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A Skinful of Shadows

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  6,590 ratings  ·  1,080 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, 418 pages
Published September 21st 2017 by Pan Macmillan (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 4.01  · 
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 ·  6,590 ratings  ·  1,080 reviews

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Oct 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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
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  ·  review of another edition
“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
Mogsy (MMOGC)
4.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

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.

Ova - Excuse My Reading
Mar 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: charming-covers
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!
Oct 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
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
Oct 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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  ·  review of another edition
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
Éimhear (A Little Haze)
"There was a little girl lost in the woods, who was chased by a wolf. She ran and ran until her feet were torn, but she knew that the wolf had her scent and was still coming after her. In the end she had to make a choice. She could keep on running and hiding and running forever, or she could stop and sharpen a stick to defend herself. What do you think was the right decision, Makepeace?
Makepeace could tell that this was not just a story, and that the answer mattered a great deal.
‘Can you figh
Oct 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Lucy Banks
Jul 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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
kath | novel + folk
"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
Jenny Baker
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
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:
Dec 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Apr 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
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
The Captain
Dec 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mel (Epic Reading)
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
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
Sep 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing

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
enjoyeable, full of adventure & magical
lucky little cat
Nov 13, 2018 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of Joan Aiken's Wolves of Willoughby Chase cycle
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
Rachael (RedRchlReads)
From the 5 chapters that were included with this ARC, I'm definitely intrigued in reading the rest of this story. The story starts out strong and is interesting and engaging from the the very first page with interesting characters and a very enticing premise.. I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the story. ...more
Rachael ( RachaelRexds )
I was expecting to enjoy the book more than I actually did :(
Nonetheless, I might give it another chance again in the future!
Jun 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
This is good. (What a relief.) This is more of historical-fantasy Hardinge, but being set in 1640s England makes all the difference. Here's a setting that's integral without being weighed down by its own implications.

Some of the writing is a little too clever and stands out a little too much, and some of it zings with that Hardinge wit:
His face was mournful, lined, and marked by a rigid uncertainty. There was something tense and waiting to happen in his manner - perhaps outrage, the baby siblin
Full review originally posted on my blog! ʕ´•ᴥ•`ʔ

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
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
Lenna • Sugar Dusted Pages
What can I say? It was perfect and you all need to read this book. RTC
` I maybe checked again today. Just to look at it.
Edit: I am so excited for this book I check this page literally every week to make sure it's really not going to be released until October 10. And I'm so excited for this book I'm not even embarrassed about that.
This is going to be great.
I need this in my life right NOW.
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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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