Wow, it’s been two years since I’ve had a book out and I’m ecstatic! I’m gearing up for a busy book tour and looking forward to meeting some of you. I can’t wait to hear your thoughts about this story. And may I just add that, even if you don’t buy The Stolen Marriage, you must find it in a store and touch the cover. The raindrops are irresistible. Wait until you see them up close!
When I first moved to North Carolina, I had already written three books set on the coast and knew quite a bit about the coastal history, but absolutely nothing about the “interior”, so I began reading up on various events that had happened in my new home state. One piece of history that always stayed in my mind was the super-rapid building of a polio hospital in Hickory, North Carolina by a community desperate to control an outbreak of the disease. This happened in 1944, and not only did the everyday folks physically build the hospital in a mere 54 hours, they furnished it with beds and mattresses and examining tables and linens and washing machines and kitchen items as well. Housewives cooked meals and sewed hospital gowns, and doctors and nurses came from all over the country to treat the mostly young patients. The event came to be known as The Miracle of Hickory. I was fascinated by the story of this phenomenal community effort and knew I wanted to write about it. But who should tell the tale?
Enter Tess DeMello, a sweet young Italian Catholic woman from Baltimore. Yes, she seems like an unlikely candidate to tell this particular story, but that’s what gets me excited when I write a book: I love putting together people and events that–at first–appear to be a bit of a mismatch. Tess is a nursing student engaged to a doctor, but she makes a huge mistake one night and winds up married to a wealthy Hickory man she barely knows. This man, Henry Kraft, hides money from her, sometimes stays out all night and shows no interest in making love to her. Tess finds herself trapped in a strange and loveless marriage with no way out. Not only that, but everyone in Hickory seems to adore and respect Henry and resent Tess for stealing him away. Tess is miserable and mystified . . . until the town builds the hospital and the pieces of the puzzle begin to fall into place.
I loved writing The Stolen Marriage. I think my favorite review quote is this one from the Library Journal: “Secrets, intrigue, mystery, love, forgiveness, and drama—it’s all here. And it is riveting.” I hope you’ll agree!
You can read the first chapter on my website if you like. And be sure to touch those raindrops!