Elisabeth Storr’s “Wedding Shroud” Sheds Light on the Surprisingly Liberal Past of Early Rome

While many historical fiction novels tend to focus on ancient Egypt or the Tudor dynasty, Elisabeth Storr’s the Wedding Shroud takes a closer look at early Rome, a time period much ignored in this genre.

Although the trailer for the first novel in the Tales of Ancient Rome series is very sparse, which can be a bit off-putting for those looking for a more flashy hook, her story is compelling—the heroine Caecilia is a young Roman girl who is married off to an Etruscan man. She is determined to remain virtuous according to the ancient ideals of the time, but the “free and easy” lifestyle of the Etruscans tempts her.

Storr’s official website gives a more in-depth synopsis and notes that unlike the strict culture of ancient Rome, the Etruscans were considered “hedonistic” because they allowed their women much more freedom.

While those who aren’t history buffs may be confused because the frescoes used in the video do look similar, the eternal dichotomy between living according to society’s rules versus being tempted to shrug off those same chains and enjoy a more liberal lifestyle is, in some respects, still being played out today. What teenager hasn’t rebelled against their parents’ ideals? What woman hasn’t felt stifled by all the negative stereotypes that are fed to her via the media? Although Caecilia lives during the early Roman period, her struggle is an age-old tale that many “underdogs” of our modern society can sympathize with.

Despite the barebones trailer and the rather bland frescoes, the synopsis for the Wedding Shroud is eye-catching not only for its intriguing heroine and storyline, but also due to the fact that it is a new take on a time period in history that has been ignored for the trendier eras.

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