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Silver in the Blood

Silver in the Blood

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Silver in the Blood

3.5/5 (29 ratings)
359 pages
4 hours
Jul 7, 2015


Two girls struggle with their dark family heritage in this lush historical fantasy perfect for fans of Cassandra Clare and Kendare Blake.

As debutantes in 1890s New York City, cousins Dacia and Lou knew little about their mysterious Romanian relatives, the Florescus. Now, upon turning seventeen, the girls must journey to Romania--a journey that seems to be both reward and punishment--to meet their cousins and their tyrant of a grandmother and to learn the secrets of their family. Secrets spoken of in whispers. Dangerous secrets known as the Claw, the Wing, and the Smoke.

But as dangerous as those family secrets might be, even more dangerous is the centuries-old bond between the Florescus and the royal Dracula family, and it seems that it's time for Dacia and Lou to give up their life in New York society and take their place among the servants of the Draculas. When the devilish heir, Mihai Dracula, sets his sights on Dacia as part of his evil, power-hungry plan, the girls must accept or fight against this cruel inheritance. Do they have the courage to break the shackles of their upbringing and set the course of their own destiny?
Jul 7, 2015

About the author

JESSICA DAY GEORGE is the New York Times bestselling author of the Tuesdays at the Castle series, the Twelve Dancing Princesses series, and the Dragon Slippers trilogy. Originally from Idaho, she studied at Brigham Young University and worked as a librarian and bookseller before turning to writing full-time. She now lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, with her husband and their three young children. www.jessicadaygeorge.com @jessdaygeorge

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Silver in the Blood - Jessica Day George



Dacia picked up her book and put it down again. It was good, but rather lurid, with a ghost haunting some young woman trapped in a castle in Yorkshire. She’d bought it on her last day in England, and just couldn’t summon the energy to finish it. Aunt Kate kept accusing her of pouting, but pouting was the furthest thing from her mind. She hated to admit it, even to Lou, but Dacia was worried.

Worrying was not something that she did a great deal. Dacia was who she was, and she made no apologies for it. One didn’t get to be the most widely admired young lady in fashionable New York by apologizing or worrying. She knew the boundaries of good taste, and she never crossed them.

Or at least, she had never crossed them before she went to London, met Lord Johnny, and nearly ruined everything. And now she was restless and worried. Restlessness was something she knew well. She had felt this same restlessness all her life.

But worried was a different matter.

She knew that her mother would scream and shout and confine her to her room when she got home, but she didn’t know when that would be. What Dacia feared more was that her mother would make Dacia stay in Romania for years, cut off from real society as punishment. Romania was hardly a backwater, nor would Dacia be living alone in some hut. Bucharest was indeed fashionable, and her mother’s family was extremely wealthy. Dacia had scores of aunts, uncles, and cousins there, so she would hardly pine for company. But to be trapped there for years? It could not be contemplated.

And how much trouble was she in, really? Would her parents see temporary exile as punishment enough, or would they take stronger measures when she returned to New York? They knew everything, of course. Aunt Kate had sent a telegram immediately, and her mother’s answering telegram had resulted in Dacia being hustled onto that dreadful ship. It was only by the sheerest luck that she had managed to break away from Aunt Kate to duck into a bookstore and buy the first two novels that she laid eyes on. Aunt Kate had decided not to add this to Dacia’s list of crimes, however, when she came to the realization that a bored Dacia with nothing to do or read on a long journey would make life hell for her aunt.

Or, more of a hell than her aunt was already suffering. And that was the other thing that worried Dacia.

She had looked forward to visiting Romania all her life. The journey had been dangled before her like a treat for when she was old enough as long as she could remember. It had never been clear when that would be—until gossip indicated that Will Carver had asked his grandmother for her sapphire engagement ring. There was no other young lady in New York he might offer it to but Dacia. But before he even had the chance, Aunt Kate whisked her away to England to acquire some polish before meeting Lou and Lou’s parents in Bucharest. To travel the world with Aunt Kate had been even more appealing to Dacia than receiving Will Carver’s proposal. But now that Dacia was in disgrace, Aunt Kate was talking of their journey as though it were a punishment instead of a reward. Three months had become six, so that they could stay for Christmas, and Aunt Kate had begun to hint that even six months might not be long enough to mend Dacia’s wild ways.

Not knowing how long that alleged treat would last was a bit alarming, but not half as alarming as Aunt Kate’s behavior. Her aunt, a fixture in Dacia’s life since the day she was born, was quite simply not herself, and Dacia had decided that she couldn’t take the blame for all of Aunt Kate’s behavior. Her chilliness on the ship was certainly because of her disappointment in Dacia, but once they boarded the train? No. That was something else. The closer they got to Bucharest, the more tension radiated from her aunt.

Romania was Kate’s home—her childhood home, anyway. Her mother was here, her brothers, cousins, her dozens of nephews. Yet to Dacia’s knowledge her aunt had not been back since moving to New York at age twenty with her two sisters.

And even now, as their train lurched through the countryside, her aunt was smoothing the lapels of her traveling suit with her gloved hands. Smoothing them over and over. Adjusting the belt of her skirt. Repinning her hat. Adjusting her gloves. Dacia had never seen her aunt fidget before. The book Aunt Kate was supposedly reading had long ago slid down her skirts and onto the floor of their compartment, and Kate appeared not to have noticed.

What was waiting for them in Bucharest that could make Aunt Kate nervous?

The train lurched to a stop, and now Dacia’s book slithered down her skirts to the floor. When she picked it up, she picked up Aunt Kate’s as well and gave it to her. Her aunt made no comment, but opened the book to the middle and made the appearance of reading. Dacia watched her aunt over the top of her own novel and saw that Kate didn’t turn the page or move her eyes at all, just stared blindly at the words until the train started up again. When several men strode down the corridor outside their compartment, Aunt Kate put the book aside and didn’t even pretend not to listen.

