A skinful of shadows by Frances Hardinge
Macmillan, 2017. ISBN 9781509869305
(Age: 13+) Highly recommended. Caught between Catholics and Protestants in the seventeenth century and wielding a dangerous supernatural power, Makepeace must make herself as inconspicuous as possible to have any chance at surviving in her father's family and her Inheritance.
The night is dark and full of terrors for Makepeace, even more so when she finds herself alone after her mother's death. Alone and fool-hardy, the girl is desperate to learn more about the ghosts she has always been told she must keep out. In doing so she soon finds herself in more than one dangerous situation as something which is scared and frightened finds itself trapped within her own mind. Sold to her father's family to offset the burden of housing an insane girl, Makepeace finds herself caged, a position both she and her animal friend detest. Soon she learns to be one with Bear and conceals him from her Elders and Betters. It is with Bear's help, and that of her cousin, James, that she survives three years with the Fellmottes and avoids her inheritance, or at least part of it. Stronger than most of the family, Makepeace's fear of ghosts keeps her wary and prepared to deal with those that would possess her, as well as open minded to the possibilities and uses of saving those souls she deems worthy. But is that enough to save her from the dreaded inheritance?
Illuminating and engaging, Hardinge's novel draws the reader right in alongside Bear and Makepeace as they fight for their freedom and the freedom of the people. Highly recommended to lovers of fantasy, particularly featuring animals or a medieval setting.
Kayla Gaskell, 22