It is 1974 in Communist Bulgaria. Yana, a young woman living there, realises that she can’t go on living in the shadow of fear and oppression.
She must escape somehow.
Crossing the closed borders to the free world takes a feat of courage and imagination and when she finally reaches Britain, it is all she dreamt it would be. She begins to discover what liberty really means and falls in love with Daniel, an artist who seems to understand the sadness she carries for her lost homeland.
But Yana has not escaped her homeland after all; a deed she promised to carry out before she left holds her hostage to the past. She must make a choice: betray the man she loves or endanger the lives of the family she left behind.
“M. Bancheva has created an emotionally nuanced story with complex, real characters who make difficult, sometimes terrible choices in the context of the times they live in; flawed as they are, especially Yana, they are human and intensely relatable.”
Jane Shemilt, author of the Times best seller Daughter
“Bancheva writes with authority about life under communist rule; the bargains people made to escape it and a regime that’s grip on its citizenry extended beyond its national borders.”
Susan Beale, author of the Costa nominated The Good Guy
“This is a wonderful novel. M. Bancheva has done an excellent job in shaping this expansive and ambitious story.”
Tricia Wastvedt author of The River and The German Boy
Mina Bancheva was born in Sofia, Bulgaria and came to live in the UK in 1968 where she trained as a teacher of English as a Foreign Language and later, as a psychotherapist. In 2013, she completed with distinction the MA in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University and her manuscript, which later became A Secret Life was long listed for the Jankow and Nesbit literary prize. A Secret Life is the second book in a trilogy following the lives of three generations of the same family and was short-listed as one of five debut novels for the Cinnamon Literary Debut Novel Prize. Currently she lives in Bath, UK, she has one daughter and one granddaughter.