A Skinful of Shadows

Frances Hardinge. Amulet, $19.99 (432p) ISBN 978-1-4197-2572-2
As the English Civil War gains momentum, a girl named Makepeace Lightfoot attempts to uncover the shadowy secrets of her family history after her mother is killed. To do so, she travels to Grizehayes, the ancestral home of the father she never knew, where she learns that the aristocratic Fellmottes are able to possess ghosts within them, bringing them preternatural knowledge and strength. Thanks to her Fellmotte lineage, Makepeace comes to harbor several spirits within her, and she takes on as many external personas—servant, spy, medic, prophet—as she attempts to escape (and eventually bring down) the Fellmottes, who see her little more than a vessel. Hardinge, whose The Lie Tree was the 2015 Costa Book of the Year, crafts a delicious combination of historical adventure, coming-of-age tale, and supernatural intrigue, set amid power struggles that reshaped 17th-century England. Makepeace’s evolving relationships with the ghosts embodied within her are fascinating and moving (differentiated fonts make these internal conversations easy to follow), highlighting her growing compassion despite being given few reasons to trust anyone in her young life. Ages 13–up. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/25/2017
Release date: 10/01/2017
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