It got me hooked from the first words in the Prologue - "Her whole world was orange" - and I couldn't put it down for a while. THE WEDDING SHROUD is a surprising page-turner , about-500-page- thick, dense with tension, emotion and sensuousness, crowded with unforgettable vivid characters: Cecilia, Mastarna, Tarchon, Marcus, Drusus, Larthia, Ulthes, Erene, Artile, Arruns, Cytheris, Tulumnes, and even dead Seianta. Elisabeth Storrs combines detailed research and remarkably talented writing in her portrayal of life in Early Rome. Her heroine, Cecilia, is a complex character, presented in all the frailty of an unloved child grown-up into a torn young woman. It is not easy for her to love, trust or rely on others, especially once she gets to an enemy city and culture. Prejudiced, stubborn, frightened and divided between her loyalty to Rome and her duty as a Veientane wife, her mind keeps her tied to Roman values and morality, while her heart and her senses wish and escape and are fascinated by the freedom and beauty she finds in Veii.
She is the daughter of a foe there, so finds herself an outcast, but she is also welcome with respect, love and sympathy by Mastarna's family and best friends. Mastarna, her husband. An arranged marriage, a pact between her uncle, who adopted Cecilia after her father's death, and the rich and noble Etruscan, Mastarna: their union is the symbol of the agreement between Rome and Veii to prolongue the truce established two years earlier in their endless enmity. She loves a handsome Roman soldier, Drusus, and has only got one friend, her cousin Marcus: now she has to leave them both and marry Mastarna.
Cecilia is determined to remain faithful to Roman virtues while leaving among the sinful Etruscans. Instead she finds herself tempted and charmed by a mystical, hedonistic culture. Mastarna wins her resistance and seduces her into his world, offering her pleasure, independence, confidence and awareness. Mastarna is rich, powerful and experienced. The scars all over his body are signs of all the sufferings he has gone through in his life. Pain , sorrow and rage haunt him as well as the ghost of his first beloved wife, Seianta. He seeks relief for his troubled mind defying death on any occasion. He wants to join Seianta.
Mastarna is so totally different from any other man Cecilia has known, he stirs her curiosity and shows her patience and respect. She wants to know more about him, his dark secrets. So she listens carefully to everyone who has known him longer than herself: his mother Larthia, his adopted son Tarchon, his best friend Ulthes and his best friend's mistress Erene.
Cecilia's journey in the story will bring her through unexpected discoveries and shocking experiences which will convince her that Fate can't be easily controlled - as she was wrongly led to believe - and that she finally must choose where her allegiance lies.
You'll be allured by the magic and beauty of the Etruscan world, just like Cecilia. Ancient history becomes life, love and passion in this novel.
The Wedding Shroud in now available both as a paperback and in the e-book/Kindle format. Check out all the possibilities HERE.
Elisabeth Storrs has long had a passion for the history, myths and legends of the ancient world.
She graduated from the University of Sydney in Arts Law, majoring in English and having studied Classics. She lives with her husband and two sons in Sydney and over the years has worked as a solicitor, corporate lawyer, senior manager and company secretary. At present she runs a consultancy business advising companies on corporate governance.
Elisabeth's first novel, The Wedding Shroud, was researched and written over a period of ten years. She is currently writing the sequel which will be released by Pier 9 / Murdoch Books in 2012.