Readers probably know that there is something to be said for finding the right read for the right time or mood. When in Rome was that kind of book for me. It offered a slower, somewhat more contemplative stroll through the life of its protagonist, Claire and was just the kind of book that I was seeking.
As the story opens, Claire is fifty-two years old. Her daughter, Dorothy, is in her late twenties and was raised by Claire as an only child. Claire’s own mother died when she was young leaving her to be raised by her father as a single parent. She also became well known to her Milwaukee community of nuns.
Claire goes to Yale where she makes a very good female friend and also falls for Marcus. Her nascent desire to become a nun remains even as Claire takes a post graduation real estate job where her specialty is the sale of ecclesiastical buildings.
This career sends Claire to Rome, a city that is lovely to visit in Claire’s company. There she meets a group of idiosyncratic sisters who engage with her. Will they lose their unique convent to a real estate developer?
The crux of the story is about what decisions Claire will make and what she wants in her life. Is it to be a nun or is it to remain in the world, possibly with Marcus? Read this gentle novel to find out.
Publishers Weekly calls this one “a delight.” I heartily agree.
Many thanks to Penguin Group Dutton for this title. All opinions are my own.
Pub date: March 202314