Date Published: April 17, 2011
Number of Pages: 164
Print Price: $8.06
eBook Price: $
World War II is over and Captain James Marsh is having a hard time adjusting to civilian life. He returns to England from the Far East and looks forward to a quiet life in his newly rented country home, Markham House.
While a maid is cleaning, she finds a cameo of the Virgin Mary hidden in a windowsill of one of the upstairs bedrooms. James has the cameo appraised and discovers it to be worth a fair amount of money. He decides to search for the owner and places an advertisement in the local newspaper.
He receives word from a Miss Bromley that her now deceased grandmother, Claire Ashford, once lived in Markham House and that the cameo could have belonged to her. Miss Bromley has no proof, but gives James her grandmother’s diary which tells the story of how she met and fell in love long ago on a trip to Italy.
James reads the diary and finds the story of Claire Ashford’s romance with a young Italian man so fascinating that he is unable to stop reading until the very last page. What he discovers is a story of love and faith that transcends into his own life, filling in a space that he thought would remain empty forever.
Claire Ashford belongs to the Church of England and believes in Christianity, but while in Italy she is exposed to Catholicism which leads her to want to convert to that faith. Claire grew up being told to stay away from Catholics and their Church. Yet somehow, she decides to abandon her own faith and go against everything she has been taught since birth. For anyone it would be a tough decision to change religions, and it is something that no one would enter into lightly. Such a choice requires a deep reason. Although Claire gives this decision a lot of thought, a clear reason is never given as to why she chooses Catholicism. I could understand her action if she had some sort of problem with her own religion or if there was some aspect of it that she didn’t believe anymore, but such factors don’t appear to enter this story. I wish the author had given a clearer reason for Claire wanting to become Catholic. I did enjoy the story, but I think Shelstad missed the mark and could have taken an already wonderful novel and made it even better with the addition of some added details about the conversion.
Despite this, there’s a lot to like about The Cameo. I was impressed with Lorraine Shelstad’s ability to write. Many readers are hesitant when it comes to self-published novels. Often they can be filled with poor writing and spelling mistakes, but you needn’t be worried about that here. She is able to present a story of love and faith in two different time periods, effortlessly going back and forth from one to the other. The Cameo is well written and in a style suited to the era. I recommend this novel to anyone looking for a good clean romance novel.
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Original Language: English
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