Published July 14th 2015 by Disney•Hyperion
Synopsis: “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.
My Review: Being close to Halloween, this made for a wonderful read. As well, I now need to head to Ashville to visit the Biltmore Estate after all the wonderful descriptions in this book.
Serafina is a gutsy 12 year old heroine. She always knew that she was different, but not sure why. Her father, Pa, and her live in the basement of the estate. He is the mechanic, she is the Chief Rat Catcher. He warns her not to let anyone see her, find out her name, where they live and to never go into the forest. When she encounters a strange man in a Black Cloak chasing a young girl in the basement she is not sure what to do. When the girl vanishes into the cloak, she runs and hides for her own safety. She knows she has to tell someone what happened, but her Pa does not believe her. She finally decides that she needs to tell Master Braeden. The story takes off from there. Who is this mysterious man? What is happening to the children? Is Braeden his next victim? With her own life in danger, Serafina hatches a plot to destroy the man in the black cloak and save Braeden. A great read for middle graders, YA and even adults. Very imaginative and scary at times. I enjoyed this one and am looking forward to the next one in the series. There is so much more to learn about Serafina. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book via Netgalley.