Tuesday, October 3, 2017

The Stolen Marriage by Diane Chamberlain

What They Say.....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?

What I Say.....I've always been a Diane Chamberlain fan so I was really excited to get a copy of her new book.  This seemed like a little bit of a departure from her usual books, but it was still really good.

Tess is a devout Catholic girl engaged to the perfect boy next door when one night's decision ends up with her married to a man she barely knows, exiled from her family and living in North Carolina.

Her new husband is kind but distant, her new mother and sister in law are not kind and distant, and Tess is bored, lonely and heartbroken.

I thought I knew what the twist was, but I was pretty wrong.  Tess insists on taking her nursing boards so she can practice, despite her new family's wishes.  A polio outbreak brings a familiar face back into Tess's  world, and everything is thrown into chaos.

I loved how the storyline covered so many diverse storylines with a little bit of history.  It's crazy to think how polio used to be a real concern compared to how fortunate we are now.  

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