My rating: 4 of 5 stars
3.5 stars rounded up
Traveling Sister Group Read with Diane, Sarah and Deanna
I read The Stolen Marriage with three of my Traveling sisters as a group read and we were split on how we felt about this book. Two sisters who don’t often read Historical fiction reached out and tried something a little different by reading this one and they ended up really enjoying this novel. With one of the sisters being a fan of Diane Chamberlain and for another sister and myself we had some concerns with this book. I have read a couple of Diane Chamberlain’s books and I really enjoyed them, however this one had so much going on that I didn’t enjoy it as much as I would have liked.
The Stolen Marriage was an interesting and memorable read but yet overdramatic at times with a story about marriage, divorce, secrets, loss, tragedy in different forms, racial tension, women’s rights and life during the war that touched on so many different topics. There is a lot going on here within this story. This created more drama than some of us would of liked and we had a harder time connecting with the story at first.
Tess starts off with a crisis and her life takes an unexpected turn and she finds herself married into a family where not everyone welcomes her into her Stolen Marriage. She experiences hardship after hardship and event after event creating a lot of drama in Tess’s daily life. With so much going on here it took away from any feelings for Tess’s anguish for one sister and myself. For the other sisters they enjoyed the drama and connected with Tess and her feelings. Things moved quite quickly from one event to the other and I felt like not enough time was spent on one event to stir up any real emotions from me. There is a little mystery to Tess’s marriage with some secrets being kept that added some suspense to the story and we all really enjoyed the mystery and discussing that.
Diane Chamberlain does an excellent job with researching life in Hickory during the war, the polio hospital and with the laws of marriage. I would’ve liked more about that and less of all the other topics that I felt just weren’t needed in this historical fiction.
Diane Chamberlain does do a good job with the character development with Tess’s character and we did finally get to know her and see her grow stronger as the story progressed allowing us to connect and feel her emotions more.
In the end I started looking at this more like a drama rather than a historical fiction and I did really like the ending along with some of the other sisters. We were all split on wanting a little less drama on this one to make it more enjoyable. Overall we all enjoyed The Stolen Marriage and our reading experience. It made for a very good group read with an interesting and enjoyable discussion. I highly recommend for a group read.