Reading/Interest Level: Intermediate, Young Adult
Author: Robert Beatty
Publisher: Disney Book Group
Serafina and her pa live hidden in the basement of the Biltmore, the Vanderbilt's grandiose mansion hidden deep in the woods of North Carolina. Serafina is twelve-years-old and proud to stalk the house in the dark of night to catch rats that roam the halls. She knows that she is different but doesn't understand how. One night while making her rounds, Serafina discovers a man in a black cloak kidnapping a young guest of the Vanderbilts. When the girl suddenly and mysteriously disappears into the folds of the cloak Serafina herself must fight wildly to escape herself. As a protector of Biltmore she decides to pursue and defeat the man in the black cloak. As she does so, she makes friends with the youngest Vanderbilt, discovers the mystery of her unique abilities, and explores the forbidden woods and a haunted forgotten cemetery. What she truly discovers is how important her family and friends are and how much she loves them.
A fun story full of chills and lots of thrills. Serafina is twelve, and that is probably the youngest age for which this story might be considered appropriate due to its fit in the horror genre. It delivers a wonderful haunting paranormal mystery that could easily make young readers frightened, even adults will enjoy the gothic fare. Especially delightful is the author's description of the forest and the haunted cemetery where Serafina discovers some mountain lion cubs and plays with them, before their mother returns and nearly kills her. But the details of the forest and the headstones are just what lovers of horror desire and they take the reader into a spooky setting that is just perfect for imagination to run wild with paranormal shivers. Serafina is very brave and loyal and makes an admirable guide into terrifying territory. This is a highly recommended read for anyone who enjoys ghosts and ghoulies.
*Contains mild violence.