In this enchanting and darkly imaginative debut novel full of myth, magic, romance, and mystery, a Princeton freshman is drawn into a love triangle with two enigmatic brothers, and discovers terrifying secrets about her family and herself—a bewitching blend of Twilight, The Secret History, Jane Eyre, and A Discovery of Witches.
Arriving at Princeton for her freshman year, Thea Slavin finds herself alone, a stranger in a strange land. Away from her family and her Eastern European homeland for the first time, she struggles to adapt to unfamiliar American ways and the challenges of college life—including an enigmatic young man whose brooding good looks and murky past intrigue her. Falling into a romantic entanglement with Rhys and his equally handsome and mysterious brother, Jake, soon draws Thea into a sensual mythic underworld as irresistible as it is dangerous.
In this shadow world that seems to mimic Greek mythology and the Bulgarian legends of the Samodivi or “wildalones”—forest witches who beguile and entrap men—she will discover a shocking secret that threatens everything she holds dear. And when the terrifying truth about her own family is revealed, it will transform her forever . . . if she falls under its spell.
Mesmerizing and addictive, The Wildalone is a thrilling blend of the modern and the fantastic. Krassi Zourkova creates an atmospheric world filled with rich characters as fascinating and compelling as those of Diana Gabaldon, Deborah Harkness, and Stephenie Meyer.
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Theodora Slavin grows up in Bulgaria under the watchful eye of her parents. At an early age she finds a piano locked away in her house, drawn to it's mystery and beauty Thea seems to already know how to play. Thea is allowed to continue to play, under certain conditions. Before leaving for college, a music scholarship to Princeton in the United States, Thea learns of several family secrets- a missing child and a link to the Bulgarian myth of the samodivi. These stories will affect Thea as she enters schools and tries to solve the mysteries on her own, but two alluring brothers, Rhys and Jake ensnare Thea into their own world.
Intriguing and addicting, I felt like I raced through Wildalone. The seamless blending of mythologies into everyday life brought out a magical quality. I just had to know what happened to Elza, the missing girl, and what the connection was to the samodivi. I enjoyed learning about this Bulgarian folktale as well as the other mythologies that blended into it, such as Orpheus and Eurydice. Through beautiful prose, the writing brought out an ominous but beautiful setting, the Princeton campus, large empty houses and even Carnegie Hall. Everywhere Thea goes doesn't seem quite safe, but may hold the key to solving the mystery of Elza. Of course, the brothers presented a problem. Creepy and controlling, Rhys is the one Elza falls for, while Jake, kindhearted and mysterious is pushed to the background. As much as I hate love triangles, the brother's world still drew me in and created a way for Thea to find out more about the mysteries she is trying to solve.
Krassi Zourkova grew up in Bulgaria and came to the United States to study art history at Princeton. After college, she graduated from Harvard Law School, and she has practiced finance law in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles, where she currently lives. Her poems have appeared in various literary journals. Wildalone is her first novel.
Follow Krassi on Twitter, @zourkova.