April 2017 Indie Next List
“This is one of the most engrossing novels that I've read in a while. It is ultimately a road trip through the beautiful haunted land of Bulgaria. An American woman arrives to teach English and inadvertently picks up the wrong bag while getting into a taxi. The bag holds a beautiful wooden box containing human remains. Her helpful, enigmatic taxi driver takes her into Bulgaria's unsettled present in search of the family that surely wants the urn back. It is the fleshing out (pun intended) of the person embodied by the ashes that makes this work intriguing and heart-wrenching. This novel about self-discovery and historical reconciliation is thrilling, introspective, and very well paced.”
— Dianne Patrick (W), Snowbound Books, Marquette, MI
Summer 2018 Reading Group Indie Next List
“In Sofia, Bulgaria, a young American woman mourning the loss of a beloved brother has a chance encounter with an elderly couple. She helps them into a cab; a satchel is left behind. When Alexandra opens the bag, what she finds sets her on a path that will take her into Sofia’s charged political past. Kostova plunges the reader into a web of political oppression, horror, and personal danger. As in The Historian, Kostova weaves a page-turner that takes the reader through historic places and darker days while introducing characters that are essential to good storytelling.”
— Joanie Goodrow, Where the Sidewalk Ends, Chatham, MA
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.