Book Club: The Stolen Marriage

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Author: Diane Chamberlain
ISBN: 9781509884650
RRP: $29.99
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Copy: Courtesy of the Publisher

The silly season came and slapped me in the face, I am so far behind on EVERYTHING that there is just no way I am going to be able to get through all the December books in time to get readers feedback links. I am 3 days out from my holiday with no packing and no cleaning but now wrapping completed.

So, I have decided the best way to tackle the holiday season book club reads is to get a post up for readers to leave their feedback on and I will read and review separately. It helps ease the pressure on me and that is what I am in dire need of right now.

Diane Chamberlain is a bestselling author from North Carolina whose back catalogue tops 25 novels, and I have read a couple. I think they were both re-releases, though I didn’t know that at the time. The Stolen Marriage is a brand new story set in the small town of Hickory, North Carolina; a town where she is a stranger and an outsider and her new husband is loved and respected.

The Stolen Marriage is an historical fiction that is an emotionally captivating story filled with secrets, betrayals, prejudices and forgiveness.

Tess DeMello is a 23 year old nursing student who is engaged to the love of her life, until she abruptly ends it and marries Henry Kraft. This is intriguing enough to want to know what’s happened and discover the events that lead to a broken engagement in 1944.

The marriage to Henry Kraft is quick which means there is a lot the two don’t know about one another and Tess soon finds herself out of her depth in a new small town that loves her husband and is suspicious of her.

A polio outbreak rips through the town and sees the townspeople band together to build a polio hospital. Tess works at the hospital, against the wishes of her husband, and finds meaning in this new life as she treats the victims.

Life at home becomes ever more alarming as Tess is left trying to save her patients by day and work out what’s going on with her husband by night.

The reviews I have just checked out are predominantly positive with the view being that this was well researched and shines a light on some of the issues faced in wartime North Carolina.

The Stolen Marriage is first person narrated by Tess and I think that will give a deep insight into her mind and heart, hopefully it will still offer a complete picture of other characters in the novel.

I am really looking forward to reading this one, and sharing my views in a separate review. I am also looking forward to hearing what our readers think.

You can follow Diane Chamberlain on Facebook, Twitter and her Website.

Thanks to Pan MacMillan 10 of our Beauty and Lace club members will be reading and reviewing The Stolen Marriage so please be aware there may be spoilers in the comments below.

The Stolen Marriage is available now through Pan MacMillan, Booktopia, Angus & Robertson Bookworld and where all good books are sold.

11 thoughts on “Book Club: The Stolen Marriage

  1. Thanks to Pan MacMillan Australia for the opportunity to read The Stolen Marriage. I really enjoyed this book.

    Tess DeMello is living a wonderful life in Baltimore even though the story takes place in the war years. She happily engaged, finishing nursing school, but through a turn of events, she leaves Baltimore and ends up in Hickory, North Carolina in a marriage that never should have happened in the first place.

    She’s trapped in a loveless marriage and is seen by her husband’s well to do family as an outsider who has spoiled their lives. Bad things happen….an unfortunate accident and things get worse.

    Tess’s husband Hank doesn’t seem to be a bad man but is uninterested in making his marriage to Tess work.

    And then a polio epidemic happens and Tess, a qualified nurse comes alive…..

    This is an engrossing novel, full of detail about the turbulent time in the 1940’s, the impact of the war and particularly the polio epidemic that impacted so many people.

    Diane Chamberlain gives us an interesting character in Tess and develops the story in directions that I was not expecting. I was conflicted about the event that caused Tess’s downfall…was it….you know?

    Anyway I highly recommend the Stolen Marriage to any reader for a interesting and though provoking book.

  2. I loved The Stolen Marriage! It is such a well researched book with a fantastic storyline I just couldn’t put it down.
    We follow Tess DeMello, a nurse in training who is soon to marry her one and only Vincent but after a turn of events she finds herself having to move to Hickory and start afresh with a new man ‘Henry’… without giving too much away the story has a few more turn of events that keep you guessing.
    Hickory ends up opening a hospital for polio patients which is what I found most fascinating.. The Iron Lung .. wow! I had to research this machine more after reading about it and it’s kind of scary.
    Easily 5/5 stars from me and I will be recommending this book to my book lover friends and family.
    Thanks Beauty & Lace, Pan MacMillan and Diane Chamberlain for this fantastic read x

  3. I really enjoyed reading this book, The Stolen Marriage. It had me hooked right from the start and the twists and turns throughout the story keep you guessing. It is one of those books that you cannot pick the ending which I love!!

