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Serafina and the black cloak
2015
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Summary
"Never go into the deep parts of 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 the Biltmore estate. There's plenty to explore in her grand home, although 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 secretly lived in the basement for as long as Serafina can remember.

But when children at the estate start disappearing, only Serafina knows who the culprit is: a terrifying man in a black cloak who stalks Biltmore's corridors at night. Following her own harrowing escape, Serafina risks everything by joining forces with Braeden Vanderbilt, the young nephew of the 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. There she discovers a forgotten legacy of magic, one that is bound to her own identity. In order to save the children of Biltmore, Serafina must seek the answers that will unlock the puzzle of her past.
Trade Reviews
School Library Journal Review
Gr 4-6-Appalachian folklore is juxtaposed with a Gilded Age setting in this debut. Serafina and her pa secretly live in the basement of the Biltmore estate, home of the wealthy Vanderbilt family. While her father works on the Edison dynamo that provides the novel technology of electricity to the largest home in America, Serafina prowls the basement at night in her self-assigned role of chief rat catcher. There are only two rules she mustn't break: she can never be seen by any of the inhabitants of Biltmore, and she must never, ever go into the forest surrounding the estate. However, when the children of the house start disappearing and Serafina barely evades the clutches of a mysterious man in a black silk cloak, she knows she must break some rules. Accompanied by the master's nephew, Braeden, and his faithful Doberman, Gideon, Serafina must venture into the world of shadow and myth to save the souls of Biltmore's children. Beatty's atmospheric prose and Cassandra Campbell's narration are so vivid, listeners might imagine they can hear the slither of the black cloak. VERDICT For listeners who like a healthy dose of spooky followed by a cozily happy ending, this book fits the bill.-Michaela Schied, Indian River Middle School, Philadelphia, NY © Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Booklist Review
Serafina, daughter of the custodian at the infamous Biltmore Estate, spends her days and nights underfoot of the rich and famous, though she excels at never being seen, hiding in tiny spaces where no one else can fit. One night, she sees a man in a swirling black cape do something terrible to another young girl: he tells her not to fear, wraps his cloak around her, and she disappears, screaming. Serafina is determined not to be next on the cloaked man's list. She meets and makes a true friend in Braeden Vanderbilt, who cares for her deeply, and together they're sure they'll find the truth behind the Man in the Black Cloak. While investigating the eerie goings-on in the forest behind the estate, she discovers the secrets of her own origins and of the things that lurk in the darkness, threatening doom for any who cross them. The historical and social significance of the Biltmore and the Vanderbilts will likely be lost on young readers, but the chills and adventure will still surely please.--Comfort, Stacey Copyright 2015 Booklist
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