The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge

March 15, 2016
Book Review, InToriLex, Netgalley, The Lie Tree, Frances Hardinge
The Lie Tree: Costa Book of the Year 2015
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 . . .


I usually avoid historical fiction because I know it's a genre that's hard for me to enjoy. But after reading many four starred ratings of this on Goodreads, I decided to take a chance. While reading the first 35% of the book I was regretting that decision and was tempted to stop reading because it started off very slow. However since I had already committed to giving it a try, I powered through and was able to immerse myself in and enjoy the rest of the book. Faith is a very smart and clever girl who has to deal with a society which dismisses her entire gender as fragile and inferior. She quickly learns how to play on those low expectations and sets a plan in motion to discover exactly what happened to her father.
"When every door is closed, one learns to climb through windows."

The character development was great. I began the book disliking most of the characters because of their backward thinking and inability to listen to others. While learning more about them I warmed up to the different personalities. Even How, Faith's little brother who is spoiled throughout the book becomes more sympathetic and less annoying. Once Faith sets out to discover what the lie tree is, and how she can use it, the mystery unravels in a enjoyable whirl wind. The island itself provides a dreary but appropriate backdrop to the Faith's lies and hysteria those lies cause. The author is able to describe imaginative and creative vision sequences, that enhanced my reading experience.
"Zeal was like gas most dangerous when you could not see it. The wrong spark could light it at any time."
Beyond the mystery involved with the lie tree, is a family trying to keep themselves together and persevere through mistreatment and ill fortune. Faith refused to back down from what she knew, or to give up. Despite physical and verbal assaults against her and her family she never doubts herself, and is able to seek out and reveal the truth. Despite the beginning, I still enjoyed reading on and finding out the nature of the lie tree. I would recommend this to fans of historical fiction, who can handle a slow start and enjoys mysteries.

Downtown Abby, Book Review, The Lie Tree, Frances Hardinge
I received this e-book from the Publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. 

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