Debut author Justina Uram takes on love, betrayal, family secrets, and political intrigue in The Cerulean Locket, a fascinating journey that delves into the lives of two intrinsically disparate characters: a larger-than-life politician who is one of the world’s most influential leaders and a poor, insignificant young woman who is part of Europe’s most oppressed ethnic minority group.

Sofi Vadoma is a marginalized Roma  from a remote village in the Dobrich Province of northeastern Bulgaria. Bright and determined, Sofi dreams of rising above her lowly status through education even though she is required to attend a segregated, reduced-curriculum school run by cruel instructors. Sofi’s reclusive mother, Nadja, has never been married. Consequently, their community ostracizes them and Sofi is bullied by her peers.

Across the Continent, René Hartenau-Hesse is the President of France. Strikingly handsome, brilliant, and wildly popular, his primary objective is to preserve France’s national security post 9/11. By all accounts, his record is untarnished, but René has a past.

A former playboy from an aristocratic family, he strives to make amends for his years of womanizing, which would have ruined his career if not for his longtime mentor, Philippe Roubert. The aging Roubert is focused on fulfilling his longterm political mission: to oust the Gypsies from France.

Back in Bulgaria, Nadja presents Sofi with a peculiar necklace, which she is instructed to keep with her at all times. When tragedy strikes, Sofi discovers that her necklace is actually a secret locket containing a clue to the past that draws her into a forgotten scandal buried by one of Europe’s most powerful families.

From the sparkling coast of the enigmatic Black Sea, through an impoverished village nestled into the folds of Bulgaria’s lush countryside, to the opulence of Paris, the City of Light,The Cerulean Locket delicately examines the tendencies of our human nature, our desire for acceptance regardless of status or circumstance, and the heart’s capacity for love and forgiveness.

The Cerulean Locket is published through Tilden Terrence Press. (Cover photo credit: pixabay | unsplash | CC0 Public Domain)