Article Title

A Skinful of Shadows


Karen Abbott


Excellent, Young Adult, Medius, Vessel, Spirits, Ghosts, Puritans, King Charles, Determination, Brother and Sister, Civil War, Bastards Illegitimate

Document Type

Book Review


Makepeace can harbor the spirits of the dead. To enable her to protect herself, her mother forces Makepeace to spend nights alone in the cemetery. Makepeace rebels and runs away, but finds herself instead in a battle and is devastated when her mother follows and is killed. Penitent, she tries to allow her mother's spirit refuge within her, but captures the spirit of a confused performing bear instead. Unable to control the bear's spirit, she appears to have gone mad. Her aunt and uncle reach out to her mysterious father's family and they imprison her in the ancestral home. Makepeace's only solace is her discovery of a half-brother, James, and the bear's spirit which she keeps concealed. Makepeace and James try repeatedly to escape but are always followed and returned. On the brink of adulthood they discover that the reason they are being kept is to be used as vessels for ancient spirits. Terrified, Makepeace struggles even harder to escape, but James now wants a place in the family. Decisions drive them in different directions, but they unite in the end to destroy the perverse family legacy.