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The Stolen Marriage: A Novel

The Stolen Marriage: A Novel

Escrito por Diane Chamberlain

Narrado por Susan Bennett


The Stolen Marriage: A Novel

Escrito por Diane Chamberlain

Narrado por Susan Bennett

avaliações:
4/5 (15 avaliações)
Comprimento:
14 horas
Lançado em:
Oct 3, 2017
ISBN:
9781427289407
Formato:
Audiolivro

Descrição

One mistake, one fateful night, and Tess DeMello’s life is changed forever.

It is 1944. Pregnant, alone, and riddled with guilt, twenty-three-year-old Tess DeMello abruptly gives up her budding career as a nurse and ends her engagement to the love of her life, unable to live a lie. Instead, she turns to the baby’s father for help and agrees to marry him, moving to the small, rural town of Hickory, North Carolina. Tess’s new husband, Henry Kraft, is a secretive man who often stays out all night, hides money from his new wife, and shows her no affection. Tess quickly realizes she’s trapped in a strange and loveless marriage with no way out.

The people of Hickory love and respect Henry but see Tess as an outsider, treating her with suspicion and disdain. When one of the town’s golden girls dies in a terrible accident, everyone holds Tess responsible. But Henry keeps his secrets even closer now, though it seems that everyone knows something about him that Tess does not.

When a sudden polio epidemic strikes Hickory, the townspeople band together to build a polio hospital. Tess knows she is needed and defies Henry’s wishes to begin working at there. Through this work, she begins to find purpose and meaning. 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 the truth behind her husband’s mysterious behavior and find the love—and the life—she was meant to have?

Lançado em:
Oct 3, 2017
ISBN:
9781427289407
Formato:
Audiolivro


Sobre o autor

Diane Chamberlain is the bestselling author of twenty novels, including The Midwife's Confession and The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes. Diane lives in North Carolina and is currently at work on her next novel. Visit her Web site at www.dianechamberlain.com and her blog at www.dianechamberlain.com/blog and her Facebook page at www.facebook.com/Diane.Chamberlain.Readers.Page.

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15 avaliações / 28 Análises
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Avaliações de leitores

