I truly enjoyed Seraphina and the Black Cloak. I found it fast paced, well-developed, and just plain interesting. Robert Beatty created characters that were original and knowable. It was quite entertaining reading a book set at Biltmore Estate, the home of George Vanderbilt.
I recommend that parents read the book prior to recommending it for their child. The publisher's recommended reading age of 8-12 is too young in my opinion. I wouldn't want my young child to read this as it is a dark story. Beatty's book is reminiscent of the fairy tales written by the Brothers Grimm and the Early Disney film adaptations. Snow White....scared me as a kid! You will enjoy the “research” and when you deem it appropriate for your child they are going to love it too.