A Skinful of Shadows is a fantasy novel set around 1642 at the beginning of the English Civil war. Makepeace is the main character, a girl living with her mother in her Aunt and Uncle’s home but never truly belonging there. The book begins when Makepeace is twelve years old, waking up screaming from nightmares of ghosts trying to make their way inside her. Her mother, a strict, supposedly Puritan woman, tries to prepare her by leaving her alone in graveyards to strengthen her mind against the ghosts and build her guard. When her mother dies, Makepeace blames herself and the spirit of a frightened and angry bear enters her body. It is wild and strong but soon their spirits entwine and Bear becomes her only defence when she goes to live with her father’s rich and powerful family. There is a secret at Grizehayes, one that causes the family to keep their relations close and send a shiver of fear down the spine of anyone who beholds them. Makepeace spends the next three years planning an escape with James, her newly discovered older brother. A difficult task with the outside world being torn apart by war and the Fellmotte family Elders trying to tear her apart on the inside.