I have to admit, one of the reasons I like the Serafina books are that they combine mystery and fantasy with a historical setting – the Biltmore House. Not only that, Beatty incorporates real people with a fantastical story. But, Beatty’s novels are not some boring historical, fact-riddled, snoozers. They’re creepy mysteries that revolve around kids. No wonder, kids love these books. The adults are the backdrop, and the kids take center stage.
In Beatty’s latest installment, Serafina picks up her adventures at the Biltmore estate three weeks after defeating the man in a black cloak. The book opens with Serafina in the woods, where she notices that the birds and animals appear to be fleeing the area. Then there’s the strange carriage without a driver headed straight toward Biltmore. Concealing herself, she watches as the carriage briefly stops, and a tall, bearded man in a black coat climbs down from the carriage holding a gnarled walking stick. Her heart quickens as five wolfhounds stand by their master, scanning the woods. It’s not long before Serafina and Braeden are once again caught up in a supernatural mystery. There’s a new character, 14-year-old Lady Rowena, which puts a little kink in Serafina and Braeden’s relationship and makes for some great moments of contrast between Serafina’s rough appearance/manners and Rowena’s expensive dresses and proper English up-bringing.
For some reason, I was getting the Sherlock Holmes in The Hound of the Baskervilles feeling while reading this book, especially near the end. I think readers will continue to be enthralled with Serafina and her animal ways. We can only guess what Beatty will come up with next, but there’s no doubt that the Biltmore setting was a brilliant idea. There are not many books where the reader can actually imagine themselves in the actual place because they’ve been there. Genius.