Quite repulsive. And they’ve no idea how it got there. The man spoke Romanian, with aristocratic accents, and the scent of cigar smoke wafted into the compartment.

Some animal dragged it onto the tracks and had to run off without its kill when the train came, most likely, another man said.

What sort of animal can kill something that large? The first man sounded almost admiring. That’s a whole cow out there!

Wolves, perhaps, his companion supplied. They hunt in packs, you know . . .

Dacia wrinkled her nose, but quickly unwrinkled it when she saw Aunt Kate’s face. Rather than being mildly disgusted, her aunt had gone quite white.

The train had just reached its normal speed when it slowed again. The only good news was that this time it didn’t stop, but continued crawling along as though it might have to call a halt at any moment. Dacia sighed. This was the longest journey of her life, and the combination of boredom and tension was about to send her screaming down the corridor for air or excitement or something. How did one write a travel journal that would be even remotely interesting to readers? The only thing of note that Dacia had to look at was Aunt Kate’s taut mouth, and it was only notable to her, not to mention extremely worrisome.

The shade was down over the window to the corridor, but it didn’t quite meet the window frame. Through that crack Dacia saw the red-and-gold livery of a train conductor, and made an abrupt decision. Without asking permission, she tossed aside her book, leaped up, and opened the door into the corridor.

Hello there, she practically shouted in English, momentarily forgetting her Romanian.

The conductor jumped, startled by her sudden greeting.

Good evening, miss, he said in Romanian, tipping his cap.

Dacia gathered herself to answer in that language. What seems to be the problem, if I may ask? We are going dreadfully slowly. Not something wrong with the train, is there? Dacia knew she was babbling and forced herself to stop.

Not at all, miss, he said. He gave her a rueful smile. Just some pests bothering the train.

Some pests? She looked down. She could not abide mice. She had had a spirited argument with Lord Johnny back in London that this was neither a sign of squeamishness nor cowardice, but merely practicality on the part of one who had to wear a great many long skirts and petticoats.

A pack of wolves, miss. They’re running alongside the tracks, and sometimes they dart across, like they’re daring each other to play with the train. The driver slowed down so he wouldn’t hit any of them, thinks it’s bad luck. I say, that’s one less dumb animal in the world, and who cares? He shrugged. Now they’ve gone and left something . . . unpleasant on the tracks, the filthy beasts.

What a completely appalling attitude, Aunt Kate said coldly. She had risen and was looming over Dacia’s shoulder.

The conductor stared past Dacia at Aunt Kate as if he’d seen a ghost. He made a weird little noise in his throat that might have been a whimper.

"Wolves are not only far smarter than you think; they are far smarter than you," Aunt Kate snapped at the man. Then she latched on to Dacia’s elbow and pulled her niece inside the compartment, locking the door behind them.

Aunt Kate settled herself back in her seat with a small huffing noise and picked up her book again. Don’t fraternize with the staff, Dacia; it’s common.

Asking after problems with the train isn’t fraternizing with the staff; it’s merely being cautious, Dacia countered, but her heart wasn’t really in the argument.

Nor was Aunt Kate’s. She ignored Dacia for the next hour, staring out the window with what seemed to be a very real absorption. Aunt Kate’s eyesight was excellent (Dacia and Lou had many times bemoaned both her keen eyesight and hearing as children), but Dacia was quite as sharp-eyed and she couldn’t see anything out of the darkened glass at all. Clearly her aunt was just trying to keep her from talking. Although this wasn’t unusual with Aunt Kate, it was unnerving now the way she kept her eyes glued to the window, and Dacia could actually smell the tension rolling off her aunt.

The silence went on for so long that Dacia stopped herself twice from asking her aunt what on earth was the matter with her. She decided instead to break the quiet with an innocuous comment about British fashions, when the creeping train came to a complete halt and the night air was shattered by gunshots. Aunt Kate leaped up as though she had been struck by lightning and went to the door of the compartment. Dacia half rose, and her aunt gave her a Look.

Stay here. Don’t move. Don’t speak to anyone.

Kate went out, slamming the door behind her.

Dacia waited for ten minutes, which she felt showed herculean forbearance on her part.

What finally drove her from the compartment was the sound of running in the corridor, followed by more gunshots and shouts from outside the train. Her heart was pounding and her legs shook when she stood, but if bandits were attacking them, she certainly wasn’t going to sit in her compartment and wait for someone to attack her. And where in heaven’s name was Aunt Kate?

The corridor was eerily silent. The shades of every other compartment were closed, and the train seemed almost abandoned. She wanted to go to the front of the train and demand to know what was happening, but the gunshots were coming from that direction and Aunt Kate had gone to the rear. Dacia was certain that her aunt knew more than she was letting on, so she decided that following Aunt Kate was the better idea.

But by the time she had reached the second-to-last car there was no sign of her aunt, and she worried that she had passed her in one of the compartments. Dacia hoped that she hadn’t been foolish enough to get off the train entirely! The last car was a smoking car for the gentlemen, and Dacia could not imagine her aunt setting foot in there. Not only would it be highly improper, but Kate was very sensitive to strong odors. She often claimed that she had never married because she couldn’t find a man who didn’t reek of cigars.

Still, Dacia was sure that her aunt had gone this way. And she could see a dim figure through the back window, standing on the deck in front of the smoking car. Taking a deep breath, because she also had a sensitive nose, Dacia opened the back door.