  • (4/5)
    Note: Book received for free from GoodReads for honest review.At first I found Stolen Marriage hard to get through. The first third seemed to slog through stereotypical scenarios from a standard gothic mystery novel and a main character that only rarely did anything proactive. However, once the story really hit its stride, I found myself engrossed more and more with Tess. She finally finds her feet in her new life, finding her spine and not letting society or anyone stand in the way of her dreams.I adored where the story went. From the back description and how the book started, I thought I’d be getting a gothic mystery full of suspenseful twists and chills, with a background and some tidbits on the polio epidemic and hospital. Yet, those parts actually became the main focus, much to my delight. I loved exploring how this small southern town pulled together to create this polio hospital practically overnight, donating time, energy, material support, and medical logistics to the task.Polio was such a big scare in the mid-20th century. Most people nowadays don’t even think about it. It was fascinating to see that explored in this small town setting, where rumors about the condition spread like wildfire and everyone knows the victims. Where another story could be a bleak portrayal of a small town in crisis, held in the hands of an epidemic, Stolen Marriage gives us a town who pulls it all together to get over this tragedy. I loved how the author portrayed this town.The polio epidemic also seems to give Tess the kick in the pants to find her own path in life. She starts out trying to please everyone in Hickory, her new husband’s family especially. Quickly, she finds out this is impossible, given she’s the outsider who has stolen the life expected for a local gal. I loved how she shook off this mindset when faced with a bigger crisis. She seems to find herself and mature fast, coming out the other side stronger and with an iron will.Besides Tess, the reader also gets a great grasp on Chamberlain's secondary characters as well. I grew to love most everyone, even the grumpy mother-in-law. Even her, I came to know why her attitudes were such and why she acted how she did. After I learned of Henry’s story, my sympathy for him rose fast. He’s faced with an impossible situation given the societal mores of the time.Despite the rocky start with Tess being a bit of a doormat, I learned to love this book as it explored a seldom used historical story and combined it with well-rounded characters. As Tess progressed on her journey, the reader can’t help but be sucked in by her struggles and triumphs. If you’re looking for a great read, give this one a look. The book only gets better the longer you read.
  • (4/5)
    Set in 1944 this novel starts out in Baltimore's Little Italy section of town where Tess DeMello lives with her mother finishing up her nursing degree and planning her wedding to her childhood sweetheart Vincent Russo. Then Vincent, a newly minted doctor, gets a chance to work with polio victims in Chicago so he goes for what is supposed to be only a couple of weeks but keeps stretching to more.Tess's friend, Gina, eager to get away for a night to try to not think of her boyfriend fighting in Europe and get Tess's mind off of Vincent who rarely writes or calls, takes them to Washington D.C. where they stay in her aunt's rental. Her aunt is supposed to stay with them since there are two men staying in the rental too, but her aunt is called away on business and can't so they'll be alone with the two men.So Roger Talbot and Henry Kraft, the two men in the rental, take them out to dinner and Roger plies them with drinks and Tess gets drunk. Henry helps her to her room and has sex with her. She will maintain later that she gave her permission, but honestly, she was too drunk and the description shows her allowing a kiss but that's it and then suddenly he's having sex with her. She was a virgin who had been saving herself for marriage with Vincent so it's hard to believe that she was willing in this. And frankly, I'm disappointed and surprised that a Southern gentleman, which he is from Hickory, North Carolina and is portrayed as such, would do that to a woman who was drunk. Soon Tess finds out that she is pregnant and she can't go through with abortion so she plans on keeping it but she can't tell Vincent because it will break his heart and he would never forgive her. She goes down to Hickory to get money from Henry to start a new life over somewhere else but he suggests they get married instead. She accepts his offer and when she tells her mother that she's marrying another man her mother figures out that she is pregnant and is furious with her daughter and ashamed of her and kicks her out of the house. She goes to stay with Gina but then two days later finds out that that night her mother suffered a stroke and passed out and hit her head and died. Tess leaves Vincent a note not telling where she's going on the kitchen table with his ring since he's coming down to visit after the funeral and leaves on the train for Hickory.Things in Hickory aren't easy because everyone expected Henry to marry Violet Dare the local beauty whose father is the District Attorney. But Henry insists that he doesn't love Violet and that they weren't engaged or anything. His mother Ruth, however, a formidable person, wanted him to marry Violet and so did his younger sister Lucy, a princess who has had everything done for her. Tess is told she is no longer a Catholic but a Baptist and she has to get used to having a maid, Hattie taking care of her. Hattie helps her out, though and is a kind face in a sea of those out to get her.Tess doesn't fit in Hickory and worse her husband won't even kiss her much less have sex with her. In a way, this is a blessing because her heart still belongs to Vincent and she doesn't know if she can have sex with him yet. She hopes to one day come to love him and have him come to love her. But Henry has secrets. There are things he is keeping from her. And things get worse when she and Lucy take the car with the bad tires on some errands at Lucy's insistence and at least one tire blows and the car ends up in the lake with Lucy pinned under the dashboard and Tess unable to get her free. Now Ruth and the town really hates her.This is an interesting book with the polio aspect to it that really happened. Hickory will have a huge polio outbreak and build a hospital overnight and the people really come together to help out. You feel pretty sorry for Tess being stuck in this situation, all alone with only letters from her friend Gina to give her support. There's someone else who helps her out a little bit, but I'll leave you the reader, to discover this unique character. Tess is a bit of a person who does the same thing over and over again expecting different results, which is the definition, according to Einstien of insanity. This book also delves heavily into coincidences, but it's a good story with a nice twist at the end. I give it four out of five stars.
