> Bless Their Hearts Mom: Book Review: The Shadow Land by Elizabeth Kostova
Thursday, March 2, 2017

Book Review: The Shadow Land by Elizabeth Kostova

Disclosure / Disclaimer: I received this book, free of charge,from Ballatine Press,via Netgalley, for review purposes on this blog. No other compensation, monetary or in kind, has been received or implied for this post. Nor was I told how to post about it,  all opinions are my own.

From the #1 bestselling author of The Historian comes an engrossing novel that spans the past and the present—and unearths the dark secrets of Bulgaria, a beautiful and haunted country.

Bulgaria may not fit the profile for March, but this book DOES fit the meme for History Corner,
and this new book comes out next month, and needs to be on your reading list!

the shadow land cover


A young American woman, Alexandra Boyd, has traveled to Sofia, Bulgaria, hoping that life abroad will salve the wounds left by the loss of her beloved brother. Soon after arriving in this elegant East European city, however, she helps an elderly couple into a taxi—and realizes too late that she has accidentally kept one of their bags. Inside she finds an ornately carved wooden box engraved with a name: Stoyan Lazarov. Raising the hinged lid, she discovers that she is holding an urn filled with human ashes.
 As Alexandra sets out to locate the family and return this precious item, she will first have to uncover the secrets of a talented musician who was shattered by oppression—and she will find out all too quickly that this knowledge is fraught with its own danger.
Kostova’s new novel is a tale of immense scope that delves into the horrors of a century and traverses the culture and landscape of this mysterious country. Suspenseful and beautifully written, it explores the power of stories, the pull of the past, and the hope and meaning that can sometimes be found in the aftermath of loss.


This book is like a very fine whiskey- meant to be taken in sips, not all at once! I am a very fast reader, but even so, it took me 5 days of reading to finish this book, not because it is huge ( it is only 496 pages), but because there is SO much to take in, discover and learn. While fiction, the book does an excellent job of sharing the many facets if Bulgaria as a country ruled by the Turks, then by a King, and then taken over by Communism, and fighting to find it's way back to a time of light and lack of fear. Kostova's writing is hypnotic- you get LOST in the descriptions, savoring the small moments, so that time seems to fly, and you realize you will not be finishing the book quickly. But by taking the reading slowly, you get to experience it ALL- the history, the characters, the secrets, the country, and you come away with a book that stays with you long after it has ended. This is one to read on the veranda with coffee long into the morning, as the Spring air reminds you of our own history!

About the Author:

Elizabeth Kostova is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Swan Thieves and The Historian. She graduated from Yale and holds an MFA from the University of Michigan, where she won a Hopwood Award for Novel-in-Progress. She is also co-founder of the Elizabeth Kostova Foundation for Creative Writing in Bulgaria.

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