A Skinful of Shadows by Frances Hardinge
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.
Hardinge's novels are always a delight to read. A Skinful of Shadows is a follow up to The Lie Tree but both books can be read as standalone books. This is the perfect blend of history, magical realism and dark fantasy. The book gives us castles, hungry soldiers, plagues, and suspicious townsfolk. Did I mention it also gives us ghosts? Oh yes, a number of ghosts.