By Matt Haig
384 pages, $25.00
Free Press, December 28, 2010
There’s a bloody little secret at 17 Orchard Lane…
The Radleys are abstaining vampires.
Then one night, when forced to protect herself, Clara commits a shocking and disturbingly satisfying act of violence…
I admit it, I was hooked on the very first page. The great thing about authors who write “alternate reality” or “fantasy” books is that they can make up the rules as they go along. Forget what you’ve read or seen about vampires before now. No glittering or lack of images in mirrors. The Radleys are a new and current family of vampires. Peter and Helen chose to try to protect their children and ignore their heredity until that night when Clara loses control and the truth comes out. Oh boy does it. So much for the cover story that they are sun sensitive, and protect their skin with lots of heavy sun block.
Once Peter’s brother, the NOT abstaining Will, flies in to help with Clara and the family emergency the game changes, and none of the Radleys are ever the same again. Peter and Helen just wanted their kids to have a more normal life. And Will just wants to be appreciated. All families have their little secrets and the Radleys are no different. They go to any length to protect their family and to keep the family unit in tact. Just like we all do. And just like the rest of us, once a family relationship becomes volatile, all the nasty little secrets rise to the surface. Will they stay secrets? Or will they have to be dealt openly?
I loved the alternate reality that author Matt Haig created for the abstaining Radleys. It was believable within the vampire realm he created as Haig stayed consistent within the reality of his story. The Radleys is a well paced and brilliantly plotted mystery, with more than one twist.
Hurry up and buy The Radleys, I think you’ll love every bite.
If I gave a star rating, this would get 4 out of 5 stars!
The publisher says: “The Radleys is a radiant domestic novel that explores with daring the lengths a parent will go to protect a child, the cost of denying one’s identity, the undeniable appeal of sin, and the everlasting iridescent bonds of family love. The Radleys are a typical family living in a staid English village. Peter is an overworked doctor, whose wife, Helen, has become increasingly remote. Rowan, their teenage son, is being bullied at school, and their anemic daughter Clara, has become a vegan.”