MG & Kids Lit · Middle Grade

Serafina and the Black Cloak (Serafina #1) by Robert Beatty

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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.

​Serafina has lived secretly in the basement of Biltmore Estate with her pa for most of her life. She’s long used to sneaking through the mansion by night, catching the many rats that overrun the place. Then children at Biltmore start to go missing. Only Serafina knows who is responsible: a menacing man in a black cloak who prowls the halls late every evening. To stop him, she teams up with a boy named Braeden, the nephew of the estate’s owners. Can she and Braeden unmask the Man in the Black Cloak before it’s too late?

Personal Thoughts 

​I enjoyed the setting of this story (a huge mansion in North Carolina the year before 1900) because so many things can happen in such a huge place. Also, mansions represent frightful things and black magic, since a “haunted house” is usually called a “haunted mansion.” It’s unlikely that you’ve heard about a haunted cottage.

​My favorite character was Serafina because she’s so brave and clever. I’ll never have enough courage to wander through a dark basement or carry rats with my bare hands.
I would recommend this book because it is full of mystery. Who is the Man in the Black Cloak? What happened to Serafina’s mother? Why does Serafina’s pa forbid her from entering the forest? What happens to the victims of the Man in the Black Cloak?

It is a “stand-alone.” I don’t know if the author has any sequels planned with a separate storyline, but all questions listed are answered.

Those that are wanting of
surprise and suspense
should definitely READ
Serafina and the Black Cloak
.

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