Serafina and the Black Cloak by Robert Beatty is a spooky novel set in a grand location.
ago, Serafina's father helped build the Biltmore mansion. The house has
many secrets -- and Serafina is one of them. She sleeps most of the day
and prowls the house at night, catching rats and observing the midnight
life of the house. She does not, however, venture into the woods
surrounding the estate, because her father has often warned her of the
many dangers that lurk there. But when danger comes to Biltmore,
Serafina may be the only one who can stop it -- if she is brave and
daring and willing to move beyond the confines of her hidden life.
book has fascinating notes of mystery and suspense. It's definitely on
the creepy side, though it has its moments of sweetness as well. The
atmosphere and setting are the best parts of the book -- while the plot
is also fairly good, I thought the characterization faltered in spots.
But it's still an enjoyable read, one that will appeal to kids who enjoy
books like The Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier and Doll Bones by Holly Black.
(Reviewed from an advance copy, courtesy of the publisher.)