It is 1944. Pregnant, alone, and riddled with guilt, twenty-three-year-old Tess DeMello abruptly gives up her budding career as a nurse and ends her engagement to the love of her life, unable to live a lie. Instead, she turns to the baby’s father for help and agrees to marry him, moving to the small, rural town of Hickory, North Carolina. Tess’s new husband, Henry Kraft, is a secretive man who often stays out all night, hides money from his new wife, and shows her no affection. Tess quickly realizes she’s trapped in a strange and loveless marriage with no way out.
The people of Hickory love and respect Henry but see Tess as an outsider, treating her with suspicion and disdain. When one of the town’s golden girls dies in a terrible accident, everyone holds Tess responsible. But Henry keeps his secrets even closer now, though it seems that everyone knows something about him that Tess does not.
When a sudden polio epidemic strikes Hickory, the townspeople band together to build a polio hospital. Tess knows she is needed and defies Henry’s wishes to begin working at there. Through this work, she begins to find purpose and meaning. Yet at home, Henry’s actions grow more alarming by the day. As Tess works to save the lives of her patients, can she untangle the truth behind her husband’s mysterious behavior and find the love—and the life—she was meant to have?
A Library Reads Top Ten Book of October 2017
Praise for The Stolen Marriage:
"[A] well-crafted crime-tinged tale." —Publishers Weekly
"The Stolen Marriage is the kind of story that will grab you and refuse to let you go until you turn the last page." —All About Romance
"Readers will be sucked in immediately...you just can't go wrong with a book with [Chamberlain's] name on the cover." —Southern Pines Pilot
North Carolina, 2018: Morgan Christopher's life has been derailed. Taking the fall for a crime she did not commit, she finds herself serving a three-year stint in the North Carolina Women's Correctional Center. Her dream of a career in art is put on hold—until a mysterious visitor makes her an offer that will see her released immediately. Her assignment: restore an old post office mural in a sleepy southern town. Morgan knows nothing about art restoration, but desperate to leave prison, she accepts. What she finds under the layers of grime is a painting that tells the story of madness, violence, and a conspiracy of small town secrets.
North Carolina, 1940: Anna Dale, an artist from New Jersey, wins a national contest to paint a mural for the post office in Edenton, North Carolina. Alone in the world and desperate for work, she accepts. But what she doesn't expect is to find herself immersed in a town where prejudices run deep, where people are hiding secrets behind closed doors, and where the price of being different might just end in murder.
What happened to Anna Dale? Are the clues hidden in the decrepit mural? Can Morgan overcome her own demons to discover what exists beneath the layers of lies?
As soon as nurse Maura Lyle sets foot inside the foreboding Essen Grange, she feels shivers ripple down her spine. And the sense of unease only increases when she meets her new patient, Gordon Henderson.
Drawn into the Henderson family’s tangled web of secrets and betrayals, Maura can ignore the danger lurking behind every door no longer. Even the door she has been forbidden from opening...
Essen Grange is a house with dark and cruel intentions. But now that darkness has turned on her, can Maura escape before it’s too late?
The chilling new novel from the bestselling author of The Lost Child and The Silent Girls. Perfect for fans of Erin Kelly, Claire Mackintosh and Tracy Buchanan.
WHAT READERS ARE SAYING ABOUT THE FORGOTTEN ROOM:
‘Creepy, dark and twisty!’ Amazon Reader
‘A dark and twisted novel that had me guessing and second guessing the ending through out.’ Amazon Reader
‘One of the best books I’ve read in ages.’ Amazon Reader
‘I couldn't put this book down – gripping to the end.’ Amazon Reader
After losing her parents, fifteen-year-old Ivy Hart is left to care for her grandmother, older sister and nephew as tenants on a small tobacco farm. As she struggles with her grandmother's aging, her sister's mental illness and her own epilepsy, she realizes they might need more than she can give.
When Jane Forrester takes a position as Grace County's newest social worker, she doesn't realize just how much her help is needed. She quickly becomes emotionally invested in her clients' lives, causing tension with her boss and her new husband. But as Jane is drawn in by the Hart women, she begins to discover the secrets of the small farm—secrets much darker than she would have guessed. Soon, she must decide whether to take drastic action to help them, or risk losing the battle against everything she believes is wrong.
Set in rural Grace County, North Carolina in a time of state-mandated sterilizations and racial tension, Necessary Lies tells the story of these two young women, seemingly worlds apart, but both haunted by tragedy. Jane and Ivy are thrown together and must ask themselves: how can you know what you believe is right, when everyone is telling you it's wrong?
"Almost Missed You is an emotional powerhouse of a novel." —Garth Stein, New York Times bestselling author of A Sudden Light and The Art of Racing in the Rain
"In Almost Missed You, debut author Jessica Strawser meticulously weaves together a kidnapped child, friends in turmoil, and a Craigslist ad into a tangled web of secrets, lies, and unexpected alliances. This heart-breaking page-turner will make you question how well you really know everyone you hold dear." — Amy Sue Nathan, author of The Glass Wives
"Jessica Strawser has expertly woven a tale of a marriage in crisis with elements of daring, danger, mystery, and secrets that will surprise and delight you...Glorious!" — Adriana Trigiani, New York Times bestselling author of All the Stars in the Heavens
"Jessica Strawser writes from the heart." —New York Times bestselling author Lisa Scottoline
"Almost Missed You is compelling fiction from a brave new voice." —Bestselling author Sophie Littlefield
Violet and Finn were “meant to be,” said everyone, always. They ended up together by the hands of fate aligning things just so. Three years into their marriage, they have a wonderful little boy, and as the three of them embark on their first vacation as a family, Violet can’t help thinking that she can’t believe her luck. Life is good.
So no one is more surprised than she when Finn leaves her at the beach—just packs up the hotel room and disappears. And takes their son with him. Violet is suddenly in her own worst nightmare, and faced with the knowledge that the man she’s shared her life with, she never really knew at all.
Caitlin and Finn have been best friends since way back when, but when Finn shows up on Caitlin’s doorstep with the son he’s wanted for kidnapping, demands that she hide them from the authorities, and threatens to reveal a secret that could destroy her own family if she doesn’t, Caitlin faces an impossible choice.
As the suspenseful events unfold through alternating viewpoints of Violet, Finn and Caitlin, Jessica Strawser's Almost Missed You is a page turning story of a mother’s love, a husband’s betrayal, connections that maybe should have been missed, secrets that perhaps shouldn’t have been kept, and spaces between what’s meant to be and what might have been.
Told with Diane Chamberlain's compelling prose and gift for deft exploration of the human heart, Pretending to Dance is an exploration of family, lies, and the complexities of both.