Review: The Lie Tree

Rating: 4/5

384 pages

Amulet Books, 2016

Faith Sunderly leads a double life. To most people, she is modest and well mannered–a proper young lady who knows her place. But inside, Faith is burning with questions and curiosity. She keeps sharp watch of her surroundings and, therefore, knows secrets no one suspects her of knowing–like the real reason her family fed Kent to the close-knit island of Vane. And that her father’s death was no accident.

In pursuit of revenge and justice for the father she idolizes, Faith hunts through his possessions, where she discovers a strange tree. A tree that bears fruit only when she whispers a lie to it. The fruit, in turn, delivers a hidden truth. The tree might hold the key to her father’s murder. Or, it might lure the murderer directly to Faith herself, for lies–like fires, wild and crackling–quickly take on a life of their own.

This novel by Frances Hardinge is listed as being Middle Grade to Young Adult but it’s a story that’s compleling for readers of all ages.

Hardinge weaves a fantastical tale that’s at once rebellious and filled with consequences. Set during the time of Charles Darwin’s discoveries and the scientific interest they ignited, female readers in particular might feel a closer kinship to Faith as she struggles to follow her passions and be true to herself in a society that scorns her for even existing and punishes her for daring to try to push beyond the invisible boundaries set around her.

Everything gets triggered when Faith’s father, a preacher, suddenly moves the family from York in England to a mysterious small island where the Lie Tree grows.

This deliciously dark story is one that will have readers sit up straighter as they get drawn into Faith’s transcendental journey as she goes from a curious explorer of the Lie Tree to a gleefully vicious user who seeks to understand its very existence, which offers a dangerous reward even as she races against an unknown foe who will do everything possible to stop her from uncovering the truth behind her father’s sudden death.

Like a well crafted net that ensares you before you’ve even realised it, The Lie Tree is a perfect read for historical fiction lovers, murder mystery aficionados, and those interested in any rebellion against the norm.

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