Turn-of-the-last-century socialites discover the bloody secrets of their Old World family in this lush historical fantasy.
Cousins Dacia Vreeholt and Louisa Neulander, raised in Gilded Age New York, are sent in 1897 to Romania to reconnect with their mothers' aristocratic clan. Once in Bucharest, Lou and Dacia (who arrives marked by a minor scandal involving a London playboy) quickly realize their reclusive relations, the Florescus, socialize only with the Dracula family—descendants of the infamous Vlad the Impaler. Meanwhile, the cousins' intimidating grandmother keeps wondering aloud if each is a "Wing," "Claw," or "Smoke" and pushing Dacia to accept invitations from Dracula scion Prince Mihai. As Mihai begins to pursue Dacia, her London and American suitors arrive in Romania to warn the cousins about the Florescus' supernatural connection to the Draculas, who seek to reclaim the Romanian throne. In absorbing alternating journal entries and letters, Dacia grows ever more frightened and cautious while Lou’s interest in her family's fascinating secrets deepens. George captures the exquisite beauty of 1890s Romania—city town houses and sprawling country estates, opera halls, artisanal shops, folk dresses, and the stunning "forested slopes of the Carpathians"—while also creating an increasingly foreboding atmosphere for Dacia’s and Lou's life-changing revelations.
Thoroughly researched historical details and bright if naïve protagonists conjure a winning period adventure. (author's note) (Historical fiction/paranormal fantasy. 12-17)