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Summer Reads

By on July 30, 2023


by Maria A. Karamitsos

Maria A. Karamitsos

Welcome back! Summer is upon us, and everyone’s always asking for recommendations for summer beach reads—and typically novels. While there are so many to choose from, I’ve selected some new releases, some by Greek authors as well as others whose love for Greece shines through in their stories set in Greece—and they transport us there. Note, this is simply a list of new releases, as I have not yet read them all. So… without further ado, here are some new novels to add to your Summer Reading List!

Under a Greek Sun by Mandy Baggot

Though from the UK, this international bestselling and award-winning romance writer spends much time at her home on the island of Corfu. Many of her books are set on her beloved island, Under a Greek Sun (Boldwood Books), subtitled “a sizzling summer romance”, which came out in April. Author Sue Fortin said, “This is Mandy Baggot’s best book yet… Full of Mandy’s trademark humour, wonderfully drawn characters and sizzling romance, there is also a deeper emotional level to this book. I loved every word of it.”

The Greek Secret by Francesca Catlow

This UK born writer also adores Corfu and has set all of her books there. She writes “passionate love stories featuring flawed and sometimes broken characters as they face a crossroads in their life” and hopes her books bring much needed escapism. Perfect for fans of novels by Paige Toon and Kate Frost, “It’s time to escape to the idyllic island of Corfu this summer” with this “emotional and heart wrenching love story.” This prolific writer released Secret (Gaia and Fenrir Publishing) in May,  and another, called Chasing Greek Dreams in March.

A Piano Bar in Crete by Richard Clark

Born in the UK though his heart belongs to Crete, Richard Clark is the author of 12 travelogues about Greece and five novels set on Crete. The award-winning and bestselling author just released, A Piano Bar in Greece (Independently published), “a poignant, heart-warming novel of loss, love, and renewal”. Jennifer Barclay, author of several memoirs about living in Greece, said “Richard Clark captures the spirit of Greece I love. His books make me long to see the places he describes.”

The Senator’s Wife by Liv Constantine

The Senator’s Wife (Bantam) is the latest psychological thriller from the award-winning, national and international bestselling writing team of Greek-American sisters Lynne Constantine and Valerie Constantine. It went to #1 on Amazon within a day of its late May release. New York Times Bestselling Author Chandler Baker said it’s “a deadly cocktail of medical mystery, family drama, and psychological suspense”.

My Xanthi by Stephanie Cotsirilos

Greek-American Attorney, Essayist, and Performer Stephanie Cotsirilos’ debut novella, My Xanthi (Independently published), hit the shelves on June 1. In this second edition of the book first released in 2021, find new material, artwork, and more. “A Greek immigrant woman’s wartime secrets teach a criminal defense lawyer about love’s triumph over injustice.” Frank O. Smith of Portland Press/Maine Sunday Telegram said, “If you’re lucky, every once in a while you come across a book that overcomes you with its powerful story. My Xanthi… did that for me…”

The House in the Olive Grove by Emma Cowell

This former actress, BBC presenter, and fundraiser-turned-author makes her home in the South of England. All of her novels are set in Greece. Just out in late May, The House in the Olive Grove (HarperCollins) set in Petalidi, Greece, is perfect for fans of Victoria Hislop, Carol Kirkwood, and Karen Swan. International Bestselling Author Adriana Trigiani said, “Emma Cowell creates worlds of warmth, laughter, healing and hope in her delicious novels. The House in the Olive Grove is a glorious story that celebrates the power of love.” Emma’s book, One Last Letter from Greece (Avon), which came out last year, is set in Methoni.

Andrula by Beryl Darby

Another writer from the South of England who loves Greece, Beryl Darby published the first guidebook to Spinalonga 30 years ago. Soon after, she published the first in her Cretan Book Saga series. Andrula (JACH), the 28th book in the series, came out in February. Set in Elounda and New Orleans, the book has received mostly 5-star reviews.

