Winner of the Costa Book of the Year 2015.
The Lie Tree is a wonderfully evocative and atmospheric novel by Frances Hardinge, award-winning author of Cuckoo Song and Fly By Night.
Faith's father has been found dead under mysterious circumstances, and as she is searching through his belongings for clues she discovers a strange tree. The tree only grows healthy and bears fruit if you whisper a lie to it. The fruit of the tree, when eaten, will deliver a hidden truth to the person who consumes it. The bigger the lie, the more people who believe it, the bigger the truth that is uncovered.
The girl realizes that she is good at lying and that the tree might hold the key to her father's murder, so she begins to spread untruths far and wide across her small island community. But as her tales spiral out of control, she discovers that where lies seduce, truths shatter . . .
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Frances Hardinge’s seventh novel—the 2015 Costa Book of the Year—is well worth the flashy accolades being thrown at it. It’s a deliciously dark tale rooted in Victorian history but sprinkled with fantasy. We adored Hardinge’s vengeful, savvy young heroine, Faith Sunderly, who heads to a remote island to investigate her father’s grisly murder. When Faith discovers a magical tree sustained by lies, she harnesses its powers to flush out the truth—leading to a startling conclusion. With its stunning blend of swashbuckling storytelling and intoxicating historical detail, The Lie Tree is an intelligent exploration of women’s place in society.
In Hardinge's (Cuckoo Song) superb tale of overarching ambition and crypto-botany, which recently won the Costa Book Award in the U.K., the Reverend Erasmus Sunderly, an eminent if unpleasant Victorian, has suddenly moved his family to a remote island, ostensibly to participate in a paleontological dig, but actually to escape scandal. Noticing that he is acting strangely, his 14-year-old daughter, Faith, a budding scientist whose intellectual curiosities are dismissed and discouraged, offers her aid and soon finds herself party to a terrifying discovery, a mysterious tree that apparently feeds on lies, rewarding the liar with astonishing visions. This so-called "Mendacity Tree" gives the tale an oddly allegorical feel, like something out of Spenser's The Faerie Queene. When Sunderly is found dead, an apparent suicide, it is up to Faith to clear his name, expose the murderer, and perhaps endanger her very soul. Hardinge's characteristically rich writing is on full display alternately excoriating, haunting, and darkly funny and the novel also features complex, many-sided characters and a clear-eyed examination of the deep sexism of the period, which trapped even the most intelligent women in roles as restrictive as their corsets. The Reverend's murder is a compelling mystery, grounded not just in professional envy and greed, but in the theological high-stakes game of Darwinian evolution and its many discontents. It's a ripping good yarn, one that should hold particular appeal for readers who are attracted to philosophically dense works like those of David Almond and Margo Lanagan. Ages 13 up.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Some writers just have it...
Excellent story. Gripping and completely impossible to put down. However, much more than that the writhing just flows; strange as it sounds, I kind of forgot I was reading when I was reading about Faith's adventures. Bravo to a brilliant author. 👏