Review:: The Shadow Land by Elizabeth Kostova

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 – The Shadow Land

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. (via Goodreads)

I received an eARC from Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

The Shadow Land isn’t the first book I’ve read by this author – I fell in love with The Historian last year and reviewed it. However, this book really didn’t work for me from the beginning, which led me to DNF it.

Our main character, Alexandra, came to Bulgaria to teach English because her brother loved the image of Bulgaria on a map before he went missing when she was in high school. Not the worst reason, right? Well, she also didn’t bother to learn the language before she went, and read up on the history of the country…. on the plane? From a guidebook? Who does that??

Also the taxi driver was just willing to drive her around all over the place and only charge her for the gas it was taking? The Shadow Land just had me questioning literally everything the entire 15 percent that I made it through, because it just didn’t make any kind of sense. I DNF’d The Shadow Land, without hesitation.

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