The Shadow Land by Elizabeth Kostova
First Line: Sofia, the year 2008.
Summary: When Alexandra takes a summer job in Sofia, Bulgaria she thinks that it will be the perfect way to heal the loss of her brother who disappeared on a hiking trip. But things do not turn out the way she had planned. She meets a group of three people outside a hotel but when they go their separate ways she notices that she has kept one of their bags. Inside are human ashes. With the help of the friendly taxi driver, Bobby, she is determined to find the group and return the remains. Everything is not as easy as she expected when threats and warnings start to appear as they dig deeper into whose ashes are in the urn.
Highlights: I love the pieces near the end when you get to look into the life of Stoyan Lazarov. He details his time after the war and living in Communist controlled Bulgaria. The strength that he possesses is astounding. I have read a lot about prisoners during the Holocaust and it always scares me plus amazes me the will power and strength these people have.
Lowlights: The middle is slow moving as they are traveling around Bulgaria looking for the relatives of Stoyan. It was a lot of detail gathering and talking that leads up till the ending but it got long.
FYI: Read her other book, The Historian! Amazing read. But make sure you keep the lights on.