Linden St. Clair is working overseas when she learns her beloved grandfather has passed away under suspicious circumstances. Returning home, she discovers he has left her an old family journal, as well as clues to an explosive family secret. The journal, written by Leena Weiss, Linden’s great-great grandmother, recalls the woman’s early years as a German girl living in a small Russian village. Leena’s life is turned upside down when a Russian army officer turns her into his object of affection. Caught in a difficult situation, Leena soon finds herself living a life on the run, pursued by the Okhrana, a secret police organization and predecessor to the KGB. A century later, Linden peels back shadowy layers, exposing clues and secrets. Despite her professional security team, she and her family remain pawns in a deadly game that extends beyond borders and crisscrosses the globe. Available now on Amazon and other online bookstores.
What People Are Saying
In the eighteenth century, Catherine the Great enticed German farmers to settle in Russia. The German communities remained distinct from the Russians linguistically and culturally. Mangano is descended from such German settlers in Russia, as is her modern-day protagonist, Linden St. Clair. The contemporary side of the novel revolves around Linden trying to uncover the truth behind the death of her beloved grandfather, Franklin, a wealthy rancher in rural Somerville, California. The second story comes from the memoirs of Linden’s great-great grandmother, Leena Lagerlöf, née Weiss, an ethnic German born in Russia, who fled in the last days of the czars. Both tales speak of lost loves and of truths dangerous and hidden. As each narrative unfolds, Leena and Franklin’s connection becomes clearer, merging in the end to a single, multigenerational tale of international intrigue. 4 stars — Foreword Reviews
Linden St. Clair returns to her hometown of Somerville, Calif., after the death of her beloved grandfather, who raised her after the deaths of her parents. The mystery surrounding his death only intensifies when Linden realizes her grandfather left her a journal belonging to his own grandmother who lived in czarist Russia. The diary contains the key to revealing some family secrets and, possibly, her grandfather’s killer. While the central plot twist (no spoilers here) is a little melodramatic, it works thanks to Mangano’s well-developed characters and airtight mystery. She clearly establishes connections between the past and present storylines and…keeps straight the complicated relationships among the characters and their families. Linden is an appealing lead—a strong, smart, levelheaded stand-in for the reader as she unearths the “frightening truth.”…The mystery is tense and suspenseful, as Linden tries to survive a “covert world…of crossing and double-crossing.” Mangano has deliberately ended the novel on a bit of a cliffhanger, leaving the door open for a sequel. — Kirkus Reviews
A finely-crafted tale of two unforgettable women, born centuries apart, whose lives of secret parallel danger coincide in a suspenseful saga. Julie Mangano has deftly woven in a little-known history of the German and Russian peoples with a story that reaches down through the ages following decades of intrigue, spying, and murder to culminate in a shocking yet satisfying finale. A great read. — Jill Amadio, Author, Digging Too Deep: A Tosca Trevant Mystery
It all starts with a death. Or was it a murder? If you like mysteries and intrigue, this is a book you can’t put down. It’s part historical novel, part modern day puzzle. I loved that it was written in the style of Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code, with chapters flipping back and forth between the two compelling time frames. — Suzy Soro, Author, Celebrity sTalker
Julie Mangano has written a compelling novel. The unusual twists and turns kept me reading it with happy interest. A perfect book for vacations. — Debra Silverman, M.A., Author, The Missing Element, Compassion for the Human Condition
This is a fascinating book about the historical roots of Germans in Russia. It is also a tale of international intrigue and one family. Meticulously researched and beautifully written. I had trouble putting it down. — Charles G. Campbell
The stunning debut of Julie Mangano’s “Braha” has me thinking I have found my new favorite author. The deftly plotted story was brilliant and solid, with interesting and well-defined characters. The writing flowed smoothly and Julie has certainly done her research. — R. Berg
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