Shortlisted for Waterstones Book of the Year 2017
'A Skinful of Shadows confirms Hardinge's status as one of our finest storytellers. 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
Frances Hardinge weaves a dark, otherworldly tale in A Skinful of Shadows, her first book since the Costa Award-winning The Lie Tree.
When a creature dies, its spirit can go looking for somewhere to hide.
Some people have space inside them, perfect for hiding.
Makepeace, a courageous girl with a mysterious past, defends herself nightly from the ghosts which try to possess her. Then a dreadful event causes her to drop her guard for a moment.
And now there's a ghost inside her.
The spirit is wild, brutish and strong, but it may be her only defence in a time of dark suspicion and fear. As the English Civil War erupts, Makepeace must decide which is worse: possession - or death.
Frances Hardinge spent 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, by this time a persistent friend had 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. Known for her beautiful use of language, she has since written many critically acclaimed novels, including Verdigris Deep, Cuckoo Song, and the Costa Award-winning The Lie Tree.
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 * 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) * Chillingly atmospheric, historically fascinating, it's also blackly comic in parts and beautifully written. * Daily Mail * Creepy, clever and mind-blowing. * Emerald Street * Hardinge's tale of ghosts, puritans and shaping your own destiny is an unmissable, hypnotic treat. * Observer Children's Book of the Week * Hardinge's hypnotic prose and resourceful heroine will appeal to young adults and adult readers alike. * The Mail on Sunday * Hardinge is a talent who deserves to be read by children and adults alike. * Guardian * '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 <i>The Essex Serpent</i> Everyone should read Frances Hardinge. Everyone. Right now. -- <b>Patrick Ness</b>