A Skinful of Shadows by Frances Hardinge
As a young child, Makepeace Danners was sent by her mother to sleep in the graveyard. Told it was to build her defences against the spirits that lurked there, she spent night after night bedded down amongst the ghosts, with only mice and rats for company.
As she grew older, Makepeace realised that she had a strange talent. There is a space inside her which can be filled by the spirits of the dead. This talent marks her as very interesting to the Felmotte family, the rich and powerful ancestors from whom she has inherited it. Her mother hopes her childhood training will protect her from them, but one fateful day Makepeace lets her guard down, and now she has a spirit inside her.
The spirit is wild, brutish and strong, and it may be her only defence when the Felmotte family come to claim her as one of their own. There is talk of civil war, and they need people with talents such as hers 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.
Frances Hardinge weaves a dark, otherworldly tale in A Skinful of Shadows, her first book since the Costa Award-winning The Lie Tree.