Seraphina's Circle


141 pages
ISBN 1-894549-51-1
DDC jC813'.6





Reviewed by Deborah Dowson

Deborah Dowson is a Canadian children’s librarian living in Powell,


Great-Aunt Seraphina’s life is a tragic story. Her mother died when
she was 12, and when she was 18 she was killed in an accident on her way
to meet her forbidden boyfriend. For as long as Morgan can remember, she
and her cousins have re-enacted Seraphina’s story, with her older
cousin Clare always playing the part of Seraphina. When Morgan is sent
to spend the summer on her grandmother’s farm as punishment for
disobeying her parents, she finds that Seraphina’s story is still very
much alive, and it seems that there is very little to prevent history
from repeating itself, with tragic consequences for her cousin Clare.

Although the writing is wonderfully descriptive, the story seems a
little dull at the beginning, but as the foreshadowing of Seraphina’s
story creates a foreboding sense of suspense, the plot becomes more
engaging. Clearly the same issues are played out between children and
parents whether they live in the country or in the suburbs, in the
present or a previous generation. Morgan gains a greater awareness of
people and their motivations as Clare’s tragedy brings her closer to
her family and to an appreciation for what is important in life.

This is a sensitive and appealing coming-of-age story with an emphasis
on the psychological and emotional life of young girls and their
relationships with others. It is a nice touch that the adults in the
story learn a lesson as well. Recommended.


Shipley, Jocelyn., “Seraphina's Circle,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed April 18, 2024,