‘A Skinful of Shadows’ spoiler-free review!

Hey everyone! Today, I’m reviewing A Skinful of Shadows by Frances Hardinge. Having loved The Lie Tree last year when I read it with my book club, I just had to get my hands on this latest offering. Before I tell you my thoughts, check out the blurb from Goodreads:-


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.


Well, what can I say? Frances Hardinge does it again.  The concept of this novel is so brilliantly original and the execution of it is just perfect. Like The Lie Tree, it is quite slow-burning and atmospheric, and blends historical fiction and magical realism (two of my favourite genres) seamlessly. The attention to detail is astonishing and it is clear that Hardinge really researches her material extensively.

I loved Makepeace as a character and her relationship with Bear was completely heart-warming. The Fellmottes were very creepy and I really felt for Makepeace not knowing who to trust. The plot has SO many levels and the progression is amazing from start to finish. I could never predict what would happen next. The ending was also extremely satisfying.

I don’t know who the target audience is for this book; it feels like younger YA but, at the same time, the themes are quite dark so I’m not sure. All I know is that I loved it! I’m struggling to say much more without spoilers so I’ll just leave it at this. A Skinful of Shadows was a great spooky read for October but I know I would adore it at any time of year, it is so well done. All of the stars from me!


Has anyone else read this one? Or any of Hardinge’s other books? I must get my hands on more of them!


2 thoughts on “‘A Skinful of Shadows’ spoiler-free review!

  1. Pingback: The Candy Book Tag – Bookmark Your Thoughts

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