  • (4/5)
    I really enjoyed this book. It was interesting to learn about polio, the 40’s and Hickory NC. I enjoyed reading about Tess. I was so glad she she was able to become an RN. I highly recommend this book.
  • (4/5)
    I generally like Diane Chamberlain's books, and this was a pretty good one. I found it a little boring in the middle section, but it picked up and had a satisfying ending.
  • (4/5)
    I enjoyed this book, although I think it could have stood some pruning. Mom also liked it.
  • (2/5)
    This was too "women's fiction" for me and I couldn't finish it. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.
  • (5/5)
    This book has reminded me why I read. Just wow. What an astonishing, amazing story. I want to firstly thank the publishers and the author for providing me with a copy to read in advance, I am grateful I got to read this! I really adored this novel, from start to finish. I love Tess. What I believe happened to her in the very beginning I don't think was consensual. I think she was raped. She was inebriated and Henry took advantage of her. I know the times were different in the mid 20th century, maybe people thought of 'consent' differently in that era, but I don't think the inability to say 'No' because Tess was drunk is considered consensual. It disturbed me a little bit but to that end, I don't think we would have had the story we had if she had considered herself to be raped.Let me repeat: I love Tess. I have never met a fictional character who sweats as much as I do. Bless you, child. I know I'm privileged in that I get to read nearly all books with characters who look and sound and talk like me, not everyone gets that privilege, but never have I had the ability to associate myself so deeply with a character like Tess BECAUSE GIRLFRIEND KNOWS A SWEATY PALM WHEN SHE SEES ONE. Yes girl. Me too. Beyond her capacity to sweat profusely, I adored Tess's strength. Her resilience is everything. Please don't read the next part if you don't want to read spoilers.Her life gets derailed almost at the word go: Vincent leaves for Chicago indefinitely, she fears the worst (that he's cheating on her) and whilst she is wrong, she gets punished for her fears rather than her fears coming true. Henry Kraft, who, deep down, is truly good and kind, used her. She becomes pregnant with a man's baby; a man she doesn't love. She has to leave her fiance to do what she believes is right and in the process, essentially kills her mother. She becomes part of a family that despises her and then she loses her baby. But she keeps on going. Then Lucy. It just doesn't stop. But Tess doesn't lose herself. She stays the independent girl who insists on working as a nurse that she always was in Little Italy in Baltimore. I loved Diane Chamberlain's descriptions of Little Italy in Baltimore, of Hickory, of the history she provides and the scenes she sets. I was transported to World War II America. I felt part of it. That is such a rare thing for me. I saw the houses she wrote about. I saw the people and the roads and the buildings. Not every author has that capability, and though this is my first book of Diane Chamberlain's, I believe she possesses this immense skill.The events that occur in this book, summed in one paragraph, can make it seem like a melodramatic soap opera lacking all realism. I get that. But I didn't feel that way one bit about this story. The drama felt tangible and real even though it was one thing after the other, but I believed it. This was an absolute page-turner for me. I love Tess. I love Vincent. I love Henry and Honor. I love Gina. Reverend Sam. Butchie and Jilly. I have been thinking about them all since I closed the book for the last time. I love that feeling; knowing you found a gem of a story that will stay with you.I will treasure this story for a long time to come.
  • (4/5)
    This book definitely had a slow start and I almost wish the novel had opened about half way through and just had flash backs to the relevant previous portions. For the first half, the story is strained and I nearly considered tossing it aside. However, things started to pick up and the last hundred pages flew by as the story twisted and turned. Overall, a really enjoyable read - if you make it through the slow beginning.
  • (4/5)
    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.
  • (5/5)
    I absolutely love Diane Chamberlain's books and this one, of course, did not fail me!!!I felt so many emotions while reading this book. Tess who breaks off her engagement with the love of her life to marry Henry. Tess who I felt so sorry for and Henry who is hiding something (and all of my guesses were wrong - Ha!!) I only felt contempt. He stayed out all night, was hiding money and never touched his wife. Tess's mother-in-law is a contemptible, meddling old woman still stuck in the ideas of the old south and her sister-in-law dislikes her because Henry was supposed to marry her best friend.When Henry's secrets did come to light, the story floored me as, of course, I was definitely not expecting that.A wonderfully great story that I thoroughly enjoyed and was sad to leave.Thanks to St. Martin's Press and Net Galley for providing me with a free e-galley in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.
  • (4/5)
