Serafina and the Black Cloak

 
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Serafina and the Black Cloak
Author(s)
Age Range
10+
Release Date
July 14, 2015
ISBN
9781484709016
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“Never go into the deep parts of the forest, for there are many dangers there, and they will ensnare your soul.”

Serafina has never had a reason to disobey her pa and venture beyond the grounds of the Biltmore estate. There’s plenty to explore in her grand home, although she must take care to never be seen. None of the rich folk upstairs know that Serafina exists; she and her pa, the estate’s maintenance man, have secretly lived in the basement for as long as Serafina can remember.

But when children at the estate start disappearing, only Serafina knows who the culprit is: a terrifying man in a black cloak who stalks Biltmore’s corridors at night. Following her own harrowing escape, Serafina risks everything by joining forces with Braeden Vanderbilt, the young nephew of the Biltmore’s owners. Braeden and Serafina must uncover the Man in the Black Cloak’s true identity . . . before all of the children vanish one by one.

Serafina’s hunt leads her into the very forest that she has been taught to fear. There she discovers a forgotten legacy of magic, one that is bound to her own identity. In order to save the children of Biltmore, Serafina must seek the answers that will unlock the puzzle of her past.

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Spooky Middle-Grade with a Mysterious Twist
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
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Creak. Creak. Creak. The floor in the basement of the 1899 Biltmore Estate groaned as a golden-haired girl tiptoed towards the dirty rat that was nibbling on a wire. A hand whipped out, snatching up the rodent before it knew what had happened. The rat struggled and squirmed, but the girl held fast. That girl was Serafina, Chief Rat Catcher of Biltmore Estate.

One night, she’s in the basement, when a suspicious man in a black cloak kidnaps a little girl in a yellow dress, making her disappear, right in front of Serafina’s eyes. The next day, Biltmore is in a frenzy, trying to find Clara Brahms, but Serafina is the only one that knows that the girl in the yellow dress isn’t wandering around the mansion. She’s the only one that knows that one of the visiting gentlemen at Biltmore isn’t who he seems to be.

This wonderful, unique story is unlike any other book I’ve ever read. It’s a mystery/thriller novel and the writing style is suspenseful and keeps you at the edge of your seat. The ideas are very creative, and something about the characters just makes the reader want to jump into their story and never come out. The story takes place over several days, each one filled with more excitement than the last, while Serafina tries to solve the mystery of the all the guests that continue to disappear within the evil folds of the magical Black Cloak that the wicked villain wears.

The author does a fantastic job describing Biltmore Estate and bringing to life the Vanderbilt family and their home. The magnificent mansion, to this day, lies in Asheville, North Carolina, and the book certainly made me want to visit.

I definitely recommend this book to Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew fans, because Serafina and the Black Cloak has an amazing mystery element, but with a paranormal twist. This incredible book kept me up at night, thinking ‘Just one more chapter…’ Without a doubt, this book gets five full stars from me!
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