To her utmost shock, she discovered Aunt Kate wrapped in the arms of a tall man in a long cloak. Dacia nearly choked on her own breath. She had never seen two people kiss so passionately, and had certainly never suspected her Aunt Kate of being capable of such . . . scandalous intimacy.

"Aunt Kate!" She found her voice.

The couple broke apart, and Aunt Kate turned toward her as though there were nothing out of the ordinary, despite her red lips and disheveled hair. The man bowed as elegantly as if they were in a ballroom. Then he gathered up his cloak and leaped off the train, disappearing into the darkness.

I told you to stay in the compartment, Aunt Kate said coolly.

She went past Dacia into the train and started down the corridor without looking back. Not knowing what else to do, Dacia followed her in silence. At the door of their compartment, the conductor was waiting for them, wringing his hands. His face went white again when Aunt Kate looked at him, but he gathered himself to speak.

"You have to put a stop to this, doamna mea, the man said with respect and even a little fear. Dacia could hardly blame him, but she did think it was a bit much to address her aunt as my lady."

They were only paying tribute, Aunt Kate said, her tone even icier than before. They have our attention, and are done now.

The man began to babble his thanks, but Aunt Kate ignored him as she went into the compartment. As they sat down and took up their books again, Aunt Kate leveled one of her sternest Looks at Dacia.

Don’t ever disobey me again, she said.

Dacia was dying to ask who that man was, and who was trying to pay tribute to them, and to get out her stationery and write down the whole incident for Lou, but she did nothing. Instead she found the marker in her book, opened it up, and from behind this barrier announced softly, "I haven’t done anything wrong."


26 April 1897

To my dear Dacia,

I am writing to you even though this letter will probably reach you long after I arrive in Bucharest and we are together again. Even so, I must confide this strange thing that has happened to me, and I know that Mama and Papa would be very upset if I were to tell them. I have no desire to be mewed up in my cabin for the remainder of the journey, and I am sure that would be the consequence of my confidence.

There, enough teasing (you know I didn’t mean to)! I will tell you that yesterday as I took the air upon the west deck, a strange young man approached me. There was no one else nearby, and I was watching the waves by myself. (They are quite mesmerizing, and I am often drawn to the promenade.) Quite suddenly there was a man at my elbow! I did not see him approach, he was simply there. He was very tan, or perhaps naturally swarthy, with very dark hair that had a reddish tint because of the setting sun. I had ample time to note all this, you see, as he also looked me over in the most blatant fashion! I became quite flushed and turned to walk away, when he began speaking to me.

Are you the wing? he said.

I stopped because it was such an odd question, and I did not understand it. I could not help myself: I turned and looked at him inquiringly. He had very dark eyes, almost black, and he was staring at me so intently I felt quite . . . well, quite naked, if you must know!

Are you the wing? He said it again, and looked me up and down yet again! You are not the claw, and there is never a smoke anymore.

Complete gibberish, Dacia! What was I to do? I simply goggled at him for a moment. When I gathered myself, I started to turn away again, when he said, You are the wing; I see it now.

Whatever that meant, I decided that it was outside of enough, and I gave him one of Aunt Kate’s patented Looks. I’m sure you can guess which one, and many of New York’s freshest young men would recognize it as well!

Sir, I said, the sun has gone to your head, I’m afraid. First you address me without an introduction, and now you are speaking in riddles. Good day!

I marched away and went to my cabin as quickly as I could, but I was quite shaken, and not the least by my own boldness. It was all I could do to dress for dinner, and Mama and Papa were afraid that I had taken too much sun myself. I felt so queer that I almost confided in them, but I could not bring myself to do so in the end. And so I confide to you, Dacia, to unburden my heart and imagine your indignation, even though I cannot witness it firsthand.

I know that you are jealous of our stop in Paris, and would love to spend days looking in all the shops and seeing all the sights, so I know that my reluctance will be a shock to you, for I would much rather we stopped not at all, and hastened onward to Romania. For even one such as I, ever chided for not being much in conversation, longs to have my bosom friend nearby so that you and I may speak face-to-face again. Please do not think me a goose for this, if you get this letter before I arrive!



P.S. Rather thought you’d like this clipping I found upon our arrival! I don’t know who Mr. Arkady is, but look at the next paragraph!



All of Paris is agog at two new bachelors from foreign lands who have chosen to grace our fair city with their presence. The first eligible gentleman is Mr. Theophilus Arkady of Istanbul, lately arrived in our city on business. But despite his refusal to explain what this business might be, Mr. Arkady (the son of a prominent Turkish family) has been seen strolling the many parks and boulevards of Paris, quite sadly alone. We hope that Mr. Arkady finds someone to share his walks with soon. A noted opera lover, Mr. Arkady has also taken a box at the Paris Opera. Will he be staying the entire season? Certain young ladies breathlessly await the answer to that question!

And American society is surely the poorer for having lost Mr. William Carver, son of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Carver of New York City, who has been seen in our many parks and public gardens with his sketchbook in hand. Mr. Carver is a noted amateur artist, and we are sure that he has found ample inspiration in our Parisian beauties to occupy his brush for some time.

Monsieur and Madame Duchosne have been gadding about, despite her delicate cond—


Lou had once had a governess who recommended she have a cold bath daily followed by two large spoonfuls of cod liver oil, to cure her of her nerves. She was very lucky in that, rather than taking the governess’s advice, her father had simply dismissed the woman.

My Louisa doesn’t suffer from nerves, Mr. Neulander had insisted. She is a tender child, and shy. I refuse to have her dunked in ice water every morning. It’s more torture than cure!