    I love Diane Chamberlain's writing as it is concise and easy to read. This book has an interesting storyline, and I feel that it was very well written. For some reason, and I'm sure it's just me, I couldn't get into it as I have done with other books of hers. Would I recommend it to a friend? Yes. It is an easy and overall enjoyable read.
  • (4/5)
    There is a lot going for this book. It's historic ficiton, taking place at the end of World War II, in the US where every summer cities battle the polio epidemic. It also is set in the South, before the Civil Rights movement where there is definitely racial tension and segregation. And there is a little bit of a mystery going on too. So interesting setting, interesting time, and plenty of conflict. Check, check, check. But something was still missing for me in this book. The characters seemed to lack some depth to them, or they were a little too flat for me. I still enjoyed the historical aspects of the setting and the story keeps you listening.
  • (5/5)
    Diane Chamberlain has done it again -- written a fantastic new book that will keep you turning pages until you get to the end. I have read all of her books and the new one is one of my top three favorites. Thanks to the publisher for an early copy of this wonderful book to read and review. If I could give it more than 5 stars, I definitely would!Tess and Vincent are the perfect couple. Living in Baltimore MD with their wedding only a few months away they have great plans for their future. Vincent, a doctor, and Tess, soon to be a nurse, plan to go into practice together after they get married. After a bad decision by Tess, she ends up married to a secretive man who she barely knows and living in Hickory NC. Her husband is well known in town but everyone assumed that he would marry someone else so Tess is unliked by the townspeople as well as her new husband's family. Henry has lots of new secrets from his new wife and Tess is unable to figure out her new husband. When a polio epidemic strikes NC and the town builds a polio hospital, Tess goes against her husband's wishes and goes to work at the hospital. While she is thrilled to be using her nursing training, will she ever be able to find happiness in her life?As with previous books, Diane gives us believable characters and circumstances. She went into so much interesting detail about life in this time period as well as how the people with polio were treated and what nursing care they required.This book connected with me on a lot of personal levels too. My mom was in nurses training in 1943 just like the main character. Plus, I live in NC, less than 100 miles from Hickory and never knew about the polio hospital that the citizens of Hickory built in less than 54 hours to help combat the polio epidemic in 1944. I have been on google reading more about it and the history of Hickory since I read this book. I love it when a book is so wonderful AND teaches the reader about history that was never taught in history books but should have been. Thank you Diane for a wonderful new novel. I loved it!
  • (5/5)
    Title: The Stolen MarriageAuthor: Diane ChamberlainPublisher: Martin's PressReviewed By: Arlena DeanRating: FiveReview:"The Stolen Marriage" by Diane ChamberlainMy Thoughts....Indeed this was quite a interesting gripping historical romance story that this author gives the reader. We find Tess DeMello from Baltimore, Maryland around 1943 was once engaged to Vincent Russo [M.D.] but breaks off that engagement and marries a complete stranger named Henry Kraft who was from Hickory, North Carolina. Now, why did she choose a loveless marriage? Whose marriage was stolen? I liked how this author was able to weave the polio epidemic which was first being treated around that time into this story even making it even more interesting to read and in doing so bringing Tess's former fiance back into the picture. This was quite a compelling historical fiction that you will have to pick up and see for yourself how well this author brings it all out to the reader. Will this medical doctor and registered nurse be able to get back together again? The story offers 'love, loss, race, marriage, secrets, tragedy and redemption.' This author does a wonderful job with the main character Tess giving the reader a roller coaster ride full with her emotions and thoughts along with her husband, Henry who was a well respected businessman but very secretive. I don't want to leave out Henry's mother Ruth and his sister Lucy who both had their own agendas in this well told story. The story even had a little paranormal [conversing with the dead] with the Reverend Sam along with some other host of characters...Hattie, Honor, Adora, Zeke and Jilly and a host of other people in the town. Be ready for some twist and turns that you may not see coming along with a epilogue of ten years later. I was still left with a few questions however it was a enjoyable read, for it was also a long captivating read that you will have to stay on top of it because there will be so much going on. to see if there will be a HEA.
  • (5/5)
    I love Diane Chamberlain. She's one of my go-to, top five authors and she did not disappoint with this one.Tess and Vincent have grown up together and plan to be together forever when some bad decisions put their love to the test.The book starts out in 1944, about the same time as the polio outbreak. Vincent heads to Chicago to volunteer as a doctor caring for polio patients and as his work there keeps getting extended, Tess's patience dwindles. One decision leads Tess down a path she never expected.
  • (3/5)
    I usually enjoy Diane Chamberlain books and this one was no exception. The characters in this book were complex and the mystery of what was going on kept me reading until the end. I also enjoyed learning about a time in history that I didn't know much about.
  • (5/5)
    Loved this book. Could not put down. Well written and researched. Book takes place in the 40s..deals with prejudice, appearances, faith, epidemic, to name a few. Spot on with the issues of the time period in a non-judgemental way. Characters are flawed, but likeable...easy to love/hate. So far, I've never been disappointed by this author.