    The story is based on the main character Tess who seems to have the perfect life until an event occurs that has a domino affect that changes her life dramatically. She finds herself moving to a new town and having to restart her life again, entering into a town and family that hold many secrets meaning that there are many twist throughout the whole story.

    The book is set during the Polio epidemic and it was really interesting to read about how it was treated back then and how bad it really was.

    The story is easy to follow along and a great read for the summer, especially by the pool or at the beach. I found that I read this book quickly as I didn’t want to put it down. I rate this book 5.0/5.0 stars and will be recommending it to anyone that reads.

    I have not read any books before by Diane Chamberlain but I will be defiantly going out and getting some of her other books to read after reading this book. Highly recommended!!

    Thank you to Beauty & Lace, Pam MacMillian and Diane Chamberlain for letting me read this great book 🙂

  4. With the mad rush surrounding Christmas, I didn’t pick up The Stolen Marriage as quickly as I would’ve liked, but once I did, I couldn’t put it down!
    This was such an engrossing read for me.
    The story is told in the first person from 23 year-old Tess DeMello. She lives in Little Italy, Baltimore with her mum, (her only family) and dreams of becoming a nurse. The year is 1944, and Tess is engaged to Vincent, whom she has known for most of her life, and who lives next door and is studying to become a doctor.,
    But after a series of events that take place on a trip away with her best friend Gina, Tess makes the decision to end her engagement and marry the mysterious Henry ‘Hank’ Kraft, a wealthy businessman and owner of a furniture factory. She reluctantly moves to North Carolina, in the town of Hickory where Hank lives..
    Her dream of becoming a nurse is put on the back burner as Tess tries to fit in to Hank’s life. The townspeople treat Tess with suspicion, and I felt for her as she struggled to form friendships with them, and with Hank’s sister Lucy, and his mother.
    Hank is often busy with work, returning home late, and leaving early. Their marriage lacks passion and love.
    But Tess shows her resilience and determination, getting her nursing degree and adapting to the changes she is faced with.
    A polio epidemic strikes Hickory, and Tess is amazed that the townspeople put together a polio treatment hospital in just three days. She convinces Hank to let her volunteer there, and loves being able to help others.
    But Hank’s mysterious behaviours leave Tess questioning just who she has married, and she will stop at nothing to discover the truth.

    I really enjoyed this novel. There are some great characters, but Tess was my favourite. I also liked her best friend Gina, and would’ve liked to have her featured more, particularly towards the end of the novel.
    There is a lot that I didn’t mention in my review so as not to spoil it for other readers, but this is a book that is definitely well written and tells a beautiful story, so I would highly recommend it.
    I enjoyed reading about the polio hospital, and surprised to read in the author’s notes that it was a real-life event. The author has researched this part of history very well, and it is evident in The Stolen Marriage.
    Thank you to Pan Macmillan Australia and Beauty & Lace for the opportunity to read and review.

  5. I am still trying to figure out exactly what grabbed me so quickly with this book – that made me love it so much! I think it was a combination of things – the characters, the story that kept you intrigued and guessing, and even the fact that the chapters weren’t ridiculously long which allowed me to read in short bursts if I wanted to (I never wanted to – this was a book I really had trouble putting down!)
    There were many twists, some of which I saw coming, but many that I didn’t. It took me a long while to decide whether or not I liked Hank – just when I thought he was ok he would do something to make me change my mind again. I am glad that Tess finally got the life she was after, and although it was torture at the time, what she endured in Hickery certainly got her there.

    I was very interested too to note that the polio hospital in Hickery was a real thing and that Diane Chamberlain was able to work that into the story (or the story around that).
    Will be putting this in the MUST READ AGAIN AND AGAIN pile I have, and have already handed it to my mother in law to read! 5 stars from me! Loved it!

