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A Skinful of Shadows

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  7,777 ratings  ·  1,219 reviews
This is the story of a bear-hearted girl . . .

Sometimes, when a person dies, their spirit goes looking for somewhere to hide.
Some people have space within them, perfect for hiding.

Twelve-year-old Makepeace has learned to defend herself from the ghosts which try to possess her in the night, desperate for refuge, but one day a dreadful event causes her to drop her guard.

Hardcover, 416 pages
Published October 17th 2017 by Amulet Books (first published September 2017)
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Eartha She is simply a woman who died whom makepeaces brother took into his head as makepeace is teaching him to take in ghosts that deserve a second chance.…moreShe is simply a woman who died whom makepeaces brother took into his head as makepeace is teaching him to take in ghosts that deserve a second chance. So the author is telling us how now after the fall of the fellmotts the two of them decide to give ghosts that deserve second chances space in their heads the same way makepeace does throughout the book with the doctor, the soldier, lady Morgan and most importantly bear.(less)

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Average rating 3.99  · 
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“They had found the edges of each other’s temper, like jagged rocks under a placid skin of water.”

Frances Hardinge is an amazing writer. She is one of my favorites when it comes to word-smithing; never purple, but frequently vivid and full of emotional shading. Unfortunately, she tends to be the fantasy equivalent of Tana French: stories filled with a foreboding atmosphere, enough struggle to make one despair, and characters one would rather avoid.

I didn’t know what to expect with Skinful, which
“I am not changed,’ she said. ‘You never knew me. None of you ever knew me.’ It occurred to her that perhaps she had not even known herself.”
Yes, at this point I will read anything Frances Hardinge chooses to put her pen to. Books, grocery lists, back of the napkin doodles — if she writes it, I will read it. Not since Terry Pratchett* have I encountered a writer of such consistent quality combined with superb imagination and originality.
* It’s the hat, isn’t it? Is that the secret?

The qual
Frances Hardinge's latest offering certainly didn't disappoint, in fact, she may just be one of my new favourite authors. Her writing is so original, innovative and different, I don’t know where she gets all her ideas from but I’m praying she never runs out. This novel blends historical fiction with the supernatural, and the pair get along famously. The central character is Makepeace, a girl who grew up in a Puritan community in the years leading up to the English Civil War in the 1640s. After t ...more
Jul 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
November 2017
I always knew I would be reading this book after being lucky enough to read the sampler from Netgalley back in the summer. And what a wonderful treat of a book this was. Set during the English civil war, at the height of witch hunts, comes the story of a family with a very unusual gift. Makepeace, our main heroine, was an excellent character and her journey to maturity and peace is a difficult one for her but a terribly satisfying one for the reader. And what a wonderful set of comp
Feb 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
“A Skinful of Shadows” by Frances Hardinge is the follow-up to her 2015 book “The Lie Tree”. However, “Shadows” is set just prior to the English civil war in the 1650’s era and utilizes as a background the gaining momentum of that war. The seventeenth century is not a common time period in which to set a YA book.

The book gives us castles, hungry soldiers, plagues, and suspicious townsfolk. Did I mention it also gives us ghosts? Oh yes, a number of ghosts. One of the great aspects of the story is
Em Lost In Books
Ms Hardinge was on my radar for a very long time, and finally managed to read her. Bad thing I never knew that it was a follow up but the good thing was I never realized before or after reading it that it was a follow-up to The Lie Tree. Only after reading other reviews I came to know of this fact. But I guess it does not matter because I enjoyed this book and never felt that it had some references from some other book.

Anyways, coming back to the book I never thought this would be such a dark bo
Ova - Excuse My Reading
Hardinge's novels are always a delight to read. I loved Lie Tree and loved this one too. Although a tad less feminist than The Lie Tree, still a great book for teens to read to see girls CAN be their own heros, without the need of a male company.

Such a refreshing and imaginative read in this world of love-obsessed young adult fiction.

Full review to follow soon!
Mogsy (MMOGC)
4.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum https://bibliosanctum.com/2017/11/11/...

Earlier this year I had the pleasure of reading Frances Hardinge’s A Face like Glass, and afterward I just knew I had to read more of her work. Because of this, I picked up the audiobook of A Skinful of Shadows, and I’m happy to say it did not disappoint. The book turned out to be one of the most wonderfully magical and imaginative Young Adult novels I’ve ever read—in other words, everything I expected from the author.

