Friday, July 10, 2015

Serafina and the Black Cloak by Robert Beatty

Serafina is a bit odd.  She likes to stay awake at night and sleep in the daytime.  She loves to sleep while the sun shines in the window on her.  She's also got less toes than she should have.  And her Pa keeps her hidden in the basement of the big house with him.  They sleep there in the boiler room.  She hunts rats at night.  But she longs for a friend...

Disney-Hyperion and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It is being published today, so you'll be able to find a copy now.

This book played a lot on my fears.  I've always been different (lived in the country, was Catholic, and wore glasses) and I went to a parochial school so I didn't even meet public school kids until I was in high school.  I also have a fear of the dark and the things that might slither about then.  This book covers this subject very well...

Serafina sees a man in a black cloak take a young girl.  He pulls her close to him and somehow "absorbs" her.  No one will believe her but she tells her Pa.  He tells her it was a bad dream, not true.  Unfortunately, it was.  And more children come up missing as time goes on.

When the young nephew of the household meets Serafina and finds her fascinating, she's excited to find her first friend.  It's not appropriate, but he's nice and he doesn't judge her.  She decides to tell him.  When she gets caught sneaking around the house, he saves her and says she's there to polish his shoes and will go in the carriage with her.  She does and can't believe how gorgeous the inside of the carriage is.  Living with steam pipes doesn't prepare you for that.

When the carriage is blocked and then they are attacked, the man with the black cloak tries to go after the nephew but the young carriage driver blocks him and is taken instead.  All of a sudden Serafina finds herself in the forest, a place her father forbid her to enter.  She likes the feel of the forest and goes for a walk.  It's not safe in the forest...

This is fantasy that grabs your attention and keeps you reading.  Serafina battles for her life and the lives of the children that were grabbed.  The ending was unusual but good.  It tied up several mysteries.  Serafina may not be totally normal, but she's going to have a good life.  That's a good ending to me.

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