  6. Already a fan of Diane Chamberlain, The Stolen Marriage does not disappoint. Even though the book is set in 1944, it is not about the war at all.
    Set in Baltimore, Tess DeMello thinks her world is perfect – she is the only child of a loving mother and engaged to her childhood sweetheart. Tess is studying to be a nurse to compliment her fiancé being a doctor – they hope to one day open a practice and work together. Just as the wedding is looming there is a polio outbreak and Vincent – Tess’s fiancé – decides that as more doctors are needed he will go and volunteer his time. Tess is totally understanding as the parting is only for a short time. Vincent promises time and time again to come home but his work keeps him busy and phone calls and letters become further and further apart.
    Tess’s best friend, Gina tries to keep her spirits up and decides they should spend the weekend in Washington with her aunt. Unfortunately, Gina’s aunt is called away and leaves the two girls unchaperoned in her boarding house with two men who are also staying the weekend. The girls go out to dinner with them and upon returning to the boarding house Tess finds herself in a situation that causes a long term ripple effect in her life.
    Arriving back in Baltimore Tess is mortified about her behaviour and more so when she finds out she is pregnant. Deciding to break off her engagement to Vincent and become a single mother she approaches the man – Henry Kraft – to help her financially. Henry decides they should marry and thus Tess leaves Baltimore for Hickory, North Carolina and becomes trapped in a strange and loveless marriage living with her mother and sister in law both of whom dislike her immensely treating her with suspicion and disdain.
    When a polio epidemic breaks out in the area, the townspeople band together and build a polio hospital in less than 3 days. With Tess having received her nursing degree – albeit having to fight for it every step of the way as being the wife of a wealthy businessman means she does not have to work – she goes against Henry and her mother in laws wishes and begins to work at the hospital.
    As Henry’s actions and disappearances become more alarming and frequent Tess finally discovers the secrets that Henry has been hiding.
    I totally loved this book and found it very difficult to put down. I would like to thank Beauty and Lace and Pan Macmillan for the opportunity to read this magnificent book.

  7. 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.
    I thoroughly enjoyed the story of Tess and loved how she evolved as a woman and became a leader in a time when women were not leaders in our country. Her story was engaging and evoked plenty of different emotions
    No major twists and turns, but all around good story telling in a character driven family drama set in the 1940’s. I would highly recommend to anyone who likes historical fiction or domestic dramas. This is an amazing story of love, secrets, family, betrayal, forgiveness and strength.
    I thought I had this book all figured out, but it really surprised me in the end.

  8. Thanks to Pan MacMillan Australia for the opportunity to read The Stolen Marriage. I really enjoyed this book.

    This book was set in the 1940’s and it was so real to read. I loved the story and could imagine the story playing out as I read it. such a sad story of what life was like as a young girl growing up in a long forgotten time where things were very difficult and if mistakes are made they can change your life in an instant. I was also interested in the issues facing inter racial love affairs and the issues faced when you fall in love with the “wrong person”based on color.

    It was interesting to look at life among the different lives based on how wealthy you were and what was expected of you. It was sad to learn Tess’s mother died without her having the time to say a proper goodbye. I also liked that after the “incident” the reader was given enough information to know the eventual outcome of life for Henry.
    I was interested in the Polio story behind the actual love story. It went into many details of things most of us have heard about especially the iron lung machine. I found this an interesting way to base and anchor the story to give it meaning.

    It is interesting that even with money struggles can be just as difficult with love and how you are meant to live life.

    I loved this book and would love to see it made into a movie as it would be compelling watching. I loved that it made you think about how life was and how things have changed over the years.

    A very enjoyable read and I would recommend this to anyone wanting a good read and also wanting a little bit of an incite to polio and life in the 1940’s.

  9. last days of us. beck nicholas. Okay this is a reader I have not heard of before, but I have just finished reading this book, and found it very engrossing. It is really the story of a girl in and out of love… that is what she thinks anyway, and wanting to get back with her first love, thru an accidental touch of death, disturbs the surface of her love. I found that this book related literally a lot to when I was growiing up, in the teen years, and also imagined I was in love with a fella… that of course did not work out for me, and I will leave the readers to read the story to find out what the results of this book are. I have put it in my bookshelf and in a few months time, will go back and read it again, and perhaps enlighten myself about how teens go thru a little of love life. good reading, and thank you Michelle for sending it to me.

  10. The Stolen Marriage is a fast paced read which I really enjoyed. Full of drama and compelling at every turn of the page.
    Set in 1940s Tess our protagonist is in love, engaged and about to commence a career in nursing. A girls weekend away in Washington changes the course of these events in a major way.
    Find out more by reading Diane Chamberlain’s The Stolen Marriage. Thank you Pan MacMillan and Beauty and Lace for the oppprtunity to read this novel. Highly recommend if you are a fan of hIstoric fiction, compelling drama. The perfect weekend companion.

  11. I usually avoid books written about this era, no real reason I just do, but this one may just change my way of thinking. I suppose I would normally look and think “another war novel blah, blah, blah”. It’s a nice change to read one that shows me that the mid 20th century is not just about war.
    I’m not very knowledgeable about this time in history but this author obviously is. I almost felt like I was there with Tess, watching from the shadows.i highly recommend this book to anyone who likes a story of triumph. When life gives you lemons you make lemonade.
    I just might have to check out more from this author.
    Overall a very well written and captivating read.
    Thank you to Beauty & Lace and Pan MacMillan for an advance copy for an honest review.

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