by Beatty, Robert

SERAFINA is a middle grade mystery thriller which takes place in 1899 in the Biltmore House, a grand Chateauesque-styled mansion built in the 1880's at the height of the Gilded Age by George Vanderbilt, and nestled high in the dark and forested mountains near Ashville, North Carolina. The Biltmore House and its sprawling gardens are home to the Vanderbilt family, while downstairs, unbeknownst to them, Serafina lives in the basement.

Serafina has never had a reason to disobey her pa and venture beyond the grounds of 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 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.

A first novel and middle grade mystery thriller set around the turn of the century in the Biltmore House, a grand Chateauesque-styled mansion built in the 1880's at the height of the Gilded Age by George Vanderbilt. The mystery of this story isn't just the identity of the Man in the Black Cloak. It is also the enigmatic Serafina herself - where does she come from, who is her mother, why does her father keep her presence in the basement a secret? And why does Serafina show so much cat-like behavior? In order to ultimately defeat the Man in the Black Cloak, Serafina must not only face her darkest fears, but also plumb the mysteries of her own origin.

Robert Beatty lives in Ashville, North Carolina. He has published short stories in literary magazines. Robert is also the chairman-of-the-board and a managing partner of the San Francisco based Narrative Magazine ( ), an online library of literature by celebrated authors and by the best new and emerging writers. The Narrative website sees more than 7 million pageviews a month and has more than 150,000 subscribers. Esquire named Narrative "the gold standard for online literary magazines." Robert was also founder and CEO of the internet company whose online software runs manufacturing companies all over the world. In 2007 he was named Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst & Young.

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Language Territory Type Vendor Status
German World All

Mohrbooks Literary Agency
Annelie Geissler

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Serafina narrates with an engaging voice that draws the reader into her world. The setting is just as engaging: the Biltmore drips with opulence and the surrounding forest with sufficient eeriness… SERAFINA has enough mystery and fantasy (with a fair amount of creepiness) to satisfy young readers.

Review: Historical Novel Society

Mondadori Electa (Italy), Egmont (UK), Albatros (Czech Republic & Slovakia), Egmont (Germany), Rye Field (Taiwan), Bayard Jeunesse (France), AST (Russia), Valentina (Brazil), Beijing Xindaboya (China), RAO (Romania), PRH (world Spanish), Albatros (Slovakia), Konyvmolykepzo Kiado (Hungary)

Quote: Brandt

A mystery set at a sumptuous estate, featuring a courageous female protagonist entangled in a hair-raising adventure. The story drips with suspense, wrapping readers into the narrative just as easily as the man in the black cloak binds his young victims. VERDICT: A creepy, suspenseful read that's not quite as dark as the works of Neil Gaiman or Adam Gidwitz.

Review: School Library Journal

New York Times Middle-grade bestseller USA TODAY Top 100 bestseller Publishers Weekly Children’s Frontlist Fiction bestseller Voted #1 Middle Grade Novel of 2015 on Goodreads

Quote: Brandt

Beatty spins an enchanting mystery… [A] keenly perceptive portrait of a young girl searching for answers about herself and the world around her… Adults and children will eagerly follow Serafina from the basement into a world of self-discovery, justice, and new friendships.

Review: Kirkus

Serafina’s multiple narrow escapes from her enemy are absolutely thrilling. Serafina herself is an enchanting heroine, brave and determined, and her attraction to the dark forest adds another layer of suspense and mystery. Pair this with Auxier’s THE NIGHT GARDENER to introduce young readers to the Gothic tradition.

Review: Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

Back atop the New York Times middle-grade paperback bestseller list at #1 on December 25th!

Quote: Brandt

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