    Thanks to Net Galley for this free copy in exchange for my honest review.
  • (4/5)
    Tess's fiancé travels out of state to work with polio victims. While he is away, Tess has a drunken one night stand with Henry Kraft. When she finds out she is pregnant, she is wracked with guilt and unsure of what to do. Traveling to Hickory, North Carolina, she asks the guy for money to run away and raise her child in a new town. Instead, he proposes marriage. Unsure of what to do, she accepts his proposal. Both the community of Hickory and Henry's family are scandalized and make life hard for Tess. When a polio epidemic strikes, a hospital is build and Tess battles her new family to work as a nurse in its wards. This was an interesting and dynamic book. The beginning was very dramatic and quickly hooked me. Tess and the other characters were well developed and interesting to read about. Overall, well worth picking up. I look forward to reading more from this author.
  • (5/5)
    Actual Rating: 4.5 Stars

    My Takeaway

    "Even though I couldn’t have him or touch him or talk to him or even look into his eyes. I needed his presence. I needed him close by."
    Diane Chamberlain, The Stolen Marriage

    You know a book is good when you contemplate taking the day off just so you can continue reading. Yup. The Stolen Marriage is the real deal! Chamberlain is an exceptional storyteller, who brings the people and town of Hickory, North Carolina to life. The Stolen Marriage is historical fiction at its best and is full of unforgettable characters, secrets, deceptions, racism, and humanity. It is clear Chamberlain did her research. The story deals with the polio epidemic of the 40's and the endless taboos, which was a part of the time (especially in the South). I have no idea why it took me this long to read Chamberlain's work (shame on me)! Nonetheless, I am absolutely a fan and thankfully there are plenty of books to choose from (I already have Necessary Lies on my to be read pile). The polio epidemic was real and sadly individuals suffered and many died, but I am still in awe of how the people of Hickory came together to build a miracle hospital in 54 hours! I would love to see this book adapted into a movie. :-)

    Big thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press, for granting me my wish and providing an e-galley of this book in exchange for my honest review. If you enjoy historical fiction, I highly recommend this heartfelt novel.
  • (3/5)
    My review in a word: Conflicted. The writing, while good, was repetitive and slow. The story was not within my realm of believable. There was a lot of hang wringing and misplaced belief in the goodness of strangers. I did not open this book with any expectations and reading the last page was a relief. I have read the reviews of others and perhaps the fairest comment is that this was just not the book for me.

