Serafina and the Black Cloak Review
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I live about an hour or so from the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina, so when I saw a book about a little girl who lives in the basement of the Biltmore house, I thought, How cool is that? I decided to pick up Serafina and the Black Cloak and see what kind of exploits the young lady gets herself into—and I wasn’t disappointed.

For all of her twelve years, Serafina has been kept largely from the world, living with her father in the basement of the Biltmore Estate. She knows nothing of her mother and doesn’t understand why her father cautions her not to be seen by those who live above.

During the day, her father works as a maintenance man for Mr. Vanderbilt. At night, while her pa sleeps, Serafina explores her limited space and acts as the CRC (Chief Rat Catcher) for the house. One night, she catches a dark man in a black cloak stealing away with one of the children who’s visiting the estate with her family. Soon, more children began to disappear.

Desperate to save them, she breaks her pa’s rule and enlists the help of the Vanderbilts’ young nephew, Braeden. Together, they set out to unveil the man in the black cloak who stalks the corridors of Biltmore Estate late at night, hunting for unsuspecting children.

Despite her relative isolation and lack of human contact, Serafina seems to be a well-adjusted young girl who’s eager to make friends if the occasion arises. She’s curious and adventurous with a heart big enough to want to help the lost children, even if she was never allowed to mingle with them.

And who can resist a big mansion filled with endless corridors, and even hidden rooms, to explore untethered? The story takes place in 1899, when the forest that surrounds Biltmore was a lot wilder than it would be now—and the dark, foreboding forest adds spookiness that’ll make the hairs tingle on your scalp.

Many surprises await you in Serafina and the Black Cloak, and what doesn’t make sense in the beginning becomes clearer throughout the book. It’s truly a wonderfully creepy adventure, filled with mystery, suspense, and a bit of magical fantasy that any young adult (or an adult like me, for that matter) is sure to salivate over. Be sure to grab a copy and go hunt a rat (of the human persuasion) with Serafina. You’ll have quite a spooky escapade—I promise.

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