Lou’s mother had protested at first. The governess’s references had been impeccable: one of the Vanderbilt children had been in her care previously. But since Lou had never struck her as being nervous, either, she let the matter drop. In the end, Lou and Dacia had shared a governess: a kindly, rather horse-faced woman who spoke impeccable French as well as Romanian, having had a Romanian mother just like Lou and Dacia. Though this didn’t improve Lou’s shyness one whit, it was markedly better than being tipped into cold water like a Puritan accused of witchcraft.

Now that they were in Paris, however, Lou was feeling decidedly nervy, and wondered if she should order a cold bath the next morning. Of course, that would mean requesting such a thing from Vivienne, the frightening maid the hotel had assigned to Lou. Lou was doing everything possible for herself in an effort to avoid Vivienne. She missed Millie, her maid back home in New York, with great ferocity. Millie had a cheerful face and a snub nose covered with freckles, and brought Lou hot chocolate when she woke, without being asked. She knew just how Lou liked her room and her clothes and her food, and she never seemed to be judging any of her preferences.

Lou had actually dared argue with her mother about bringing Millie, but Maria had been adamant that they not bring any of their servants, including her own lady’s maid and Lou’s father’s valet, which displeased Mr. Neulander a great deal. Maria had insisted that her family’s properties in Romania were well staffed and so were the hotels, and thus there was no need. Now that Lou had encountered a real French maid, however, her mother’s foible had gone beyond oddity to causing her outright distress.

Added to the strain of travel, of being in a strange place and meeting strange people every day, having snobbish maids who pretended they didn’t understand you even though you had been told for years that your French was perfect, there was also That Awful Man to deal with.

That Awful Man, as Lou had dubbed him, was the man from the ship who had approached her without invitation and spoken so strangely. He was here, in Paris, and he seemed to appear out of nowhere whenever Lou left the house. She saw him watching her as she strolled the boulevards with her family, saw him sitting alone a few tables away at restaurants, even saw him on the bank of the Seine as they took a riverboat cruise. He was tall and dark, and perhaps twenty years old. His clothes were good, without being exceptional, and he was always watching her. Every time he was near, Lou felt the most uncomfortable tingle up her spine, and she was coming to dread leaving the hotel.

What if he approached her again? What if he spoke to her? His words were meaningless, truly, but there was something upsetting about them all the same. He didn’t appear mad, and yet he spoke nonsense with the greatest air of conviction! She wished Dacia were there, and not only so they could discuss the strange events that her cousin had witnessed. Lou had gotten a letter from Dacia that very morning, describing Aunt Kate’s scandalous tryst on the train and her enigmatic words about someone (or something) paying tribute.

Full of questions about this, Lou didn’t even notice as That Awful Man sidled up to her outside a milliner’s shop. Her mother was still inside, trying on hats, and had asked Lou to step out on the sidewalk and wait for her father, who was meeting them for lunch.

The day was beautiful: the spring sunshine sparkling off the glass windows of the shops, and the Parisians out in their finest pastels. Lou tried to put the scandal with Aunt Kate and the man on the train out of her mind and enjoy the weather and the glory of being in Paris, when she felt that sensation travel up her spine.

You are the Wing, I see it clearly, said a voice behind her.

She whirled to see That Awful Man standing no more than a pace away.

And you are more than that, he said. You are a houri, taunting me with your gray eyes and your delectable form!

Once again, his words did not make sense, although that bit about her delectable form sounded quite vulgar, and Lou was absolutely at the end of her tether. Without thinking, she raised her still-furled parasol and struck him about the head and shoulders with a violence that surprised both of them.

He shouted an oath in some unknown language and ran off. Lou looked after him for a moment, panting, and screamed when someone came up behind her and asked if she was all right. She spun around to see her father standing there with a concerned look, and promptly burst into tears. Mr. Neulander quickly hailed a hansom and took her back to the hotel, where she lay on her bed with a cool cloth over her eyes until evening. Her mother insisted that she take supper on a tray in her room, and Lou did not object, but while everyone else was dining she pulled on a dress and went downstairs to the hotel library, to look up the word houri.

Then she rather wished she hadn’t.


4 May 1897

The ship from London to Greece was deathly boring. The train from Greece to Romania (Bucharest, to be exact) was grimy yet interesting. But the last few days shut in this house with no callers and no one to talk to but the servants were truly awful! I thought that I was brought here to get close to my mother’s family,

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What people think about Silver in the Blood

29 ratings / 22 Reviews
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Reader reviews

  • (3/5)
    A lot I liked (the main characters, the setting, the premise) but the romance felt false and certain resolutions felt contrived.
  • (3/5)
    The Claw, The Wing & The Smoke...

    The beginning of this book started out pretty iffy for me. The main characters, cousins Dacia & Lou, came across as superficial, flighty and immature and the majority of the dialogue focused on what they were wearing, what boys they liked and what shops they were going to visit while on vacation.

    I listened to the audio and the narrator's voice, although it reflected the flighty characters personalities perfectly, it was also rather annoying. About midway through, the plot finally took a turn for the better and Dacia & Lou gained a little more depth in their characters. The narrator seemed to reflect that too in her tone and I started enjoying both book and narrator a lot more- not enough to rate it 5 stars or anything but enough to finish the story at least.

    I think the story with its shapeshifters, Dracula family origins and Romanian setting had the potential to be much more then it was but it just wasn't executed very well. The plot waa thin at best. The Romanian culture was hardly touched on and the characters left much to be desired. The tone of the book also seemed geared more toward children's middle grade then young adults. I would say the last quarter of the book was probably the strongest but, it was a case of- too little, too late!

    *I read this for my 2016 Halloween Bingo: ~Vampires vs. Werewolves~ square

    **Booklikes has been sooo slow today & yesterday for me that I can't do anything on there so I'm only posting here on GR until it's fixed.

