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TMW Book Reviews

Review – Keeper of the Shroud

by

Michele Wallace Campanelli

Keeper of the Shroud, penned by Michele Wallace Campanelli, is a historical fiction novel of intrigue, love, and spiritual awakening. In a medieval kingdom, the book begins with the introduction of Princess Bella, a young woman scarred both physically and emotionally from past events. Bella finds herself amid a political landscape involving the ruling family of Valtearea. The story unfolds as she begins a new life, bound by a marriage of convenience to Prince Louis, a fierce warrior known as the ‘Beheader.’

The first part introduces the key characters, including Louis’s brother, Delaney, and their sister, Sharera, whose intricacies intertwine with Bella’s. The plot thickens when a sacred relic, a burial cloth believed to have healing powers and ties to Jesus Christ, becomes central to the story. The presence of this shroud sets off a chain of events that challenge the characters’ beliefs, loyalties, and the very essence of their existence. This shift mirrors the realization that one’s past actions do not have to define the future. And that it’s never too late to seek redemption and alter one’s path, a concept particularly relevant in a world where people often struggle with the consequences of their past actions.

Michele Wallace Campanelli is exceptional at blending historical elements with fiction, making the complex period details easy for a wide audience to understand. Her descriptions of the medieval setting, costumes, and customs transport readers back in time—striking a fine balance between historical accuracy and creative liberty. Additionally, the novel balances descriptive language with action-driven sequences and maintains a gripping pace that keeps readers engaged from start to finish.

The characters also evolve well throughout the story. Princess Bella, for instance, converts from a victim of her circumstances into a strong, independent figure, exhibiting both vulnerability and resilience. Similarly, Prince Louis is portrayed not just as a formidable warrior but as a character with depth and internal conflicts.

The thematic exploration is another highlight. It’s about faith, redemption, and the power of love. The introduction of the shroud catalyzes these subjects, challenging the characters’ long-held beliefs and leading them on a path of self-discovery and spiritual enlightenment.

The novel is a journey through a tumultuous period, seen through the eyes of characters who are as complex as they are fascinating. Keeper of the Shroud is a refreshing take on a familiar genre – a valuable read for anyone seeking both escape and enlightenment.

– The Moving Words Review

Official Entry: The Most Moving Book Award, Jan. 3, 2025