Of Merchants, Mythology, & Mercians: My Top Books of 2023
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Of Merchants, Mythology, & Mercians: My Top Books of 2023

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!

Book Review: “Out of the Darkness” by David A. Jacinto
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Book Review: “Out of the Darkness” by David A. Jacinto

“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.

Book Review: “The Politzer Saga” by Linda Ambrus Broenniman
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Book Review: “The Politzer Saga” by Linda Ambrus Broenniman

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.

Book Review: “Those Who Would Be King” by Brent J. Ludwig
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Book Review: “Those Who Would Be King” by Brent J. Ludwig

Author Brent J. Ludwig tackles a plethora of themes “Those Who Would Be King”: deep corruption and power in politics, the tangible and intangible remnants of colonialism, and struggles for democratization in sub-Saharan Africa. This provocative novel helps readers reflect on historical and present issues that have faced third-world countries and, perhaps, recognize the complexities of post-colonialism.

Book Review: “Of White Ashes” by Constance Hays Matsumoto & Kent Matsumoto
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Book Review: “Of White Ashes” by Constance Hays Matsumoto & Kent Matsumoto

In “Of White Ashes”, Constance Hays Matsumoto and Kent Matsumoto tell the tales of two individuals and how their lives intertwine during one of the most horrific times in history: World War II. Based on the true stories of Mr. Matsumoto’s parents, this utterly captivating novel represents historical fiction at its finest, and most heartbreaking.

Book Review: “Not Pink” by Margaret Kasimatis
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Book Review: “Not Pink” by Margaret Kasimatis

“Not Pink” follows the story of Mary Therese Panos, a troubled young woman caught between her Greek patriarchal upbringing and the roaring counterculture of the ’60s. This hard-hitting but highly readable novel explores Mae’s demons and how she struggles to overcome them. Will she succumb to them? Or will she learn to address them in order to be a better mother for her daughter?