    Thank you NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for an ARC
  • (4/5)
    This novel starts out a little slow, basically because the first part of the story is "nothing new". Tess makes a huge mistake and gets pregnant. She marries the father of her child and moves to Hickory, NC. The tale then escalates with all her adjustments and the mysteries surrounding her new husband.
This story has many plots folded all into one. It really keeps you humming along. Henry with his mysterious comings and goings, Vincent, the heart broken fiancé, the polio clinic, the racist attitude of the town, all of this weave into a saga which is absorbing on many levels. Plus! You must read about Reverend Sam. He is a character which stole my heart!! I also enjoyed learning about the Polio clinic. (Which is true!) The town of Hickory did put up a polio clinic in 54 hours.
The only reason I am giving this 4 stars is Tess. She is a little infuriating. She is not as strong as I want her to be. She takes way too much off of her mother-in-law and many others in the town. There were places I wanted to pop her and say "SPEAK UP FOR YOURSELF!"
I have only read one other book by Diane Chamberlain and I adored it. I have no idea why I have not picked up her other books. I must! I love her plot turns and her rich historical detail!
I received this novel from Netgalley for a honest review.
  • (5/5)
    Tess, Tess, Tess, what did you do? Is that the only decision you could have made?Tess was engaged to her childhood sweetheart, Vincent, and to be married within the year, but she went on a weekend trip that she didn’t want to go on with her friend and something awful happened that changed her life and her plans.Tess found out she was pregnant from the weekend away and broke her engagement to the love of her life, found the man who raped her, and married him.She was moved from Baltimore, Maryland, to Hickory, North Carolina, had to change her religion, and had to live in Hank’s family home with his mother and sister who both disliked her along with the entire town. She ruined her life and Vincent’s life, but it was 1943, and did she have any other choice?We follow Tess through her days of actually being an outcast and in a loveless marriage.There were a lot of secrets in the Kraft family and especially with her husband, Hank. He would leave and not come home at night or not come home for days. I didn't like any of the Krafts and felt awful for Tess. She was an innocent, unassuming girl whose life was ruined.Despite the unlikable characters, the writing and story line of THE STOLEN MARRIAGE are marvelous as always with the backdrop being the South during WWII with all their proper, Southern ways and the polio epidemic. Ms. Chamberlain includes the history of Hickory's Emergency Infantile Paralysis Hospital that took care of polio victims.The book smoothly moved from page to page pulling you into the story and consuming you with the intrigue and tension as everything unfolded making it difficult to put down.THE STOLEN MARRIAGE can only be described as addictive, amazing, and fantastic. A MUST READ - my favorite of her books. 5/5This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
  • (4/5)
    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
  • (4/5)
    I received an advance copy through Goodreads Giveaway from St. Martin’s Press. It was a spectacular historical fiction story, and hard to put down once started. It peaks your interest from the first page. It was a riveting story about how one mistake can change life plans while intertwining life in Hickory, NC during the polio epidemic. The historical facts were heartbreaking but showed how a community can come together in the time of need. Thank you for the opportunity to read.
  • (5/5)
    ‘The Stolen Marriage’ is an intriguing story about a young woman named Tess DeMello, who is nearly graduated from nursing school in 1944 and is planning her imminent wedding to her fiancé Vincent. One night Tess mistakenly steps out with her friend, Gina, and after drinking too much, she has a one-night affair with Henry Kraft, a furniture entrepreneur from Hickory, North Carolina. Tess becomes pregnant and not feeling worthy of Vincent, she decides to break off with him and to make it on her own. When she visits Henry in North Carolina to borrow some money, he proposes to Tess, and she begins a new life, isolated in a small town, married to a husband who is emotionally and physically remote to her. When a polio epidemic breaks out in the town, all the town’s people gather their resources to meet the crisis, and Tess’s nursing skills break the barrier to becoming accepted by the townspeople. I was fascinated to learn that much of the factual information regarding the polio epidemic was accurate to history, and an actual temporary hospital was erected in Hickory in only a few days. Diane Chamberlain piques the reader’s interest throughout this novel, and I was a captive audience during a full weekend. Without giving too much away, let me say that the story proceeds to develop rapidly, and the novel is culminated with a very satisfactory ending.
  • (5/5)
    MY REVIEW OF “THE STOLEN MARRIAGE” by Diane ChamberlainI loved everything about “The Stolen Marriage” by Diane Chamberlain. I was so mesmerized by this book, that I couldn’t put it down, and read it in one evening.The Genres for this novel are Women’s Fiction, Fiction, Mystery and Suspense and a dash of Romance. There is even a touch of magical essence and getting information from spirits.The timeline for this story is approximately during World War Two and the few years after. During this time in history, there were rations on food and gas during the war. In many towns it was against the law to have inter-racial marriages. The penalty could be a jail sentence. There was also a division of upper class rich people vs. poor or common people. There was a tremendous tension for and about the young men fighting for our country. Segregation was very obvious. At the same time, polio was rampant and children and people were getting sick. Some people believed that poor children living in impoverished conditions could get polio.I appreciate that Diane Chamberlain did much research into the Polio Clinic in Hickory, North Carolina and also researched the history of the times. Many important topics are brought up. The story takes place in the United States in a small town in Baltimore, which is known as the “Italian ” section, and mostly in Hickory, North Carolina, historically known to house one of the first Polio hospitals.Many of the characters in the story are emotional, dysfunctional, biased and quirky. Remember the times are complicated and complex. Tess De Mello, is almost finished with her Nursing courses and is planning a wedding to the doctor she has loved for many years. Unfortunately a situation arises, where Tess abruptly leaves her town, and her fiancé and moves to another town, Hickory, North Carolina. Tess marries Henry Kraft, and is faced with animosity from his family and much of the town. Henry has many dark secrets, and Tess finds that he seems mysterious and strange to her. There is a terrible accident, and Tess feels more alone than ever. Tess has many painful situations in her life that she has to deal with.Henry is opposed to Tess doing any kind of work. When the town bands together to build a polio hospital, Tess uses her nursing degree to help many patients.Tess saves lives and her compassion and kindness has many people look up to her.The author discusses the important and relevant issues of the times. The author also describes family, friends, trust, love, loyalty and hope. I highly recommend this multi-layered novel to readers that like fiction, history, mystery and suspense, and romance. I received an ARC of this book for my honest review.
  • (5/5)
    Twenty-three-year-old Tess DeMello is engaged to the love of her life. Their wedding day is getting close. So it doesn't make sense to her fiancé when she abruptly ends their engagement and runs off to marry a stranger. Tess leaves Baltimore and moves to Hickory, North Carolina. Her husband, Henry Kraft, is secretive and distant and he often stays out late or doesn't bother to come home at all. She doesn't fit in with the people of Hickory. They all love and respect the Kraft's and view Tess as an outsider, someone who's after his money. Unhappy in Hickory and trapped inside a loveless marriage, Tess is desperate to get her old self back which happens when a sudden polio epidemic erupts and their small town is selected as the perfect spot for a hospital. Everyone in Hickory helps build this hospital in just over two days. Against her husband's wishes Tess begins helping out as a nurse and soon finds herself very happy to be of help to the young victims. But her husband's behaviour is taking its toll on Tess who wants some answers and wants out of their marriage.

