The Radleys seem like your average, albeit dysfunctional modern family who live in the small British village of Bishopthorpe. Dr. Peter Radley goes off to to his GP office each morning, while his wife Helen is a stay at home mother who focuses her attention on her family. Their two teenagers Clara and Rowan are unfortunately the school misfits and Rowan especially finds himself the target of bullies. If you look a little more closely things aren’t quite what they seem with the Radleys. You see, the main cause of dysfunction in their household is that Peter and Helen have been living a lie. They are “abstaining” vampires, and denying their true natures is not only causing strife between them, but also untold torment to their two children who have no idea of their background until one horrible night when Clara is forced to defend herself. Now Peter and Helen are forced to call upon Peter’s brother Will for help and it is this this one act that unravels all the dark secrets behind the Radley family.
When I first started reading this, despite the glowing reviews my first thought was that this was such a knockoff of last summer’s ABC show “The Gates”. But even though there were many similarities I found myself enjoying it immensely. I especially loved the characters of Clara and Rowan who at times show more maturity then the adults in this book. Interestingly enough, this novel, like the Harry Potter books have been released in two editions. The first is for adults, and the other one is for teens. I can definitely see this book appealing to both audiences. It’s got some darkly comedic moments, and some just plain horrific ones. Most of all, this is as far as the literary world goes anyway, a completely different take on vampires. It’s also an examination of middle class family life, whatever country you live in, and what untold secrets we all may be hiding.
Reviewed by Kim