I loved The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge, and had high hopes for her next offering. I wasn't disappointed. This was the perfect blend of history, magical realism and dark fantasy.

Set in the early days of the English Civil War, Makepeace has been raised by her mother to fear and fight off the dead who want to inhabit her body. When events force her to leave her home and live with her powerful father's family, Makepeace must confront the shadows that lurk in the dark and learn more about her 'inh
Apr 02, 2022 rated it it was amazing
oh my god
Oct 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Amazing. Incredible. Fabulous.

A Skinful of Shadows is everything I know Hardinge is capable of. The story is creepy and brilliant, but heartfelt and emotive. I loved the main character, Makepeace, but as is usual for Frances Hardinge, all of her characters are vivid and filled with life. No complaints about the quality of the writing either; it is a joy to read.

This is a great book for Hardinge fans, but also a wonderful starting place if you haven't read her before. As expected, this one is go
Feb 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I had a REALLY strong horror vibe in the first part of this book. Great atmosphere, vivid emotional impact, and I felt like I had no control. Beautiful. Hardinge is really great at this. :)

After that, however? The book went from being possessed by the ghost of a bear to a story of fantasy intrigue in the days of England's Civil War in the 17th century.

Say what?
Oh, yeah. Very period historical fantasy. Fun historical fantasy. Great characters.

Our MC's life stalls in the household of her biologi
Oct 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
If authors have golden periods during their careers than surely Frances Hardinge is in one now. Cuckoo Song and The Lie Tree were both brilliant dark fantasy stories with younger protagonists and this continues in that vein.

Makepeace and her mother live in a puritan village in England just prior to the English Civil War. From a young age Makepeace is trained to protect herself in a very strange way: her mother has her sleep in the village graveyard overnight to force her to learn to defend herse
Jenny Baker
Oct 17, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, 2017, young-adult
I don’t know what to say about this one. It had a fantastic start, but the last hundred pages was a chore to read. I actually sat this down for almost a week before I picked it back up to try to finish it.

The begin felt like a weird, creepy horror story, which I loved, but then the novel takes an unexpected bad turn. The spirit possession plot is set aside and the focus is more about the war, family secrets, and staying in the king’s good graces. There’s also a betrayal angle. For a large chunk
Feb 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The dead are often easier praised than the living.

Folk look for things far and wide, but seldom close.

This story takes place during the English Civil War (ca. 1640 – 1643) so it takes place roughly 200 years prior to the first novel I read by this author and thus shows quite a different kind of England. The two books are independent of one another. However, they show that the author is good at any historic setting. Battlefields, alleys in Oxford and old manors come to life equally in this ta
Lucy Banks
Jul 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I received the first few chapters of this book from Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.

A richly imagined, eerie start to the novel - more please!

I read Frances Hardinge's The Lie Tree a while back and really enjoyed it, so was hoping for something similar in this latest book. I certainly wasn't disappointed!

The story (so far) follows Makepeace, a strange young girl with the ability to see dead things. Except, these aren't the sort of ghosts you'd want to meet on a dark night - we're tal
"Bear, I need your eyes. I need your nose. I need your night-wits and forest-wisdom."

A Skinful of Shadows was, in short, magical and mesmerizing. This was my first Frances Hardinge book and it absolutely will not be my last. I have been completely taken by her imagination and vivid characters. This is the sort of book that is just as beautiful, if not more so, on the inside as the cover (and just LOOK at that cover!).

We are given an intriguing balancing act of well-researched historical detail s
Dec 03, 2021 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars. Frances Hardinge books grab you by the ankle and drag you under the current. They're not exactly pleasant (any more than drowning is), but they are certainly immersive, creative, and intensely disturbing. A Skinful of Shadows is the darkest of the three I've read by this author, and this one is a ride.

Here is the story of a girl whose mind can be inhabited by ghosts - a family characteristic of the aristocratic Fellmottes, and one highly prized in both its heirs and bastards (who are
Book Riot Community
Really, I just want to type “OH EM GEE FRANCES HARDINGE IS THE BEST” over and over in this space, but I will also add that this is a wildly imaginative dark historical fantasy set during the English Civil War, about ghosts, inheritance, and a dead bear. Hardinge is the empress of delightfully weird and creepy books.

