- Buy this product and stream 90 days of Amazon Music Unlimited for free. E-mail after purchase. Conditions apply. Learn more
A Skinful of Shadows Paperback – 3 May 2018
|New from||Used from|
- Choose from over 13,000 locations across the UK
- Prime members get unlimited deliveries at no additional cost
- Find your preferred location and add it to your address book
- Dispatch to this address when you check out
Special offers and product promotions
Frequently bought together
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Everyone should read Frances Hardinge. Everyone. Right now. (Patrick Ness)
'A Skinful of Shadows confirms Hardinge's status as one of our finest storytellers. The striking originality of its magical element is matched by a thrilling depiction of a 17th century England riven with political and religious unease. At the centre of the novel, young Makepeace is a vital and engaging presence amid a cast of extraordinary and villainous characters, and she had my heart from the first. It's rare to find a book which is every bit as intelligent and stylish as it is riveting - I was enthralled' (Sarah Perry, author of The Essex Serpent)
Hardinge is a talent who deserves to be read by children and adults alike. (Guardian)
Hardinge's hypnotic prose and resourceful heroine will appeal to young adults and adult readers alike. (The Mail on Sunday)
Hardinge’s tale of ghosts, puritans and shaping your own destiny is an unmissable, hypnotic treat. (Observer Children’s Book of the Week)
Creepy, clever and mind-blowing. (Emerald Street)
Chillingly atmospheric, historically fascinating, it’s also blackly comic in parts and beautifully written. (Daily Mail)
Frances Hardinge’s latest novel, A Skinful of Shadows has a plot every bit as strange as her last, Costa-winning The Lie Tree. The thrilling story follows a 12-year-old girl who has imbibed the spirit of a bear, and is in danger from demonically possessed aristocrats. (Daily Telegraph (Books of the Year))
Electrifyingly good, A Skinful of Shadows dances between reason, compassion and the supernatural with exceptional artistry. Even in a remarkable year for children's books, it strikes gold. (New Statesman)
A Skinful of Shadows is the stunning story of a young girl's quest to shape her own destiny from Frances Hardinge, the author of The Lie Tree, winner of the Costa Book Award 2015.See all Product description
Customers who bought this item also bought
Read reviews that mention
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Set during the English Civil War, A Skinful of Shadows follows Makepeace, an illegitimate daughter of the aristocratic Felmottes. On her mother's death, she's brought to the Felmottes' ancestral home, Grizehayes, because she's inherited the family's singular talent - the ability to absorb the spirits of the dead into herself, preventing them from fading. It's how the Felmottes have preserved the knowledge and experiences of their ancestors, but often at the price of their own identities. Makepeace and her half-brother James are intended as vessels to hold Felmotte spirits in the event of an accident befalling one of the hosts: when James is used for such a purpose, Makepeace only narrowly escapes the same fate, because she already hosts the spirit of a circus bear.
With the Civil War raging, Makepeace sets out to find a way to rescue James, aided by Bear and by an ever-growing host of additional spirits. The journey takes her back and forth across England, to the King's Court at Oxford and to the Roundheads' camp, with only her wits, her guile and her ghosts to keep her safe.
This is rich, satisfying storytelling and a novel of intelligence and depth, and it's both of these things for the same reasons; Hardinge cares about language, and doesn't shy away from hard questions. I loved every moment I spent in Makepeace's world, and would love to go there again. The end of A Skinful Of Shadows suggests we might hear more from Makepeace and James... or maybe that's just wishful thinking on my part. I'm already pining for Hardinge's next novel.
A tale of ghosts and the beginning of the English Civil War, at the story's heart is Makepeace, a girl (spoiler alert for those who haven't read the dust-jacket) cursed or perhaps blessed with the ability to see ghosts and to let them dwell within her. Like many of Hardinge's heroines, Makepeace is clever, brave, insightful and almost no-one recognises her worth. Luckily she is joined by an unexpected ally who becomes a protector and, more than that, allows Makepeace to unleash her own fierceness as she battles against oppression, a truly horrible fate and the arrogant assumptions of an ancient noble family.
As with Terry Pratchett, behind Frances Hardinge's well-chosen words and compelling plots lurks a properly righteous anger at injustice and oppression and an urge to stand up for the weak against the strong. She also knows that the occasional joke in no way lessens the seriousness of a piece of art.
TL; DR? - It's a great book, you should read it.
No matter how dark things get—and believe it, this story gets very dark and very creepy indeed—within the dark there is light, there is love and there is an underlying moral compass (and if ‘moral compass’ sounds pious, it’s not—here it’s a lively, intelligent, very practical thing). She explores the political machinations of the time and the ordinary people caught in the squeeze. The human relationships are complex, rife with tension and, as such, believable. She creates profound connections to the natural world without sentimentality. Makepeace’s poignant alliance with Bear, a case in point; as is the mouse in the graveyard. This book, like her others, stirs the emotions and challenges you to think. All these elements are seamlessly weaved into a great, exciting adventure—there’s no dearth of action. Makepeace is a scrappy, resilient heroine who has the wit to see what needs to be done and the gumption to do it, even when it terrifies her. You’re rooting for her all the way.
This is beautifully written, classic fiction. Not just for YA, but for those of us who have left our YA years far behind.