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"Serafina and the Splintered Heart" is by Robert Beatty.

“SERAFINA AND THE SPLINTERED HEART,” by Robert Beatty, Disney-Hyperion, 304 pages (f) (ages 9-12)

“Serafina and the Splintered Heart” by Robert Beatty includes all the best things of the first two Serafina books, but contains mysteries and twists that make it a thrilling conclusion to this New York Times best-selling series.

Previously in the series, the reader discovers that Serafina’s Pa has been hiding her in Biltmore, the estate in the Blue Ridge Mountains where the Vanderbilts live. After more questions and plenty of magical revelations, Serafina takes on her role as guardian and protector of Biltmore.

When this third installment picks up, Serafina finds herself in an interesting predicament that carries a mystery throughout the entire story. While she thinks she’s figuring things out, more layers are added and an imposing darkness is threatening to destroy everything she’s been tasked to protect.

Beatty continues the series in this volume with the rich, gothic atmosphere of the first two books. The historical setting of 1899 lends itself well to the mystery and the characters involved. The details of the landscape, time period and Cherokee legends lift the story off the page and into the imagination of the reader.

This third book in particular follows a different sort of mystery than the others, with a surprising beginning and even more surprising ending. With masterful storytelling, the twists and turns will lead the reader through each strand of the author's articulately weaved web.

Serafina is a fantastic heroine. From the beginning, she has been determined, but her level of courageousness rises to bring her story to a satisfying end. Her friend Braeden is a true companion with commendable characteristics of his own to inspire greatness. The villain is haunting, terrifying and a compelling evil for the children to battle and conquer.

As with the previous two installments, Beatty’s poetic language and skilled use of dialect makes for an appealing children’s historical fiction book.

“Serafina and the Splintered Heart” doesn’t contain any swearing, sexual content, or violence.

If you go …

What: Robert Beatty book signing

When: Monday, Oct. 16, 6 p.m.

Where: The King’s English Bookshop, 1511 S. 1500 East, Salt Lake City

Web: kingsenglish.com

Note: The signing line is for those who buy a copy of the featured book from The King’s English.

Tara Creel is a Logan-native-turned-California-girl and mother of four boys. Her email is taracreel@gmail.com, and she blogs at taracreelbooks.wordpress.com.