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The Chosen Shell by Katherine Sartori

The Chosen Shell (edition 2012)

by Katherine Sartori

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751,138,814 (4.6)None
Title:The Chosen Shell
Authors:Katherine Sartori
Info:Dream Traveler Press (2012), Edition: 1, Paperback, 316 pages
Collections:Your library

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The Chosen Shell by Katherine Sartori



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Showing 5 of 5
Katherine Sartori’s coming-of-age novel about a young woman’s search for herself within the confines of a convent in the 60s was so compelling and well-written that I read it on two sittings. Actually, I felt like I devoured it.

Since I grew up as a Catholic in the 60s I could easily relate to the pressures and struggles of her protagonist, Celia O’Rourke as the Church experienced massive changes in protocol subsequent to Vatican II. Though I never felt the calling to become a nun, I was always curious about the cloistered life and even fearful at times when my Italian great-grandmother times kept questioning me about being a nun. Many of the nuns I came in contact with were stern and rigid and seemed to hide behind their austere habits. That would change with the loosening of Church rules and the emergence of more humane, less intimidating apparel and rituals. For these reasons. I was very intrigued to read Celia’s story. The fact that it stemmed from the author’s personal experience lent credibility to the story.

The plot is believable and engaging. Sartori’s writing pulled me right into her story with her vivid scenic details, realistic dialogue, and believable characters that I could see and hear as if I was right there. They came alive on the page. The pace flowed nicely –with a few surprises--and the tension built up in a steady fashion that kept me turning the pages. The metaphor of the shell on the beach is powerful and masterfully woven throughout the story. Her description of family dynamics-positive and negative- also adds a dimension to the story as it relates to her reasons for entering the convent. I trusted her voice and routed for her in this heroine’s journey to find love and meaning her life.

And as with any good story, the reader is left with the feeling of satisfaction that this young woman triumphed over her struggles.

I highly recommend this masterfully–written and compelling novel. ( )
  kathleen.pooler | Sep 21, 2015 |
I was a fortunate winner to receive this book from the author. Since I am not a prolific reader, it usually takes me some time to get thru a book. I devoured this one in a weekend, and have read several times since. Understanding the Catholic faith and Nuns had always been a mystery to me having grown up in the Christian Church. Katherine Sartori takes you thru Celie O'Rourkes personal dedication to the faith and the emotional ride of questioning her choice to leave family, friends and boyfriend behind. It's beautifully written and brings to light so many questions we personally don't stop to ask ourselves. A wonderful, thought provoking read, with a beautiful ending. I hope you will read and see if you agree. ( )
  sewnsew | Apr 25, 2015 |
The "Chosen Shell" was somewhat slow to catch on to, but once I started to relate to the characters, it was definitely an interesting story. It gives an inside look at what life was like for a nun in the 60's, during the Vatican ll changes. Growing up myself in that era and being an Irish/Italian Catholic, I can relate to much of the basic story.
I admire the main characters courage and strength, and her perseverance to find peace in her heart and with God! ( )
  StaceyKathleen | Mar 20, 2013 |
"The Chosen Shell" by Katherine Sartori

In her debut novel, "The Chosen Shell," Katherine Sartori details six years in the life of Celie O'Rourke.

We meet Celie and her family at a critical time: she's just graduated from high school and decided to become a nun. Her interactions within the convent walls are complex. Teaching in a parochial school and helping Cuban immigrants are gratifying as are her poetry-writing efforts. Changes instituted by the Second Vatican Council affect her life, and California's geography provides a striking contrast to the cloister. Its ocean beaches and mountains influence her development.

Readers will wish a happy future for Celie and hope for another book from her author.

If I were to shelve my fiction books by subject (rather than alphabetically by author's last name) "The Chosen Shell" would join three others that take their readers into a cloistered world:

"Convent" by Panos Karnezis, "In This House of Brede," by Rumer Godden,and "The Corner That Held Them,"by Sylvia Townsend Warner. ( )
  Esta1923 | Mar 8, 2013 |
Many ex nun books talk about spiritual anguish, pain at religious upheaval or discontent born of intimate confusion... but not this one. This isn't so much the story of a nun and her journey back to the world she'd escaped but the simple and endearing story of a woman in love with God who was unwilling to be dishonest. Good story, simple and to the point... much like the woman it describes.

Very well written and I look forward to more books by Katherine Sartori. ( )
  MaryAnn12 | Feb 26, 2013 |
Showing 5 of 5
I really enjoyed “The Choosen Shell” and find in it a story of a young women coming to terms with her own identity. Raised in a large religious Catholic family, Celie, the main character serves what she believes is her calling.
The author’s insights into the inner workings and culture of a covenant life are fascinating and intriguing.
Her relationship with her fellow sister, Lupe, is deeply touching and heartfelt.
Celie’s passion for her writing and teaching come through in a genuine way.
This book is a good example of someone finding their own path and that circuitous paths tend to be the most interesting. It is inspiring that in the end the character finds her own voice and chooses her own direction in life.
I look forward to reading other works by Katherine Sartori as they become available.
added by Craigsa | editGeneral, Craig (Mar 11, 2013)
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