Bottled Goods


1970’s Socialist Republic of Romania. When Alina’s brother-in-law defects to the West, her and her husband’s careers come grinding to a halt. As the strain takes its toll on their marriage, Alina turns to her aunt, a secret practitioner of the old folk ways, for help.

Authors Biography

Sophie van Llewyn was born in south-eastern Romania. She has published and won awards for her flash fiction and short stories across the UK, Europe and the States. ‘Bottled Goods’ is Sophie’s debut long fiction work.


‘A superb example of the novella-in-flash genre.’ – Jude Higgins, Bath Flash Fiction Award organiser

Leave a comment about this book:


  1. Last November, I did a tour of an East-Berlin interrogation center where dissidents and various undesirables were tortured. I tried to visualize the tormented souls writhing on concrete beds, the black holes into which they were cast, the screams, but the Tour Guide and my imagination just weren’t up to the task. Maybe it was the fluorescent lighting, maybe the polemics of the Swedish Guide, maybe I was just hungry.

    All in all, it was a disappointment.

    Many times since I’ve tried to imagine the absolute hell these prisoners endured (and many times didn’t) and what it was like to live in a police state. It’s so very difficult to “get” something you’ve never experienced.

    Until I picked up Sophie van Llewyn’s Novella, Bottled Goods.

    Granted, Bottled Goods takes place in Romania, not East Berlin but the same cruel police-state, commmunist ethos applies. I finally FELT what it was like to live in those times; feel that fear, the oppressiveness, the


    In a compilation of short vignettes, aka Novella-in-Flash, Sophie has created a tense, literary\historical thriller which had my heart-racing and blood thumping all the way through. Pristine prose and carefully selected, vivid details enhanced this experience to art form.

    I could not put this book down but life forced me to read it in two long sessions. It’s got folklore, magic, drama, suspense and drop-dead, gorgeous prose. Its 150 pages pack the punch of a much longer work.

    It is one of my top reading experiences of the past year, scratch that, years! I highly recommend you get a copy as soon as it’s published on July 11th, 2018.

  2. This is a wonderful book that weaves a fascinating historical setting, about which I learned quite a bit from the book, and magical folk tales come to life, all into a gripping narrative that’s hard to put down.

  3. This is a highly original book and beautifully written, every word straight from the heart. The historical detail, the hint of magic, humour and fear, despair and hope, all so carefully and skilfully woven together.

  4. I have been following ms. Llewellyn ‘s work for some time and this is a beautiful debut. Brava!

  5. This book was at turns disturbing, heartwarming and amusing. An original approach and, overall, a delightful read.

  6. Reminds me of one of my favourite authors – the great author Herta Muller. Loved this book.

  7. Best reading in a long time! A fascinating time travel. I recommend this reading for a better understanding of the communist era!

  8. I give ‚Bottled goods‘ book 5 stars since I think it’s important for other people to learn about courage.

  9. A 5 stars book

  10. Books exist in time and place and our experience of them is affected by the specific time and place in which we encounter them. Sometimes an uplifting or inspiring book can change the path of a life that has wandered onto a wrong course. Sometimes a book, discovered early on, can form part of the foundation of your life. This is a collection of gathered stories about an unknown world in a forgotten place. This book will make you happy and push you to appreciate your life. A must read in a commercial world full of clishès.

  11. Sophie is a brilliant writer, and anyone who picks up this book won’t be disappointed.

  12. Such a beautiful book about a frightening subject. I love how Sophie intermingles harsh reality with the surreal Romanian folklore – it never feels discordant.

  13. Beautifully written. 5* Great literary fiction

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