by Matt Haig
Free Press, December 2010
Dark humor pervades this entertaining vampire family soap opera. While Helen was engaged to Peter Radley, his rougish brother Will secretly whisks her off for one sex filled, "vampire conversion" night in Paris. Helen discovers she is pregnant and tells Peter the baby is his. This happened 17 years ago. That is when the Radleys (Helen and Peter) decided to live like normal people and follow the guidelines set down by the Abstainer's Handbook, a book written for those who no longer wish to live the traditional vampire life. Complications arise as their two children Rowan - biological son of Will, and daughter Clara begin to acquire vampire characteristics. Clara is the first to change when one night a thuggish classmate attacks her. The fangs erupt on their own and Clara does what any vampire lass would naturally do - she drains him dry. This is when Helen finally agrees with Peter that it is time to explain their heritage to the children.
At first the Radleys seem to be a terribly dysfunctional family, but soon enough each of them shows a depth not apparent in the beginning. They learn to pull together when outside forces attempt to destroy them. Ultimately this is a story about family and love.
[A version of this review appeared in the October, 2010 issue of Library Journal]