Read this thought-provoking, critically acclaimed novel from Frances Hardinge, winner of the Costa Book of the Year and Costa Children's Book Awards.
Faith Sunderly leads a double life. To most people, she is reliable, dull, trustworthy—a proper young lady who knows her place as inferior to men. But inside, Faith is full of questions and curiosity, and she cannot resist mysteries: an unattended envelope, an unlocked door. She knows secrets no one suspects her of knowing. She knows that her family moved to the close-knit island of Vane because her famous scientist father was fleeing a reputation-destroying scandal. And she knows, when her father is discovered dead shortly thereafter, that he was murdered.
In pursuit of justice and revenge, Faith hunts through her father's possessions and discovers a strange tree. The tree bears fruit only when she whispers a lie to it. The fruit of the tree, when eaten, delivers a hidden truth. The tree might hold the key to her father's murder—or it may lure the murderer directly to Faith herself. Frances Hardinge is the author of many acclaimed novels, including Cuckoo Song, which earned five starred reviews.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
It is a bit cliche to make the battle between science and religion as such, BUT, Hardinge is a brilliant writer, and she makes it work.
Her writing, as ever, is brilliant - it's full and rich and incredibly beautiful. I liked the main character, Faith. She's a girl in an oppressive society who finds ways to battle with her inner sense of right and wrong and doggedly solves the mystery. I found the whole book to be a page turner -- I had a hard time putting it down. The mystery was well done, and the somewhat gothic, creepy, Victorian setting was perfect for Hardinge's particular flavor of tale spinning. Post mortem photos! Phrenology! Patriarchy! Burgeoning Natural Science study by gentlemen scientists!
I did guess the 'whodunit' before the end because I remembered a key clue, but that didn't detract from the overall story. I found the characters complex and very interesting. The ending was satisfying, and the relationship between mother and daughter more...
Wow, I really, really enjoyed this one!
I wasn't sure what to expect, but I thought the main character, Faith, ,was extremely interesting an relatable. I loved the issues of being a female and a child during the time period, and the complicated relationships between family. I thought Faith's complex feelings towards her mother and father were terribly realistic, and I really enjoyed seeing those evolve over the course of the novel. The mystery of the book was super interesting, especially with the mystical addition of the lie tree. So awful and amazing watching Faith spin lies in the name of vengeance, seeing those lies take on a life of their own, and watching Faith come to terms with the repercussions of what she'd set in motion.
Overall a well-written and gripping novel that kept me interested throughout. Definitely plan on looking into more of Hardinge's work.
I’d seen a flurry of articles about Frances Hardinge online, and was intrigued by the woman who wears a fedora for its sense of adventure. She’s a master storyteller: her writing in The Lie Tree is utterly captivating, the plot is surprising, and the themes are big and important—everything we bookworms hope a book could be. It was the 2016 Costa Book of the Year
The protagonist Faith, 14 and stuck in a ‘training corset’, grapples with heady topics: societal conventions and limitations on women, the discovery of the flaws in her father’s character, the clash of science and religion in Victorian England, and the mob mentality of people. Big ideas, fresh characters, and lovely writing made this one deliciously memorable.
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