Backlist bump: The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge

Tune in to our weekly podcast dedicated to all things new books, All The Books: http://bookriot.com/listen/shows/allt...
Dec 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017
This now joins the top ranks of being one of my favorite Hardinge novels. I absolutely loved it! The first half was interesting enough and I liked the setting. But the second half really took off for me as some unexpected things happened. And the ending was perfect.
Kitty G Books
Apr 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Definitely had fun with this book, it was filled with eerie promise and twisty plot and I like that about Hardinge's books. She always delivers a story that is age appropriate but still very alluring and dark and ominous all at once. This story deals with the idea of ghosts who can live inside people and a young girl who does not wish to inherit her family's curse. The premise is easy to enjoy and I found it a good read on the whole. 4*s from me :) ...more
Mel (Epic Reading)
Jan 29, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: arc-netgalley
Actual rating: 3.5 stars
While interesting and original this young adult horror story had a bit of an identity crisis as it tried to marry its horror story with historical war.
A Skinful of Shadows starts out very solid as we learn about our lead gals odd ghost 'issues'. Her Mother that appears cruel and the Aunt and Uncle who have no interest in her sets our lead gal up as a neglected, alone and forgotten soul. Not unlike some ghost/spirits might be.
And without a doubt Frances Hardinge is a sup
The Captain
Dec 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult
Ahoy there mateys! I read the author's book, the lie tree, at the beginning of the year as me first 19 in 2019 book.  That one was set in 1860 and I liked it enough that I wanted to try another of her books.  This book be set in the 1650s prior to the English civil war.  The author definitely knows how to pick interesting time periods and write unusual world building.  The main character Makepeace has a problem with ghosts trying to possess her.  I loved her and I loved reading about her weird c ...more
Jan 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Puritans and Royalists and their lead-up to the English Civil War in the mid-1600s are the backdrop of a good story about Makepeace Lightfoot, a young woman who was raised in some secrecy by her mother and taught to defend herself from ghosts entering her mind. With her mother's death, Makepeace is sent to Grizehayes, the ancestral home of her father and his noble family, the Fellmottes. Little do they know that Makepeace inadvertently allowed a maddened spirit to enter her while she was grievin ...more
Lauren James

I don't think I'm exaggerating when I say that this is the most original book I've ever read. Absolutely unique & mesmerising. Frances Hardinge is a national treasure. Makepeace, the girl with a bear in her soul, is going to stay with me for a long time.
Brenda Waworga
Jul 07, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
enjoyeable, full of adventure & magical
Alessandra Crivelli
This was such a disappointment to me.
I almost DNF this book and I need to forced every cells of my body in order to finish it.

I simply didn't care nor about the main character or the story.
I kind of care about the bear.

It was my only Halloween-ish book that I own and since I am in a book buying ban it will probably be the only Halloween book that I am going to read for Halloween.

So disappointed. It kind of set my mood of the entire month = DISAPPOINT.

I will probably still try "The lie tree
lucky little cat
Shades of Joan Aiken (plucky working class heroine gets caught up in quasi historical old mansion, kitchen work again, then war); shades of Terry Pratchett (multiple ghosts and

Where's the bacon?

voices crowd the girl's cranium); plus shades of shades: those ghosts just keep on coming. And talking. And the novel gets all picaresque, going on the road to both Oxford and London. And to battle. And to see the king. It's hard to keep caring through the many, many plot twists, not all of them surprisin

This book is about loyalty and friendship and the bond between siblings. It is about fighting the past and moving forward with new hopes and dreams. It is about a girl who has lost everything but gained so much more. So, I want you to read this book if;

゜you love nature
゜you want to read a book perfect for fall
゜you are a fan of beautiful wiring styles
゜you want to experience character developments
゜you like family drama and spy-stories
゜you don't mind reading a book with a darker plot
゜you wa
Cindy ✩☽♔
I have not yet read the book in its entirety, so perhaps it does get better, but from the free sample, I am not particularly fond of the book. Makepeace's mother is terribly strict and very secretive. She wants to protect her daughter from some great danger but refuses to give her any idea of what it is she is up against. On this issue, I am entirely on Makepeace's side.

And I know this has nothing to do with the plot, and it is explained in the story why her name is what it is, but my goodness
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Frances Hardinge spent her childhood in a huge, isolated old house in a small, strange village, and the two things inspired her to write strange, magical stories from an early age. She studied English at Oxford University and now lives in Oxford, England.

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