by Elizabeth Kostova
I loved Kostova's first book, The Historian, but was less enamoured with The Swan Thieves. As I started The Shadow Land, I was looking for the dark underworld - perhaps some more vampires? It took me quite a while to let go of that idea and realize that this is just an absolutely captivating, suck-you-in-and-transport-you-to-a-different-world piece of historical fiction. The descriptions of 20th and 21st century Bulgaria are exceptional, and the characters are sympathetic from the first chapter. An excellent read.