The Merchant from Sepharad by James Hutson-Wiley

The Merchant from Sepharad by James Hutson-Wiley
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Embroiled in the tumult of the twelfth century’s commercial revolution, Joshua ben Elazar, the scion of an illustrious trading dynasty, is torn between the dictates of his faith and his quest for wealth and love. The merchant from Sepharad, the third book in the series beginning with The Sugar Merchant, is a tale of religious persecution and deadly conflict.

Joshua’s first commercial venture in Muslim-ruled Portugal ends in disaster when he is cheated by corrupt officials. Failing as a merchant, he journeys to Cordoba where he establishes a new life as a Talmudic scholar. As an accomplice to the murder of a spy, however, he is forced to flee for his life. Joshua is granted one last opportunity for redemption. He must establish a new trade route to the vast riches of India. Joshua’s world is changing quickly, and he must do everything in his power to succeed amidst the chaos. On his journey, he faces new challenges and discovers his true faith.

Chick Lit Café Book Reviews:

In James Hutson-Wiley’s immersive and fascinating medieval historical novelThe Merchant from Sepharad, a young Jewish man’s faith deepens as he struggles to establish himself as a merchant in the face of violence, death, and overt prejudice.

Eighteen-year-old Joshua ben Elazar is sure he will succeed as a merchant when he is sent to Muslim-controlled Lisbon, Portugal to take control of the partnership’s business which his father is a part of. He is, however, cheated out of his possessions and is taken in by a Rabbi. After executing a thoughtless act of revenge, he flees for Cordoba, Spain where he dedicates himself to studying the teachings of the Talmud. As the political situation in Cordoba worsens, he is forced to flee again. Hoping to regain his father’s approval, he takes on the mission of establishing a new trade route to India.

This adventure-filled novel adeptly captures the political conflicts in the Iberian Peninsula and surrounding areas during the 1100s. Joshua is forced to grapple with discrimination as a Jewish man living in Muslim and Christian-controlled territories. In Marrakesh, where Joshua’s family is from, the threat of an aggressive Muslim group taking over control forces his father to flee to Alexandria, Egypt. Wherever Joshua goes, he encounters turmoil and prejudice.

Joshua’s growth feels authentic and is extremely compelling. At first, he is determined to prove himself as a businessman. As a scholar in Cordoba, he encounters Karaite Jewish friends who lead him to question the teachings of the Talmud. They inspire him to join their mission to return to Jerusalem and take control of the city. During his journeys, Joshua’s priorities shift. His faith deepens as he learns the value of charity and friendship over chasing material wealth. Instead of pursuing his ambition to return to Jerusalem, he learns patience and discovers that God is just and remains in control of times and seasons.

The descriptions are rich and captivating with the cultural, and economic imageries of the places Joshua visits such as Cordoba, Egypt and Yemen further enriching the story and captivating the readers even more. Informative interesting details about Jewish religious beliefs are covered throughout Joshua’s journey. Theological differences between different Jewish groups are covered when Joshua develops an interest in a Karaite Jewish girl.

The Merchant from Sepharad is very well-written with fascinating rich historical detail and likable, original characters. I loved it from start to finish. James Hutson-Wiley weaves a tapestry of many fascinating ideas and realms, with violence of piracy at sea, amidst exhilerating ocean expeditions, tense political and religious issues, sensual alluring romance, betrayels, and forbidden love abounding and more that kept me glued to the pages and story. The Merchant From Sepharad is an exquisite, historically rich book. I found it educative, enlightening and intriguing while becoming more familiar with the history of the Iberian Peninsula. I enjoyed Joshua’s journeys and loved his growth. An exceptional novel that fans of medieval historical novels and stories will love, The Merchant from Sepharad by James Hutson-Wiley comes highly recommended by Chick Lit Café~Bookstagram. Book proudly read and reviewed by Edith Emunah for CLC Book Reviews & Author Services.

Readers and fans; don’t miss out on this extraordinary medieval historical fiction novel.
Buy The Merchant from Sepharad by James Hutson-Wiley
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Chick Lit Café Awards First Place to
The Merchant from Sepharad by James Hutson-Wiley
for best
Medieval Historical Fiction
CLC Book Excellence Award
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