The Shadow Land by Elizabeth Kostova. Published by Ballantine

You don’t pick up any book written by Kostova for a quick, light reading experience. Her books are deep, weighty and often dark. Such is the case with the aptly named Shadow Land. It began as a way to get over the loss of her brother…American Alexandra Boyd was traveling in Bulgaria when she helped an elderly couple into a taxi. Not until they had left did she realize they had left a piece of luggage behind. Inside the bag, she found a box engraved with the name Stoyan Lazarov, and inside the box, an urn filled with human remains. Alexandra’s quest to find the couple begins as a way to return the ashes, but also as a way of getting over her own loss. What she ultimately finds takes her deep inside one of the darkest times in modern history. Kostova’s tale is a beautiful, sad and provocative reminder of how easy it is to look the other way. In light of recent political events here in the United States, her story resonates in a frightening way

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