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Serafina and the Black Cloak – A Must Read Gothic Mystery

Serafina and the black cloakSerafina and the Black Cloak Book Synopsis

‘”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 oppulent home, but she must take care to never be seen. None of the rich folk upstairs know that Serafina exists; she and her pa, the estate’s maintenance man, 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 terrifying 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.”

Serafina and the Black Cloak Book Review

Very rarely does a book engage me so completely like Serafina and the Black Cloak did. With a lonely and intriguing narrator in Serafina, a creepy and ever so captivating mystery, an immersive set of Dickensian-like characters, and just a touch of the supernatural, I was hooked instantaneously. Really, there was no going back after I opened the doors to the Biltmore Estate.

Part Harry Potter, Downton Abbey (it takes place on the huge Gilded Age estate mentioned previously), Dickens, Gothic Literature, and Neil Gaiman, this is one middle-grade novel that is sure to be remembered for years to come by adults and children alike. It really is that good.

Serafina and the Black Cloak tells the story of a young girl who secretly lives in the basement of a huge mansion next to a mysterious forest (one she is warned against ever entering). With her father’s guidance, no one knows of Serafina’s existence. Indeed, her only joy is having dinner with her father and staying up all night to be the estate rat catcher, a job she is extremely proud of.

Right off the bat, the reader knows there is something quite extraordinary about Serafina, but I won’t spoil this reveal other than to say that it is super fun reading the truths of her background unfold.

And while Serafina is an absolutely enchanting narrator (one that immerses you in this world like magic), it is the mysterious disappearance of children at the hands of an unseen man with a big, magical black cloak that will have you on the edge of your seat. When Serafina witnesses this man capturing a young child, Serafina will do everything in her power to stop him and maybe even save the girl in the process.

It is through this new resolve that Serafina finally finds the courage to go upstairs into the light where she makes her first friend. Together, they will save the children and figure out who is the man in the black cloak, a choice that leads her into the forest she was warned to stay away from.

If you love tales of the supernatural, excellent characterization and exciting mysteries, then you seriously can’t go wrong with Serafina and the Black Cloak. Do yourself a favor and read this one immediately! And if that’s not enough to convince you, check out the awesome book trailer:

Adaptation Recommendation

With a strong Gothic atmosphere and clear beginning, middle and ending, there is no doubt that Serafina would make an excellent film. The hardest part would be finding a talented enough young child actress to play the part…Anyone have any casting suggestions?

Overall Rating

Five Corset Rating Lower Byte Size

“The stuff that dreams are made of.”

You can buy this novel over at Amazon and Barnes and Noble!

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By on November 2nd, 2015

About Autumn Topping

In second grade, Autumn wrote her first story, “The Spinach Monster,” and hasn't stopped writing since. Intrigued by the tales her grandmother told of vampires, witches, and ghosts as a girl, she's always been drawn to the fantastic. Later, Autumn studied English and Creative Writing (continuing her love for classic literature and everything old-fashioned) and graduated with an MA in Children’s Literature and an MS in Library & Information Science from Simmons College. Currently, she co-runs this lovely blog and works as a YA Librarian.

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