A READER'S OPINION
I want to preface this review by saying, I don't normally read middle-grade books. In fact, I recall reading only one or two in my adult life, but I was so drawn in by the book cover, the setting, and the description, that I decided to give this one a try. I honestly didn't imagine I could be drawn into a younger-audience story as much as the author managed with SERAFINA AND THE BLACK CLOAK.
The Biltmore Estate, the mystery of the Smoky Mountains, a young girl caught in a mysterious disappearance, and her desire to learn more about herself, are all richly combined into one remarkable story. SERAFINA AND THE BLACK CLOAK is a thrilling ride of suspense, self-worth, bravery, and relationships. I cannot tell you more without risk of giving something away. Bravo to Robert Beatty for a wonderful story that has you experiencing Serafina’s adventures right alongside her. I immediately ordered SERAFINA AND THE TWISTED STAFF because I couldn't wait to continue my adventures with this vivacious and fascinating character. Adults, don't shy away from this book—it's one for all ages!
Rating: 5 Stars | Content Rating: 0 Hearts | Reviewed by: MK McClintock
"Never go into 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 Biltmore Estate. There's plenty to explore in Mr. and Mrs. Vanderbilt's vast and opulent home, but she must take care to never be seen. None of the rich folk upstairs know that Serafina exists; she and her pa have lived in the basement for as long as Serafina can remember. She has learned to prowl through the darkened corridors at night, to sneak and hide, using the mansion's hidden doors and secret passageways.
But when children at the estate start disappearing, only Serafina knows the clues to follow. A mysterious man in a black cloak stalks Biltmore's corridors at night. Following her own harrowing escape, Serafina risks everything by joining forces with Braeden Vanderbilt, the young nephew of 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, where she discovers a forgotten legacy of magic. In order to save the children of Biltmore, Serafina must not only face her darkest enemy, but delve into the strange mystery of her own identity.
Historical Mystery/Middle-Grade | June 14, 2016 | 320pp | Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Format Read: Hardcover | Source: From the reviewer's personal library.