The Radleys

A Novel

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Just about everyone knows a family like the Radleys. Many of us grew up next door to one. They are a modern family, averagely content, averagely dysfunctional, living in a staid and quiet suburban English town. Peter is an overworked doctor whose wife, Helen, has become increasingly remote and uncommunicative. Rowan, their teenage son, is being bullied at school, and their anemic daughter, Clara, has recently become a vegan. They are typical, that is, save for one devastating exception: Peter and Helen are vampires and have—for seventeen years—been abstaining by choice from a life of chasing blood in the hope that their children could live normal lives.

One night, Clara finds herself driven to commit a shocking—and disturbingly satisfying—act of violence, and her parents are forced to explain their history of shadows and lies. A police investigation is launched that uncovers a richness of vampire history heretofore unknown to the general public. And when the malevolent and alluring Uncle Will, a practicing vampire, arrives to throw the police off Clara’s trail, he winds up throwing the whole house into temptation and turmoil and unleashing a host of dark secrets that threaten the Radleys’ marriage.

The Radleys is a moving, thrilling, and radiant domestic novel that explores with daring the lengths a parent will go to protect a child, what it costs you to deny your identity, the undeniable appeal of sin, and the everlasting, iridescent bonds of family love. Read it and ask what we grow into when we grow up, and what we gain—and lose—when we deny our appetites.
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  • Free Press | 
  • 384 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781439194645 | 
  • December 2010
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The Radleys’ Bloody Little Secret

Author Matt Haig writes about a bloody little Secret at 17 Orchard Lane.

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Read an Excerpt

Orchard Lane

It is a quiet place, especially at night.

Too quiet, you’d be entitled to think, for any kind of monster to live among its pretty, tree-shaded lanes.

Indeed, at three o’clock in the morning in the village of Bishopthorpe, it is easy to believe the lie indulged in by its residents—that it is a place for good and quiet people to live good and quiet lives.

At this hour, the only sounds to be heard are those made by nature itself. The hoot of an owl, the faraway bark of a dog, or, on a breezy night like this one, the wind’s obscure whisper through the sycamore trees. Even if you... see more

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Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for The Radleys includes an introduction, discussion questions, ideas for enhancing your book club, and a Q&A with author Matt Haig. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.

INTRODUCTION

Meet the Radleys, a typical British family. Peter works at a medical clinic while his wife, Helen, tends to the family home at 17 Orchard Lane. Rowan and Clara, their children, are teenagers struggling with the highs and lows that adolescence brings. The Radleys, however, have a dirty secret in their past, which comes to light when Clara finds herself standing over the body of a thirteen-year-old boy that she has murdered. When a police investigation is launched to find out what happened to the boy, the household is set for disaster. To make matters worse, Peter’s brother Will arrives and throws the house into turmoil as the Radleys grapple with the temptation that tasting blood brings. Old secrets are unearthed, new obstacles appear and the Radleys must struggle to keep it all together.

The Radleys is a stirring novel that explores 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 bonds of family love.

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