October 13, 2017

The Stolen Marriage. Diane Chamberlain

book cover
Published: St Martin's Press
Date: 3rd October 2017
Format: e-ARC
Pages: 384
Genre:Mainstream Fiction
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
4.5 stars                       Add to Goodreads
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?

My thoughts banner
What can I say!  Diane Chamberlain has again written another very engaging story with The Stolen Marriage.  I was soon transported off into story land and really enjoyed the read.

Tess is a beautifully compassionate heroine who finds her self in a spot of bother. We are talking back in the 1940's when to become pregnant outside marriage was something to be hidden.  When she tells the man who was responsible alongside herself he does the decent thing and offers marriage to which she agrees. And leaves behind the love of her life, Vincent.

Does she really know her husband Henry (Hank)? Lucy his sister would say no. And she doesn't. But as time goes by she learns more and finally learns the truth. I saw part of it coming, but oh no, I did not see the totality of it, so the final reveals were full of thrills.

The polio epidemic was fascinating as I am old enough (sigh) to remember those fearful times, and can remember being made to rest as a young child after lunch to stay in good health. Then of course came the wonderful medicine we swallowed and were given immunity. I can also remember devouring the book Over My Dead Body by June Opie as a young teen, so this aspect of the story really engaged me. 

The minor characters added to the flavour of the book, the township of Hickory in North Carolina, the issues of racism, and the part of Reverend Sam all added the the mix to make this book such a wonderful story.  I liked the growth of Tess and applauded every stand she took to choose her own life. I liked Vincent and his approach and yes really liked Henry too.

Diane Chamberlain has again spun an engaging tale that had me springing up off my chair and shouting "Yes"! at one  point.


  1. My first Diane Chamberlain book and it won't be my last. It engaged me from the first page. I love historical fiction the way she writes it. Nice review!

  2. This is not a genre I gravitate to, but the premise sounds interesting.

  3. I love her too! I am so delighted to see you enjoyed this as much as I did. I love that with each book she takes me someplace else.

  4. I have never tried her.
    And so glad we do not have polio...yet again

  5. I loved this book, too, and I'm glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  6. I'm glad you loved this. Chamberlain's books always seem popular.

  7. I think I know when you jumped up and said "yes." :) :) :)

    Oh yes...we ate sugar cubes, right? Thank goodness for Dr. Salk.

    GREAT review and loved the book also.

    Thanks, Kathryn.


  8. I've seen this one around Kathryn and it looks good. Thanks for your review

  9. I was surprised to read how you even liked the secretive Henry but summaries can be deceiving and the book plot totally what one wouldn't expect.


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