  • (4/5)
    Fun supernatural historical ya fantasy - young wealthy cousins from NYC visit mysterious family in Romania in the late 19th. Reminded me a little of Sorcery and Cecelia.
  • (3/5)
    Set in the late 1800's this book is about two young NYC debutantes who are off to Europe to see the continent, shop, and learn about their Romanian heritage. And it's not vampires that lurk in the family closet. Instead cousins Dacia and Lou come from a line of shape shifters who wield amazing power.This is the first in a series, and it definitely shows promise. But I felt this book spent too much time setting the stage. Also the characters seemed a little shallow and predictable, although the premise of shape shifting is innovative. The audiobook is narrated by Sandy Rustin, who does a nice job with accents and changing voices for the different characters. My only bone about her performance is that Lou and Dacia's voices sound very bubbly and young. It made it difficult to take them seriously.I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
  • (4/5)
    I was pleased to win a copy of this audiobook production of Silver in the Blood through the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program. This audiobook was excellent, the narrator, Sandy Rustin, did a fantastic job of voicing the characters which only enhanced this enthralling book. Silver in the Blood is the story of Dacha and her cousin Lou who have traveled to Romania to learn about their family history as well as the mysterious legacy that is a part of their birthright. When they find out the truth about their legacy Dacha is distraught whereas Lou accepts her special gift more readily. I don't want to go into more detail to avoid spoiling this wonderful read but the book is well written and deeply atmospheric. I loved seeing both young women become more self aware especially Lou who gains confidence and poise when she discovers her power. The ending indicates that there will be a sequel and I'm excited to read or listen to the next volume.
  • (3/5)
    Note: I received a free copy of this book from LibraryThing in exchange for an honest review.Silver in the Blood is a historical fantasy involving two very close cousins who discover a "Terrible Family Secret" and then have to deal with the consequences. It was refreshing to find heroines willing to buck the system here and defy expectations though the characters themselves felt somewhat flat. In particular, the villains were very one-dimensional. One of them, without giving spoilers, manages to demonstrate his cruelty and malice without displaying anything more human. Still, Jessica Day George knows how to keep the reader entertained. I kept reading to find out what would happen next, because I needed to know how things turned out. It reminded me of the old Dear America books, particularly the diary excerpts.Did I like this book? Yes. Would I read the sequel? Yes. Would I recommend it? Maybe, maybe not.
  • (4/5)
    I received a free copy of this audiobook in exchange for an honest review. This was a perfect choice for a spooky October read. The story was very intriguing with shapeshifters, references to the Dracula family, and a Romanian setting. I really liked the letters and diary entries throughout the story as well. The narrator did a pretty good job with the voices of the different characters but I had a hard time in the beginning keeping straight which point of view I was hearing. Although I would have liked to learn more about the silver in the blood which is only briefly mentioned, the story kept me entertained and I really enjoyed it.
  • (5/5)
    [Full disclosure: I received this audio book as part of the LibraryThing's Early Reviewers program in exchange for my honest review]This was a very interesting book. While I usually don't go for supernatural-type books, the blurb on the back of this one intrigued me, so I chose to sign up for the giveaway. I'm glad I did. First, the narration was very well-done. She had a different voice for each character, though sometimes the shift was subtle, and she made me feel like I was there. She certainly furthered my enjoyment of the book. The setting and characters seem believable, as well as appropriate for that time period (1897-ish New York, Paris, and Romania). The thing I really loved about this book, though, was how the two female leads, Lou (short for Louisa) and Dacia, seemed so... '''''real'''''. What I mean is, their personalities are well-fleshed-out in the beginning of the book as well as throughout, and easy to root for. I felt that they acted how I would expect young ladies from upper-class families '''would''' act at the turn of the century in New York. This "realism" carried on, even when the life-changing event happens about mid-way to 3/4 of the way through the book. The girls each shift personality-wise, but that shift still feels authentic. I also love the fact that both girls may be "proper ladies", but they are still spitfires in their own right. They will fight when need be, and they're pretty good at doing so while still remaining "classy." I also loved the Bram Stoker's '''Dracula'''-related references the story made. I have also listened to that audio book (voiced by Susan Adams & Alexander Spencer, which I '''''HIGHLY''''' recommend. Best audio book I've ever had the pleasure of listening to.), and '''Silver in the Blood''' lines up quite well with it. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I could not wait to find out what was going to happen next, and it was well-written and well-narrated. Perfect for those who like historical fiction, but that don't mind some fantasy along with it.
  • (4/5)
    I really liked George's writing in this novel. It is a bit slow, which I think fits the tone or the novel and its source material. Just don't go in expecting fast-paced, butt-kicking adventure. Silver in the Blood isn't quite a retelling of Dracula. Rather, it takes inspiration from Dracula. It's as if Stoker was traveling through Romania and heard rumors, stories, and that some of those tales were true or close to it.I loved the relationship between Dacia and Lou and the ways they both changed throughout the novel. The changes were a bit too sudden to be realistic, but I enjoyed the book so much, that didn't bother me.It was a nice little tribute to Dracula to have diary entries and letters between each chapter, though it did break immersion a little bit during the climax when those letters or entries seem to have been written right then in the thick of things when no one would have had time to write longform.A strong stand-alone with sequel potential. Even if it were just in novella form, I would love to read the continuing adventures of Dacia and Lou. And that cover is gorgeous.
  • (2/5)
    istorical romance set in the 1890s in Romania and Hungary, where two wealthy young cousins, Dacia Vreeholt and Maria Louisa Neulander travel as requested by their imperious grandmother, and escorted by their Aunt Kate. George provides characterization of the two protagonists through much description of their emotions, diary entries, letters to each other as they both travel separately and arrive at the ancestral estate of their Romanian side of the family, the Florescus. Lots of details about dress, flirtations with eligible, well to do young men, and increasingly- questions about the Florescu clan, why they HAD to come from their homes in New York City, to the ancestral estate. At a large banquet Lady Ioana Florescu, the matriarch, gives a toast, declaring that the time had come to depose the false king and help put Prince Mihai, of the House Dracul on the throne. Shocked, the girls discover their Romanian side of the family has supported House Dracul for centuries and that many of them are shapeshifters, changing when needed into bats and wolves. Most amazing, Louisa (Lou) & Dacia discover they have powers they never dreamed of. In a dramatic chapter, the Florescus gather in a clearing behind the manor one night, while their grandmother announces it's time to teach their two youngest members what the family prophecy is and who they really are. While Uncle Horia restrains Lou, Dacia is chased by the shifted family members, large bats and hungry wolves, into the forest. Surrounded, she defies them, especially the large wolf that is Aunt Kate, and as she leaps toward her, she changes into a wolf herself. Lou in despair that Dacia may be mauled, or killed, suddenly shifts herself -discovering she was a swirl of mist, and could move on currents of air. She was "the Smoke", and Dacia is the "queen" wolf, who defies the rest of the pack. The plot continues to take wild turns as the girls decide to reject their destiny and flee to Budapest; there they meet with Lord Johnny