Steeped in Greek mythology and Homeric tradition, MJ Pankey’s debut novel “Epic of Helinthia” immerses readers in the tale of a group of heroes who battle treachery and divine machinations as they seek to overthrow a tyrant. This story fits seamlessly into the corpus of Greek mythology with conniving gods and goddesses, hubris aplenty, and heroes whose courageous appearances belie secrets galore.
2023 has been an excellent year for reading! I’ve narrowed down some of my top choices including works by new and independent authors such as Margaret Kasimatis, Yvonne Korshak, Vera Bell, and Kiersten Marcil. I’ve also included historical fiction and non-fiction works by established authors on topics such as Greek mythology, Anglo-Saxon England, and Renaissance Italy. Enjoy!
“Out of the Darkness” offers a vivid depiction of 19th-century England during the Industrial Revolution, following the life of Thomas Wright, a miner striving for safer conditions against a system of corruption. There’s much to recommend this story including strong female characters and historical authenticity. The protagonist, however, often comes across as overly heroic and without flaws.
Æthelflæd, daughter of the Anglo-Saxon king Alfred the Great, must unite her people against domestic rebels and foreign incursions in this meticulously-researched and vibrantly-written novel.
The strength, love, bravery, courage, resilience, and endurance of a Jewish Hungarian family that crosses generations forms the nucleus of “The Politzer Saga”, this utterly enthralling nonfiction work by Linda Ambrus Broenniman. Ambrus Broenniman shares their memories and allows them to live on in all of her readers. It’s a story that will not easily be forgotten.
“The Merchant from Sepharad” continues “The Sugar Merchant” series with the travels of Joshua ben Elazar who is tasked with establishing a mercantile presence between Europe and Asia. In a world brimming with political and religious upheaval, Joshua must contend with external and internal forces to ensure his journey’s success.