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    The Shadow Land

    Set in modern Bulgaria, a young American women visiting Sophia, who while assisting an elderly couple into a taxicab, mistakenly takes a bag containing an urn of human ashes. This sets off a cross country search for the family. This journey will unearth the dark secrets of the brutal horrors of Bulgaria's communist past. Lovely writing.
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    Slow Start But Stick With It. Its Worth It!

    I received this book through Netgalley and I’m glad I did. It is a slow start but the second half moves full throttle. I enjoyed this book. It is a mystery with history of Bulgaria. I found learning about Bulgaria very interesting. The first half of the book is about an American teacher, Alexandra, accidentally keeping a family’s urn of ashes. It is the journey of Alexandra and a taxi driver, Bobby, to locate the rightful owners. They go to the police station, a monastery, family relatives and other dwellings. The first half moves slowly but the pieces come together. Seeds of suspense are dropped at various locations. The second half of the book is more about the person in the urn, a musician, and his history. There is much information about labor camps in Bulgaria from 1944 – 1984. Once you get to the halfway point, the book is hard to put down. Stick with it – it’s worth it.
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    Insightful work about Bulgarian history, culture

    I am voluntarily submitting my honest review after receiving an ARC of this ebook from NetGalley. After reading The Historian, I had high expectations going into this book. While I wasn't precisely disappointed, I can't say that The Shadow Land was better. Still, I did enjoy this book a great deal. In this work, In this work, the protagonist, an American tourist fleeing her own grief following the death of her brother, ends up with an urn containing the human remains of a stranger when she helps an elderly couple into a cab in and accidentally keeps one of their parcels. As she tries to return the urn to the rightful owners, we are taken on a exploration of the Bulgarian police state with all of its attendant horrors. But Kostova also weaves in elements of the sublime as she describes the landscape, culture and heart of Bulgaria and her people. This juxtaposition of brutality and beauty illustrates the tension created by the attempts to oppress a people who despite knowing loss, fear and evil, have found a way to endure, survive and even triumph through courage and compassion. The only flaw for me was that the ending rang false in that it was just a bit too bright. Otherwise, this was a great read that provided much insight into Bulgarian history and culture even though it is a work of fiction.
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    Lovely

    Absolutely wonderful book. Good storyline and it took me away to a different era.
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