and his companion Mr. Arkady, who inform them that they are part of a secret society, committed to preventing "monsters" from spreading their evil, particularly Prince Mihai. They learn the Prince is determined to wed Dacia and further cement the Florescu clan's support of his family line. His claim to the Romanian throne means he will have to overthrow King Carol and Queen Elizabeth- and further plot complications include Dacia being abducted to a hotel where Mihai arrives and informs her of his intentions: she will either marry him willingly or he will "despoil" her anyway. Lou arrives as "the Smoke" and leads Lord Johnny and Arkady to her rescue, but the Prince escapes. After the foursome discuss what they must do to stop Prince Mihai, they travel to the King's castle, to warn him and his queen of Mihai's intentions; Lou is drugged with a gypsy's help so she cannot control her shifting- she is "the Smoke" and cannot change back. Then, before they can leave, Mihai, trusted Florescu members and mercernary soldiers attack the castle. Again Mihai breaks through defenses and brandishing a gun, informs the trapped King Carol, Lord Johnny, and Dacia that he will kill them and take Dacia as his bride. Yet, "the Smoke" helps once again, Dacia shifts into her wolf form, and Aunt Kate and other Florescu relatives, arriving as wolves, decide the prophecy they will be led by their new leader "from darkness into light" means they will not defend House Dracul any longer, but support the rightful king. Dacia leads her pack into a fight to the death with Mihai and his hired soldiers, and Lou -reemerging from her mist form still rendered weak from the drug- is cared for by Arkady; Dacia, human again with new battle wounds and apparently (a complete reversal from her anger and rejection of the family bonds and her powers in earlier chapters) a determination to lead her clan to a new day. In a rapid series of concluding chapters, the loose ends are neatly tied. While the Romanian history/setting adds interest and sets up our protagonists to face truly deadly foes -some of their own family members and Prince Mihai, one of the Dracul family- the narrative devices didn't always work: the letter and diary entries, as the chapters passed, seemed unnecessary & slowed down the pacing, for example. Lots of "telling" by the author - and toss off lines that didn't seem to fit the characters. In one chapter, the queen, who acts regal and formal throughout, waits until her royal husband & the others leave the room and says to Dacia, "sometimes men can be so taxing" - now like two girlfriends agreeing on the "down side to men". Jarring lines like these detracted from the breathless prose and 1890s mannerisms. However, teen girls who want their historical romances to be filled with plot twists, some supernatural elements and some hunky guys thrown in to add romantic tension will probably enjoy this book.
  • (5/5)
    Two young women Dacia Vreeholt and Louisa Neulander are cousins and society girls in New York. They are traveling to visit their mothers' family in Romania in June of 1897. Lou is quieter and shy; Dacia is outspoken and bold. Together they learn some family secrets that rock the foundations of their lives and find themselves involved in political intrigue.Along the way they meet Lord Johnny Harcastle and Mr. Theo Arkady who become their romantic interests and co-conspirators. Johnny and Theo have been charged by the secret society of which they are both members to watch Dacia and Lou's family who are very suspicious. The girls have to deal with a grandmother who is using them to further her political ambitions and Prince Mihai Dracula who is mad and who wants to use them to help in his plan to conquer Europe.The relationship between the two girls was interesting to read about. I enjoyed the way Lou stepped out of her secondary role to take charge when Dacia was thrown by the family secret. Lou was my favorite character because of the way she changed from shy little mouse to strong confident woman.I liked that the story was filled with action and adventure. I look forward to reading more adventures with Dacia, Lou, Johnny and Theo.
  • (4/5)
    Set in the 1890s, society rules abound and define what a young lady may or may not do in public and private. Cousins, Dacia and Lou, who are more like amiable sisters, come from aristocratic, old New York and Romanian families. The girls, whose mothers are sisters, begin with an adventure to their mothers' homeland of Romania to meet family. While in Romania, dark, old secrets surface that redefine who these girls are and the what they are capable of. Dacia, an adventurer by heart, who is months away from being engaged to the best New York bachelor, and the stronger advocate takes a back seat to Lou, as they both discover family secrets. Action-packed subdued by society norms for girls. Great addition to any middle or high school collection. The book cover hints at the adventures that await the reader.
  • (2/5)
    I received this free eARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. I was so bored reading this book that I was skimming pages at a time trying to find interesting content to get sucked into. After doing this for about half of the book, I realized that I just cannot continue skimming a book that I'm obviously not interested in and finally gave up. I did not like either of the main characters: Lou and Dacia. They were spoiled rotten, high class girls that I would never be caught dead with, so it makes sense that I couldn't handle being in their heads through this novel. And they were always complaining and never asked the right questions. I seriously about lost it in the beginning. I've read one other book by this author and gave it three stars... Maybe I'm just not meant to like this author's work? If I get intrigued by another book by this author I may try it, but so far it's looking bleak and weary for our relationship with one another...
  • (4/5)
    Debutantes from New York City travel to Europe to visit their powerful, wealthy and mysterious Romanian relatives. Think Downton Abbey period - the girls lose friends on the Titanic. As the two cousins, Dacia and Lou, get closer to their destination, they notice that people have been acting strangely. Their relatives have gotten more anxious and it's a surprise to see their independent aunt defer to the tyrannical grandmother. Also, as they meet a prince and nobility, their last name provokes a strange reaction. As we learn about the shape shifting and the Florescu family's long tie to the Dracula family, Silver in the Blood gives us an unexpected twist. Lou and Dacia are transformed and it's a delight to have Lou discover her power. If you're looking for a historical fiction with a twist - think Gilded Age and werewolves - Silver in the Blood is treat!
  • (3/5)
    2.5 stars. I loved George's Castle Glower series so I'm quite sad not to love this new series. It is quite slow with a rather predictable plot, characters changing personalities annoyingly frequently, and way too many romantic interests. The setting and retelling of Dracula was interesting though.
  • (5/5)
    Cousins Dacia and Louisa are both excited and nervous about visiting Romania and meeting their mothers' family. There seems to be some sort of family secret, and nobody will explain it to them. When they learn the truth, it will be more shocking than they could have guessed.This book has a lot of excellent elements, though it falls short of distinction in a few ways. I liked the two main characters, though they were hard to tell apart, at least at the beginning. I also found the love interests... interesting. I wanted to see more development of those stories, because they really took a backseat to the main action of the story. This was probably as it should be, but I think a little more attention could have been paid to that aspect of the book, because it felt a bit rushed. The pacing lagged in places, though I don't know if I would have noticed that if I had not been listening to the audiobook. I also felt that the villains were flat, entirely evil and without nuance. All that said, I did enjoy the book. Many of the secondary characters are well-written and the setting is fairly good. Mostly, I wanted a little bit more from this book, but I liked the things it did accomplish. I'd recommend it to readers who enjoy books like Juliet Marillier's Wildwood Dancing.
  • (1/5)
    Bought this book mostly because it's a paranormal set in 19th century Romania and I am a proud Millennial Romanian. Our protagonists are New York socialites who are on a trip to get to know their mothers side of the family. I got really excited since I heard that the author has visited Transylvania before writing the novel.

