Serafina and the Black Cloak is a middle grade fantasy novel set at the Biltmore House in Asheville, NC during the time that the Vanderbilts lived there. Serafina and her Pa secretly live in the basement of the Biltmore, as her Pa is the maintenance man. Serafina is a little different than most kids her age. She roams the halls of the Biltmore at night, catching rats and peeking on the guests during their parties and dinners, envisioning herself as one of them, or being friends with some of them. She has never known her mom, she is missing a toe on each foot, she’s super tiny, and she has really unique golden amber eyes. One night while roaming, she sees a creepy man in a black cloak take a girl who was staying at the estate.
Children continue to go missing, and Serafina strikes up a friendship with Braeden, the Vanderbilt’s nephew. Serafina can’t imagine what/who this person is in the black cloak, and is determined to find out and save the other children and protect herself. There were kind of two mysteries going on in the book-the black cloak, of course, and Serafina trying to figure out what she really is. Her friendship with Braeden was so sweet and genuine and just shows how two children from different social worlds, who look different, can see through to the heart of each other and become friends.
Even though this is marketed as a middle grades novel I didn’t find it to be too juvenile. I could not put it down! It was the perfect mix of suspense, horror, friendship, and magic! All of the main and supporting characters were perfectly developed and described to aid in the flow of the storyline. The climax of the novel surprised me, so kudos to Beatty, because I had not figured out the mystery of the black cloak nor Serafina’s heritage until it unraveled in the forest!
I may be biased since I’m from the area and I love going to Biltmore, but I highly recommend this novel!
I received a copy of this book via Netgalley-thank you!!