Alexandra, 26, is headed to her new job teaching English in Bulgaria when, exhausted from hours of traveling and confused at having been dropped off at the wrong hotel, she reaches out to help an elderly woman get into a cab. As the car pulls away, Alexandra hails a taxi to take her to her hostel but discovers that she has accidentally picked up the old woman's satchel, which contains a beautiful box labeled with the name Stoyan Lazarov and filled with ashes. This is the story of her hunt to track down Stoyan Lazarov's family and return his remains to them. After checking in with the local police, Alexandra and her cab driver, Bobby, set off to locate the urn's owner. Following a slim trail of clues, they learn that the Communist takeover of Bulgaria came with an iron fist that enslaved thousands of suspected resistors, including the gentle Stoyan Lazarov. The more clues they uncover, the more the past catches up with them, until they, too, become a part of the mystery and find themselves in grave danger. This novel brings a horrific period of history to life, encapsulated in a mystery and stoked by Alexandra's determination to return Stoyan Lazarov to his family regardless of the danger. Interweaving tales juxtapose the past with the present as the mystery unfolds. VERDICT Those who enjoy a deep dive into the complicated lives of people both historical and contemporary will love this book.
“A compelling and complex mystery, strong storytelling, and lyrical writing combine for an engrossing read.”—Publishers Weekly