    But here is the biggest problem: I did not like the writing. It's repetitive, goes into too much detail and feels forced. The book starts out slow, but even in the climax the author failed to maintain an ounce of tension.

    As far as the Romanian historical aspect, I could not complain since author clearly did her research. The setting and the relevant events were correct, you can tell she payed attention to her tour guide. But all that research was used to paint Romania as a backwards country filled with mystical monsters.

    That wouldn't really be a problem if any of the Romanian characters were good or interesting characters. But that's not the case, they're either cowards or ruthless, power hungry leaders in the most boring way.

    Even our protagonists Dacia and Lou are weak characters. In the beginning, Dacia is an outgoing flirt with a love of danger and Lou is smart, shy and doesn't know she's beautiful. But by the end, both girls have gone through a lot. In theory I would be thrilled with their progress, but it was handled so poorly, it was so overly melodramatic that I can't really recommend this book to anyone. That is, unless you want a headache.
  • (3/5)
    On the whole, a fun historical adventure, set in the late 1800s, with a pair of society girls learning a great deal about their mysterious Romanian ancestry. There are some continuity problems as the plot thickens -- it's told in letters and scraps of diaries, in addition to the regular story. Not my favorite of Jessica day George's books, but pretty good for all that.
  • (3/5)
    In the late 1890’s, Dacia and Lou, two American cousins, go to Romania to meet the other half of their family. Dacia has had a “scandal” in England, so this opportunity is well timed to get her away from that and perhaps see to it that her reputation is not quite ruined. While visiting the family, the girls meet their scary grandmother, and try to figure out why everyone is keeping secrets about a later family meeting. It frustrates them and causes them to get into all sorts of trouble while they look for clues.

    This is a quick, fun fantasy/historical romance, that would be appropriate for middle schoolers. The romance doesn’t overwhelm the mystery aspect, which is foreshadowed heavily early on, so it should not be a big shock when the family secret is revealed. The girls are proper young ladies of the times, so nothing untoward happens in the romance area to make younger readers uncomfortable. I’ll be buying this whole series for my library.
  • (2/5)
    As much as I wanted to love Silver in the Blood, the writing felt frivolous and dramatic and the plot didn't develop into anything remotely worth mentioning until well over halfway through. I enjoyed the 19th century Romanian setting and hints of the Gothic, but found it to be a rather tedious reading experience.

