Diane Chamberlain is one of my favorite authors, she has not written a book, to date, that I haven’t enjoyed. When I saw that she came out with a book called The Stolen Marriage, I was intrigued, but also a little wary because the book is set in 1944, and that’s not really a time frame I am interested in reading about. My fears were soon demolished when I opened the book and started reading the story of Tess DeMello, a 23 year old Italian girl from Maryland, whose one mistake costs her so much in her life.
Tess has her life all planned out, she’s going to marry Vincent, they are going to have four babies, and she is going to be a nurse. Eventually, her and Vincent will work side by side, because he’s going to be a doctor. As the couple plans their wedding, Vincent decides to head to Chicago to help at one of the hospitals there as the polio epidemic is under way. He claims he won’t be gone for long, but when weeks turn into months, Tess starts to get restless.
Soon, she finds herself heading to Washington D.C. with her best friend, just to kick back, relax, and try to keep her mind off of Vincent being gone so long. That’s when she meets Henry, a southern man from Hickory, North Carolina, he’s charming, and that night the two end up in bed together. It was Tess’ first time, and she can’t believe she wasted it on a stranger.
When she heads back home, things start to get even more complicated when Tess finds out she’s pregnant. She doesn’t know what to do, because she can’t tell Vincent of her mistake, and her family will shun her no matter what. She decides the best idea is to run away, find Henry, and make him do his fatherly duty and supply their baby with the things that it needs. Henry takes it one step further, and asks for Tess’ hand in marriage. He knows that she was already engaged to another man, but he wants to do right by his child, and this woman that he doesn’t even know. Tess sees no way out, and accepts his proposal.
As time goes on the marriage isn’t at all what Tess thought, and Henry won’t allow Tess to have the life that she had dreamed of her entire life. She wants to be a nurse, but Henry feels that it’s her duty to stay home, but she will fight him tooth and nail until he gives in, but when tragedy strikes on more than one occasion, it may be the only way Tess can survive the life that she so abruptly chose for herself.
When the polio epidemic strikes Hickory, Tess does what she set out to do and becomes a nurse, her life seems to be getting better, even though her marriage is loveless. When she finds out a secret about Henry, she may be able to turn her luck around on it’s heels, and get back the life that was taken from her.
There were so many facets to this book, there was a paranormal subplot that caught my interest, and there were all these extra little tidbits that just thrust the story forward in incredible ways. I was rooting for Tess the entire time, and I was hoping she would get what she deserved. The ending made my jaw drop, I loved every aspect of this book. I give this one 5 out of 5 stars, thank you Diane for writing another masterpiece, and thank you Netgalley for allowing me to read this book.