Frances Hardinge

Eleven years ago I discovered Frances Hardinge, with one of her least acclaimed and most poetic stories. The book rep gave Rona Gallery a copy, and suddenly I had a new favourite author, upstaging Tolkien. A modern fairy tale, the prose was densely poetic, with a dark fairy tale feel.

Since then, I’ve read everything she’s put out. Reveling in her worlds, her characters, and the unique voice she gives every story. Here’s a collection of my favourites. Please note, as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

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Almost steampunk, this story follows 15-year-old Hark. Hark’s mission is to stay alive in a world where fear is palpable, and dead gods are worshiped as the saviours and destroyers of islands.

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Winner of the Costa Book of the Year, this heartwarming story is full of Victorian macabre and adventure as the heroine uncovers secrets that threaten to tear her family and Victorian sensibilities apart.

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(Also known As Well Witched) Arguably Frances Hardinge’s best written and least well-known book. If you love rich prose within a modern fairy-tale, I expect you’ll love this book as much as I do.

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A creepy little horror. For me it wasn’t as memorable as some of Frances’ other stories, but still a great little page-turner for sophisticated middle grade readers, or adults like me who love top-notch children’s literature.

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There’s not many books where morally dubious characters can rescue themselves by convincing a highwayman that what he really needs is good publicity – and then follow the consequences of that action.  It’s witty, beautiful and dangerous. A beautifully presented mythical 18th Century Middle England, fractured by religious and political upheaval. 

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(Also known as Fly Trap) Twilight Robbery is everything you’d expect from children’s book.  It’s gorgeous, dangerous, and enchanting (without the magic). There’s lots of running both into and out of danger, as well as fast-talking, and to top it off, a loveable and dangerous goose. 


For more great middle grade books