently posted: Task It Tuesday {10/3/17}

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