Release Date: July 14, 2015
Serafina knows she is not normal. Her father, a maintenance man at Biltmore Estate has been secretly living in the basement for years. When the rest of the house and servants are sleeping, Serafina creeps about the home, catching rats and staying out of sight. Which is how she saw the man in the black cloak lure a child below stairs and make her disappear. Risking discovery and her father's wrath, Serafina goes upstairs to tell the Vanderbilts what she saw, but the only person who seems interested in a girl in a dirty shirt is their nephew. As Serafina and Braden seek out the man in the black cloak and the missing children, Serafina begins to learn about who and what she is too.
Have you ever read a book that you thought was fun, riveting, and interesting only for someone to declare that they too read it and hated it? And then you have this brief moment where you think, maybe my standards have lowered because I really liked it? To be honest, the reaction I received after saying how much I liked this book was a bit puzzling. It seems that when a local author writes about local things, the response is essentially an eye roll. The book is getting all kinds of good press and yet the independent bookstore is reluctant to sign them for reasons that I don't quite understand.
As stated, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. A fun middle grade book featuring some dark, although slightly predictable, twists and turns that I finished in two days. I liked Serafina and loved Braeden. The setting was big and real and yet felt like a complete fantasy. And I must make a confession, although I have lived in NC for twenty odd years, I have never actually been to the Biltmore house due to the cost. $50 a person always felt like a bit much to pay for visiting a house. After reading this book, I think I have changed my mind.