Award winning author Diane Chamberlain lives in NC now and has more than twenty five novels published in over twenty languages under her belt. Her novels revolve around family, secrets, love, forgiveness, mystery and realistic well-drawn characters.
In this novel, set during and after World War II, we meet twenty-three year old Tess De Mello a strong and determined heroine who is trying to find her place and purpose in the world. She is embarking on life as a nurse and ready to marry the love of her life and boy next door, Vincent Russo. She has lived her entire life in close knit Little Italy in Baltimore. While Vincent is in Chicago working on the polio epidemic Tess conspires with her best friend to spend a weekend in DC. The trip does not go as planned and Tess gets pregnant. This story is about how one mistake can change the course of a life. She abandons Vincent and Baltimore without a word and ends up in Hickory, NC in a loveless marriage with Henry Kraft, scion of a wealthy family and the father of her unborn child. He wants to give his child a name, but his marriage to her is a front, hiding secrets and lies. She moves into his family home with his mother and sister and Henry does not treat her as his wife. Nothing is as it seems and she is treated poorly by her mother in law and her circle of friends and is unable to find her place.
Hickory in the 1940’s brims with racial tension, change is in the air and many of the characters harbor deeply held secrets. As Tess tries to find her place in this world and realize her dream of becoming a nurse the polio epidemic strikes Hickory. The townspeople come together to build a polio hospital and Tess finds her chance to make a difference and start working as a nurse. It was a miracle in how quickly the hospital was up and running and Tess was a big part of it. A bond and respect develop between Tess and Henry as secrets are revealed. Tess wonders if she will ever be free of this marriage. She also wonders what happened to Vincent. She keeps in touch with her best friend Gina who has been sworn to secrecy regarding her whereabouts.
The novel weaves elements of history and romance and comes to a satisfying conclusion. It is the kind of novel that transports you totally to this world and it is hard to put down.
Luba Sawczyn is the Branch Manager of the Graham Public Library. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (336) 570-6730