Updated: Aug 26, 2018
A heart-wrenching and engaging historical novel of mistakes, secrets, love and forgiveness.
One mistake and Tess DeMello’s life is changed forever. It’s 1944 and 23 year old Tess is now pregnant alone and riddled with guilt. She abruptly gives up her budding career as a nurse, ends the engagement to the love of her life, and turns to the baby’s father for help. She agrees to marry him, and move to the small town of Hickory, North Carolina. After their marriage, Tess‘s new husband Henry Kraft becomes secretive and frequently stays out all night. Tess quickly realizes she’s trapped in a strange and loveless marriage with no way out. When the polio epidemic strikes Hickory, the townspeople band together to build a polio hospital. Despite Henry’s and his mother’s prohibition against it, Tess goes to work at the polio hospital. It is there that she finds purpose and meaning to her life once again. As she tirelessly works to save her patients lives, she also unravels the truth behind Henry’s mysterious behavior.
My favorite part of this book was the strength, honesty and emotion brought out through Tess’s character. You always knew what she was thinking and feeling. I really appreciated the strength she showed in keeping the baby even though she knew her engagement would be over. She never once blamed Henry for that faithful night she got pregnant. She could have easily claimed that he took advantage of her that night, when she had to much to drink, which he did. The resulting story is a touching chronicle of Tess’s dark time in a small southern town, being despised by the community as well as her own sister- and mother-in-law. And then things only get worse.
The many fibers of the story are securely woven together to make a magnificent read. The writing was rich and rewarding and weighted with gut-wrenching choices and decisions. My favorite character besides Tess, was the compassionate medium Reverend Sam and his skeleton. DIANE CHAMBERLIN weaves a riveting tale with her fast-paced heart-wrenching story. It’s beautifully written and richly enjoyable. The Audible version with Susan Bennett’s narration made the story come to life.
Publisher St Martin’s Press/Macmillian Audio
Published October 3, 2017
Narrator Susan Bennett