A Skinful of Shadows by Frances Hardinge

A Skinful of Shadows

Written by Frances Hardinge

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October 2017 Book of the Month | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month October 2017

Award-winning Frances Hardinge’s latest novel bubbles over with brilliant ideas in a fast-paced and thought-provoking adventure encompassing families, a very special kind of haunting, spying and the English Civil War. Twelve year Makepeace has grown up practising how to defend herself against spirits who go in search of another living being to inhabit when they are released from the dead. Makepeace is skilful at defence but, when grieving the death of her mother, she lets her guard down and is filled with the spirit of a bear. But Bear is a friend as much as a foe and now Makepeace has a strong internal allay who may be exactly what she needs when she goes to stay with her father’s terrifying family whom she needs to resist at all costs. Frances Hardinge’s beautiful writing makes the unbelievable credible and tangible as she weaves together and then unravels layer upon layer of complexities in this substantial and deeply story. ~ Julia Eccleshare

Julia Eccleshare's Picks of the Month for October 2017

A Skinful of Shadows by Frances Hardinge

The Wolf, the Duck and the Mouse by Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen

Illegal by Eoin Colfer and Andrew Donkin

The Land of Neverendings by Kate Saunders

The Wizards of Once by Cressida Cowell

Pax by Sara Pennypacker and Jon Klassen

Egyptomania by Emma Giuliani and Carole Saturno

Father Christmas and Me by Matt Haig

The Greatest Magician in the World by Matt Edmondson


A Skinful of Shadows by Frances Hardinge

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. And now there's a spirit inside her. The spirit is wild, brutish and strong, and it may be her only defence when she is sent to live with her father's rich and powerful ancestors. There is talk of civil war, and they need people like her to protect their dark and terrible family secret. But as she plans her escape and heads out into a country torn apart by war, Makepeace must decide which is worse: possession - or death.


'Hardinge is an unusual talent who deserves to be read by children and adults alike' - Guardian

Praise for The Lie Tree

"The Lie Tree is brilliant: dark, thrilling, utterly original. Everyone should read Frances Hardinge. Everyone. Right now." -- Patrick Ness

“A dark, ingenious tale oozing gothic atmosphere.” Costa Children's Book Award Judges

About the Author

Frances Hardinge

Frances Hardinge spent a large part of her childhood in a huge old house that inspired her to write strange stories from an early age. She read English at Oxford University, then got a job at a software company. However, a few years later a persistent friend finally managed to bully Frances into sending a few chapters of Fly By Night, her first children's novel, to a publisher. Macmillan made her an immediate offer. The book went on to publish to huge critical acclaim and win the Branford Boase First Novel Award. She has since written many highly acclaimed children's novels including, Fly By Night's sequel, Twilight Robbery, as well as the Carnegie shortlisted Cuckoo Song and the Costa Book of the Year winner, The Lie Tree.

Author photo © David Levenson

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Book Info


432 pages
Interest Age: From 12 to 15 years


Frances Hardinge
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Author's Website



Macmillan an imprint of Pan Macmillan

Publication date

21st September 2017




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