Tuesday, March 8, 2016

REVIEW: Serafina and the Black Cloak

Serafina and the Black Cloak
Author: Robert Beatty
Publisher: Disney/Hyperion
293 pages
Middle Grade Fantasy

This book is set at Biltmore House in Asheville,NC. I live about 40 minutes from Asheville and drive up the mountain to shop and visit often. When I first learned this book was being published, I knew I had to read it! There was no way I was going to miss out on a story set at Biltmore in the 1800s!

The book has a great video trailer:

The trailer was filmed on the grounds of the estate. The house is amazing, especially at Christmastime. The entire estate is decorated at holiday time and you can have high tea there. It's a fabulously posh experience.

The house was built by the Vanderbilt family and was the largest single family home in the United States. You can learn more about Biltmore Estate by clicking this link. Asheville is a very ecclectic, artistic town. Many artists and authors live there, including Robert Beatty who wrote this book.

The basic plot: Serafina lives in the basement of Biltmore Estate with her father, who is a maintenance worker. She loves to explore the house, and spends her nights catching rats. Suddenly the peaceful life of the grand estate takes a terrible turn when children start disappearing.  One night Serafina sees a strange man in a black cloak attack a little girl. The child disappears, and even after several searches of the Estate, no trace of the girl is found. Can Serafina and the Vanderbilt's nephew solve the mystery before more children disappear? Will the missing children be found alive? Who is the man in the black cloak?

This book is written for middle grade children, but I also enjoyed the story! The kids from my son's school often take field trips to Biltmore, so I'm going to donate my book to the school. My son's teacher wants to read it out loud to the class since they visited the estate in December.  The mysterious story is age-appropriate. It achieves tension and an interesting creepy mystery without being too graphic or scary for children. The cover art is beautiful!

My rating: 8/10
Ages 10+

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