Life in 17th century England isn't easy, and especially so for a fatherless young girl. Makepeace's strange and secretive mother has only ever let one small clue slip - Grizehayes, a place she regards with loathing and fear. But when Makepeace's mother decides to lock her in a crypt by night, she decides it's time to escape and find her other family. She learns of a Grizehayes man in town, and sets out to find him. But times are volatile and a riot sweeps through the city, sweeping away the only parent Makepeace has ever known.
Without her mother to guide her, Makepeace cannot make sense of the strange visions that assault her at night: screaming figures with grasping hands and rotten faces, and becomes terrified when a stronger vision attacks her in a swamp. The answers are out there, and Grizehayes - owned by the influential and dangerous Fellmotte clan - is the only place to find them.
Hardinge explores the powerful theme of fidelity and its slippery application in life. Set against the backdrop of the English Civil War, loyalties are quick to change and power, wealth and influence to be gained. But for the Fellmottes and their descendants, there is even more to lose.
Recommended for 13+
Frances Hardinge weaves another darkly extraordinary tale in A Skinful of Shadows, her follow-up to the Costa Award-winning novel The Lie Tree.
'Hardinge is an unusual talent who deserves to be read by children and adults alike' - Guardian
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.