I absolutely loved this novel. I loved all the historical elements the novel held in it, the twists and turns, the characters and I especially loved how Tess tried to maintain who she was, with all the excitement that was happening in her world. Right from the beginning, the novel took off and it continued right to the very end, there was never a lull. Rich in the history, laden with fantastic characters and situated in an area where favoritism happened on many levels.
The year was 1944 and 23-year-old Tess went on a trip with her best friend, Gina. Once they reached their destination, the plans had been changed and the two friends, headed out for dinner. Tess and Gina had quite the night, Tess’s behavior was unlike her normal studious, conscious self. Tess finds herself pregnant, her fiance, Vincent is not the father. That one-night out has changed everything.
Locating the father of her baby, Tess agrees to marry him as that would be the proper thing to do for her baby. Vincent is no longer in the picture but Tess thinks of him constantly. Immediately, Tess seems to forget what her needs are and as Henry starts to take control of the situation, I am fearful of what might occur. Tess feels she can fit into his rich, strict family but when we meet Henry’s mother and the rest of the community, I think Tess has bitten off more than she can chew. Tess has a big heart and I loved how she didn’t fall into her role but rather she tried to maintain who she was and she saw individuals for who they were. Their marriage is strange, his family is unusual, the only people I, myself, feel comfortable with, are working in the kitchen and I think Tess feels this too. When polio hits the region, Tess feels the need to do her part and when she stood up strong, I was cheering for her.
The novel is filled with wonderful emotional moments: there were times that I was smiling, laughing, angry, frustrated and yes, times where tears were escaping from my eyes. Where would this novel end as Tess battles her way through Hickory? Excellent historical fiction novel that I highly recommend.