I hope everyone had a great Presidents’ Day last week. I sure did because it gave me plenty of time to read. The titles that I’m going through right now are American Shaolin – Flying Kicks, Buddhist Monks, and the Legend of Iron Crotch: An Odyssey in the New China by Matthew Polly, Once Upon a Winter: A Folk and Fairy Tale Anthology , and the one I just started reading.
Serafina and the Black Cloak by Robert Beatty is the first book in the Serafina series. Serafina and her pa – the maintenance man – have secretly lived in the basement at the Biltmore estate as long as she can remember. She has explored the mansion, yet she must take great care to never be seen. None of the rich folk including the owners – the Vanderbilts – know that she exists. But when various children at the estate start disappearing, only Serafina knows who the culprit is – a man in a black cloak who stalks Biltmore’s grounds at night. After she escapes, Serafina risks everything by joining forces with Braeden Vanderbilt – the young nephew of the owners. Together, they must uncover the true identity of the Man in the Black Cloak before more children vanish. In the meantime, Serafina’s hunt leads her into the forest that her pa had taught her to fear. There, she discovers a forgotten legacy of magic, one that’s bound to her own identity. To save the children of Biltmore, Serafina must seek answers that will unlock the puzzle to her past.
I’ve read two-thirds of the book so far, and I like it. Serafina is a very interesting character who wants to know her true identity. For someone who’s been isolated for most of her life, she’s able to read people’s emotions pretty well. To be fair, she’s been observing the rich people all of her life. In addition, when her pa reveals where she actually comes from, her reactions are normal for a 12-year-old who just discovered the truth to something, ranging from relief that she has an answer to angry that her dad didn’t tell her sooner. I’ve been rooting for her to discover her true identity and to connect with people beyond the basement.
I also enjoy the world building in the novel. The descriptions of the basement that Serafina and her pa give it an isolated, yet comfy environment. For the Biltmore estate, it’s portrayed as a grand, but cold place with most of the rich people being indifferent to others who aren’t like them. This is especially true when Serafina leaves the grounds for the first time and remarks on how spooky it looks from the outside.
We’ll see how the rest plays out!
We have now come to the end of the twenty-eighth chapter of “What Am I Reading?”
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