    This novel follows cousins Dacia and Lou as they are sent away from their homes in New York City to be first introduced to the family legacy in rural Romania. However, much to their surprise, this legacy involves shape shifting, a treasonous plot, and dark ties with the infamous Dracula family. Dacia spends the majority of the book fluttering about various male admirers while Lou nearly swoons anytime anything remotely interesting happens. To make matters worse, the story is plagued with unbearably haughty and secretive women who are not remotely likeable. Silver in the Blood held great promise but, other than the occasional blip of interest, failed to deliver.
  • (4/5)
    I have always enjoyed Jessica Day George’s work. I love re-told fairytales. This one branches away from fairytales into another tale—that of Dracula. This book kept me up late at night. I was immersed from the first chapter. The female protagonists are well-drawn and each is given full scope to change and develop over the course of the book. The characters of Lord Johnny and Theo are a little less developed, but, since this is only the beginning of a series, I am sure they will have plenty of time to become more real. Minor characters, such as Aunt Kate and Cousin Radu fare somewhat better.My biggest complaint is that I’ll have to wait to see what happens next!Possible objectionable material: Mild language. Dangerous situations. Family turmoil. Nudity—non-sexual and not described in detail.Who would like this book: Primarily girls, probably middle grades and up. Anyone who likes adding to a well-known story. Approximate Lexile: 700
  • (5/5)
    Review courtesy of Dark Faerie TalesQuick & Dirty: Action packed story filled with adorable romance, loveable characters, and great humor. I enjoyed every minute of this story and would highly recommend it to all young adult fans!Opening Sentence: Dacia picked up her book and put it down again.The Review:Cousins Dacia and Louisa grew up in the wonderful city of New York. It is the year 1897 and both of these girls dominate the social scene in New York. Both girls have just recently turned seventeen and they can’t wait to tour the beautiful country of Europe where there is sure to be handsome gentlemen, wonderful shopping, and enchanting parties. But instead of going on a dream vacation like they planned they are sent to Romania, the country where both of their mothers were born and raised. This is their first time visiting their ancestral home and they have only met a few of their relatives from their mother’s side of the family.Upon arriving in Bucharest both of the girls learn that their family is very different. It turns out that their family has the ability to shapeshift into one of three creatures. Some are members of The Claw and have the ability to change into a wolf, others are of The Wing and can change into bats, and finally there is The Smoke where they can basically change into a form of smoke. There is a prophecy that states Dacia and Louisa will lead their family to greatness, but to do so they must commit the most horrendous of crimes. Will they have the courage to defy their destiny or will the temptation of power and acceptance tempt them into doing what their family wants?Dacia is a very spirited girl that doesn’t have a care in the world. She is blunt, witty, and loves a good adventure. I instantly loved Dacia and found her to be a very entertaining character. She has no problem using her charms to get what she wants and she is very good at everything she sets her mind. She is a terrible flirt, but she is also a very loyal friend. Her fiery attitude was so much fun and she added a lot of great humor to the story. There was one moment in the book where I found her to be a little frustrating but it was very short lived and I quickly fell back in love with her! She is a great heroine and I really look forward to seeing where her story goes next.Lou is a much more reserved person. She has what they call a tender disposition and she has always felt a little awkward in her own skin. Everyone tells her what a beautiful girl she is, but that’s not how she sees herself. She is the perfectly obedient daughter that does what she is told. What I have described probably sounds pretty boring compared to Dacia, but I actually ended up liking Lou even better than I did Dacia. There is something about her tender personality that just pulled at my heart strings and as the story unfolds she grows so much. She discovers so much about herself and in the end she becomes a much bolder person. She doesn’t shy away from a fight and she is very resourceful. I felt an instant connection with her and it just continued to grow throughout the story.There is a fairly large cast of secondary characters and I found each one of them so interesting. I loved learning all their stories and to be honest I can’t wait to learn more. I especially want to find out more about the girls mothers and aunts. I actually would love it if George wrote a sequel telling us how the 3 sisters ended up in America and their whole journey. I doubt she is going to write this but I personally would love to read it if she ever does. Then of course I loved the boys in the book as well. I’m not going to go into any detail about them because I don’t want to spoil anything. But I can tell you that they are very swoon worthy and I loved both of them! The romance was pretty subtle, but I felt that it was a great setup for the next book in the series which I am now dying to read!Silver in the Blood is an amazing story that completely blew me away! I loved everything about this book, the rich atmosphere, the witty characters, the adorable romance, and the suspenseful plot made this an epic book that is easily the best book I have read this year so far. From the very first page I was hooked and I kept trying to find time throughout the day to read this because I just had to know what happened next. I ended up finishing it in just a day and now I wish I would have taken more time to read it because I am going to have a serious book hangover now. Jessica Day George is such an amazing storyteller and her writing is exceptional! I have read many of her other books and I have enjoyed every single one of them. This book was just pure fun and had everything I love in a great story. I found myself laughing many times throughout the story and there was also tons of great action. As you can tell by my review I can’t say enough good things about this book and I would highly recommend this to all young adult fans.Notable Scene:22 May 1897Oook la-la! Whatever shall I do? There are far too many beautiful young men in the world, and I am just one girl. First there was Will Carver in New York, then Lord Johnny in London, and now I have just met the most delicious of them all. And it seems that he is a prince. Prince Mihai of Wallachia, if you please! It’s an old title, and one that (sadly) does not mean much anymore. Still. A prince! A prince with beautiful long lashes and thick curling hair. A prince who wears perfectly tailored suits and speaks seven languages, who likes to go to plays and concerts and read popular novels!If anything, I would day that he is too perfect for words! Yes, yes, diary, I can hear Lou’s voice in my head right now asking me about Will Carver and Lord Johnny. Well, I’m sorry, but neither of them are here at present. Surely it can’t hurt to amuse myself a bit in Romania? When I return to New York, dear Lord Johnny will be but a memory, and Will Carver will be back from France, eager to dance with me once more. Until that day, however, Prince Mihai and his beautiful eyes are here to entertain me, That is, if Aunt Kate will let him!FTC Advisory: Bloomsbury Children provided me with a copy of Silver in the Blood. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.