A Skinful of Shadows by Frances Hardinge
Published September 26th, 2017
Genres: Fantasy, YA, Historical Fiction
Buy: Book Depository | Amazon
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.”
I really enjoyed this one! This is my first book from the author but I’ve been meaning to buy The Lie Tree for quite a while.
This book was much darker than what I initially expected and I loved that. It’s historical fiction mixed with supernatural and it just went so well together! Plus it even has some mystery in it! It was dark and extremely captivating.
Makepeace is our main character. She is just a child who grew up in Puritan community before the English Civil War. She lived with her mother but after she passes away, she is taken by her father’s family, the Fellmottes. Which is what her mother most feared.
The Fellmottes are not a usual family, they’re an important rich family with a secret no one can find out. They have the ability to store a certain number of spirits inside them. And so does she! Before she knows anything about their peculiar gift, she is inhabited by the violent spirit of a murdered circus bear, who she henceforth has to share her head-space with.
But not everything is as it seems and this book quite surprised me. The world was a bit confusing in the beginning but it was interesting and their gift or curse, depending on the point of view, was fascinating to me.
But the best part of this book is the characters. There’s a lot of twists and everyone ends up being different from what I thought they would be. I especially love how strong and clever Makepeace is. She is just a child but she soon realizes that if she wants to survive she has to be careful and precise. She is patient and a totally bad-ass character. I loved her connection with the bear. And how she discovered how everything worked. It seemed impossible how a connection between a little girl and a bear inside her head would touch me, but the truth is that it did. It was lovely to see!
The plot is like I said, full of twists and the writing is just on point! Everything is extremely complex and fascinating and I couldn’t stop reading it! Even the end surprised me. I didn’t expect anything that happened in this book (other than one tiny thing) and I loved it with all my heart. It’s a unique story that spares no one. It’s dark and merciless and perfect if you like historical fiction with some fantasy in it.
It was a bit difficult to get into at first but definitely worth it! The beginning is slow but it does get tenser and it’s just amazing. Highly recommend it!
Have you read this yet? What did you think of it? Let’s discuss it in the comments below!