Silver in the Blood
By Jessica Day George
Bloomsbury, 2015. 368 pgs. Young Adult.
Seventeen year old cousins Dacia and Lou are thrilled to travel across Europe to meet their mothers’ noble Romanian family. Shy Lou is especially excited to escape her debutante responsibilities in New York society for a time, while Dacia is looking forward to flirting her way across the continent. Their Aunt Kate’s increasingly odd behavior and a series of mysterious encounters with a stranger who calls them The Wing and The Claw set their nerves on edge as they travel, however. By the time they arrive in Romania and meet their numerous cousins (all male), their stoic aunts and uncles, and their decidedly un-grandmotherly grandmother, Lady Ioana, the girls are suspicious of the Florescu clan and their family friend, Mihai Dracula. As they uncover the Florescus’ dangerous and magical secrets, Lou and Dacia must choose between following their family and doing what is right.
Fans of Jessica Day George may find Silver in the Blood a little surprising, since it differs from her other books in setting and tone. Unlike her fairy tale retellings and fantasy novels, it has a historical setting and a darker feel. The plot took a while to get going, but once the girls finally piece together what is happening, it gallops along nicely. I did find the diary entries and letters interspersed throughout the novel unnecessary, since they rarely revealed anything new. Overall, though, I enjoyed the story, especially the conclusion and the character development. In spite of the werewolves and vampires, Silver in the Blood is less a paranormal romance than it is a clever historical fantasy twist on Bram Stoker.