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Monday, November 23, 2020

Historical Family Drama Another Heartfelt Story from Chamberlain

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Even though there's a terrible war raging in Europe, 25-year-old Tess DeMello is safe in her tight-knit Little Italy neighborhood living a happy, contented life.  She's engaged to her childhood sweetheart, pursuing a career as a nurse, and looking forward to a future full of love, adventure, and joy.  In a moment of weakness, however, her life is changed forever.  She finds herself pregnant with a stranger's baby.  Kicked out of her home by her mother, Tess is alone and terrified.  With no other choice, she breaks off her engagement, leaves school, and flees to North Carolina, where she'll beg her baby's father for enough money to start a new life in some far-flung city.  

To Tess' surprise, 27-year-old Henry Kraft suggests they marry and raise their baby together in his tiny hometown of Hickory.  While this seems like the perfect solution, Tess soon finds that an opinionated Italian woman from Baltimore is not exactly what Henry's family and friends had in mind for him.  While she does finally find some purpose and acceptance by volunteering at a polio hospital, her strained relationship with Henry brings only distress and worry.  Not only is he definitely concealing something from her, but he treats Tess with politeness rather than affection.  What is he hiding?  What will it take for a regretful Tess to find happiness in her strange new life?

The Stolen Marriage by Diane Chamberlain is a compelling novel set in an interesting time period and populated with complex, well-drawn characters.  None of them are perfect—all are authentically flawed.  While not all of them are likable, their individual conflicts and dramas keep the story engrossing, even when the plot gets a bit predictable.  The tale did throw me at least one curveball, though, which led to a surprise ending that I loved.  While I didn't end up absolutely adoring The Stolen Marriage, overall, I found it heartfelt, intriguing, and, ultimately, hopeful. 

(Readalikes:  Reminds me a lot of Necessary Lies by Diane Chamberlain and a little of At the Water's Edge by Sara Gruen)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for brief, mild language (no F-bombs), mild sexual content, and violence

To the FTC, with love:  Another library fine find


  1. This sounds interesting and worth a try. Both the books you compared to it also sound good. Wish I could read faster and did not already have too many books in the house.

  2. My guess is that this situation was all too common once upon a time. People entering marriages that aren't really a good idea due to circumstances makes for good reading.


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