Silver in the Blood
by Jessica Day George
Review by Gayle Surrette
Bloomsbury USA Childrens Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9781619634312
Date: 07 July 2015 List Price $17.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Silver in the Blood, by Jessica Day George, is the story of two New York City young ladies, Darcia and Lou. They're cousins as their mothers are sisters. They're being taken for a European tour for their 17th birthdays. On the trip they'll visit London, shop in Paris, and finally meet their Romanian relatives on their mothers' side of the family.
Things get off to a rocky start when the families realize that Darcia is expecting a marriage proposal, so the trip starts immediately with a longer stay in London. Darcia in London get involved with a young lord and to avoid a scandal she's bundled off to Romania, skipping Paris. Lou and her family are to follow taking a longer route. This is essentially the first time the two have been apart for any extended period of time.
The book, for me, was very reminiscent of Stoker's Dracula since it is told via diary entries that then flow into a normal narrative from the viewpoint character -- either Darcia or Lou. From this structure you learn that the girls are very conscious of their place in society, and the restrictions placed upon them as women. Lou loved the structure and knowing the rules and societal expectations, while Darcia finds the rules confining.
What they didn't expect on the trip was to find that everyone was, and is, keeping things from them. A mysterious stranger speaks to Lou without an introduction and upsets her for a number of reasons. Darcia finds their favorite aunt acting very strangely. Something is going on and no one will tell them what it is. But somehow they get the impression that the two of them have a role to play in the upcoming event.
Now a days a book with a major character with the last name Dracula and a family that lives reclusively in Romania is bound to set off a number of expectations. However, Darcia and Lou may be young women of their times, but they were also brought up in America, where times are changing in small ways. They've also grown up as young ladies of privilege and wealth. They're unlikely heroes to say the least, but they are witty, clever, and loyal to their own standards of conduct.
Silver in the Blood was a nice refreshing surprise by giving some old tropes creative twists and a bit of a kick in the teeth.