Opposites do Attract by MJ Golias

This new novella is the second by Greek-American Author and Poet MJ Golias. Set in Manhattan, Opposites Do Attract (Independently published) is a “sweet and spicy romance” about a Greek-American couple in Manhattan. They both have different plans and different paths in life, until they meet. “They share a cultural connection, but is that all? Can Mike convince Voula he’s enough for her? Can Voula let him in into her world?”

Where the Sky Falls by Dougie McHale

This Scotland-based author has long been enamored with Greece. Dougie calls his books “women’s contemporary fiction”, though they have historical elements. The former lyricist sets his books between Edinburgh and the Greek islands. Where the Sky Falls (Independently published), set In Edinburgh and Corfu, is “a vivid, heart-wrenching World War II novel about the stirring power of love, one woman’s bravery in the face of darkness, and her heartbreaking decision to risk everything for the man she loves.”

Arrested Song by Irena Karafilly

The award-winning Canadian author is back with her fifth book, Arrested Song (Legend Press), subtitled, “the unforgettable story of an extraordinary woman in Greece during WW2”. Set in Molyvos, the story opens during WWII and spans thirty years. Louis deBernieres, author of Captain Corelli’s Mandolin called it “a very accomplished novel”. The story is “a sumptuous, sweeping romance, weaving the private and the historic into a vivid tapestry of Greek island life” and “chronicles the story of an extraordinary woman and her lifelong struggle against tyranny.”

Tales of a Spiritual Sun by Paul Kiritsis 

A medical psychologist, poet, and artist, this Greek-American is a multi-published author. No stranger to myth retellings, Paul takes on Medusa, King Midas, and Pandora, as well as Orpheus, Proteus, and Psyche, with a story set in modern times with many twists. “From the Sphinx communicating through a Ouija board to Narcissus’s traditional, terrible fate morphing into his first glimmer of hope, Tales of a Spiritual Sun re-writes the Greek myths as never before.”

The Summer Wedding in Santorini by Samantha Parks

The Summer Wedding in Santorini (One More Chapter) is the second novel set in Santorini by this American author, who now calls the South of England home. The holiday/contemporary romance follows a young woman named Anna who has “the perfect life” on Santorini with her boyfriend. But “as celebrations get underway for the wedding of the summer, secrets will be revealed, and ultimatums will be given. In the end, Anna and Nikos must decide whether their love story can have the happy ever after they both desperately want…”

The Invisible Thread by Maria Stefanidis

The author’s debut novel, The Invisible Thread (Silverbird Publishing), is informed by her experience as a Greek-Cypriot immigrant to Australia in the 1960s. “The novel explores Cypriot culture and social behaviour through the inter-communal conflict between the Greek and Turkish Cypriots, during a time when the two ethnic groups were living as rival neighbours, in the heavily Turkish populated village of Rizokarpaso, located in the north of Cyprus.”

An Island Promise by Patricia Wilson

This Brit author retired to Greece 25 years ago, renovated a dilapidated old house, and took on some new hobbies—including writing. She’s now the author of seven historical novels set on the Greek islands. An Island Promise (Zaffre) opens in Liverpool in 2023 but takes us back to the Nazi occupation in Greece. It’s the story of a Greek Jewish artist named Daphne. As her “100th birthday approaches, she knows time is running out to share her story. Daphne tells Flora, her granddaughter, of a valuable piece of art from her youth. A masterpiece which bought her freedom but cost her everything she held dear.”

Well, that will get you started! See you next time for more of Mnemosyni’s Musings.

About Maria A. Karamitsos

Maria A. Karamitsos is a journalist, author, and emerging poet. She's the founder & former publisher/editor of WindyCity Greek magazine and former associate editor & senior writer for The Greek Star newspaper. She’s a contributor to TripFiction. Her work has been published in Voices of Hellenism Literary Journal, Highland Park Poetry, Greek City Times, GreekCircle magazine, The National Herald, GreekReporter, NEO magazine, Harlots Sauce Radio, Women.Who.Write, KPHTH magazine, XPAT Athens, and more. One of her poems was recently published in The Magic of Us — A Moms Who Write Anthology. Maria has contributed to two books: Greektown Chicago: Its History, Its Recipes and The Chicago Area Ethnic Handbook. She's currently querying her 1st novel.