    Another five star read by Diane Chamberlain. A solid, interesting story with three-dimensional characters. I liked the setting and the fact that the people of Hickory really did build, staff and get a hospital up and running in fifty-four hours. Wow! That's impressive. I really liked Tess and was rooting for her to find happiness after everything she'd been through. Chamberlain has a way of making you feel part of instead of simply reading a book. I loved it!

    Thank you to Netgalley and St. Martin's Press for an ARC.
  • (5/5)
    I received a free advance e-copy of this book and have chosen to write an honest and unbiased review. I have no personal affiliation with the author. This is a very well written piece of historical fiction based on real historical facts related to the polio epidemic and how the citizens of Hickory, North Carolina built, staffed, and maintained a much needed polio hospital during the years many men were away fighting in WW II. Hickory was struggling with the hardships of war. There was a great deal of racial tension in this country during this time when it was unlawful for a white man or woman to have a serious relationship with, date, love, or marry a black person of the opposite sex in many states. It was a disgrace for an unmarried woman to become pregnant and give birth to a child. This book is full of surprises and twists and turns. The story grabbed me right from the beginning and didn’t let go until the surprise ending. It is obvious that the author had done a great deal of research on the polio epidemic and racial tension and prejudice in the south. Diane Chamberlain is a great storyteller. This is a great story and well worth the read. I highly recommend this book and look forward to reading more from Diane Chamberlain in the future.