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 a mystery: an unattended envelope, an unlocked door. She also knows secrets no one suspects her of knowing. For one, 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 when her father is discovered dead shortly thereafter, she knows 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, and when that fruit is eaten, it delivers a hidden truth. But while the tree might hold the key to her father’s murder, it could also lure his murderer directly to Faith.
Frances Hardinge is the winner of the Costa Book of the Year for The Lie Tree, one of just two young adult novels to win the major UK literary prize. She is the author of several books for children, including Cuckoo Song, The Lost Conspiracy, Fly by Night, Well Witched, and Fly Trap. She lives in England. Visit the author at franceshardinge.com.
The Lie Tree 3.8 out of 5based on
More than 1 year ago
This was a rather slow moving, dark, and even depressing book. I was intrigued by the synopsis. Unfortunately that is where the intrigue stopped. The writing made me feel sad, tired, depressed and I couldn't wait to finish the story. In fact I was relieved when story ended! I would not recommend this book to anyone.
More than 1 year ago
This is set in the Victorian era, a few years after the publication of ‘The Origin of Species’ by Charles Darwin. Reverend Erasmus Sunderly is well known as a natural scientist but he disagrees with evolution and the views of Darwin. Scandal regarding his discoveries is about to impact on the lives of him and his family so he accepts a timely invitation for them to go to Vane Island. His eldest daughter, Faith, is inquisitive like her father but she’s at that awkward age - too young to be accepted by adults but too old to really be in the Nursery. When she finds her father’s body she disagrees with the supposition that he committed suicide to escape the scandalous rumours and sets out to uncover the truth after finding out about her father’s Lie Tree and how to use it.
This is highly original and thought provoking. It explores life at that time, the contradictory views, attitudes towards women and questions if knowing the truth is always a good thing. I would suggest this is most suitable for a young adult audience rather than any younger because of the themes of murder and suicide integral to the story. It is powerfully written with an intriguing plot that takes the reader on a fast paced, roller coaster ride with plenty of twists, turns and obstacles en route, too.
Thanks to the author, publishers and NetGalley, too, for letting me read an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
More than 1 year ago
This book wasn't my favourite. I had trouble engaging with the characters and at times I was bored with the storyline.
The premise is intriguing. A young, intelligent girl takes on investigating her father's murder when everyone else thinks he has killed himself due a scandal related to falsification of his scientific discoveries. And the book does toy with the paradox of science versus nature. And while I wanted to love this book I found myself ... drifting at times. This was the kind of book where I would send up reading a few pages and then wonder what I had read because my mind had drifted.
I tend to either love or hate a book. This one, while it had an interesting setting and premise, just didn't engage me. If you enjoy historical literature and girl power books, you might feel otherwise.
More than 1 year ago
Isn't this photo something to gawk at? I totally love it - and it's just one version of this book's cover. The photo belongs to a book called, The Lie Tree, by Frances Hardinge. I can't get over the sketching; it's mysterious, curious and almost evil, but does it match the actual story..,
(This photos was found via Google.com. I only added the title.)
The story tells of Faith, the eldest daughter, who discovered her father's work has been scrutinized and found scandalous. He'd been accused of an intellectual fabrication so great, the family fled into the night from Kent, to an island called Vane, But that desperate run served no assistance, because later her father is discovered dead, assumed to have committed the ultimate sin: suidide. Faith refuses to believe so and she set herself on a mission to clear her father's name and uncover a killer.
What I've come to decide is, this book shouldn't have been titled The Lie Tree, but Faith Determined! It was all about how she could put things to right. Dead right! It didn't matter who fell upon her plan either. The Lie Tree allowed her to assumably feed the mysterious three a lie, in order to receive a truth...
*For the full book review: http://tinyurl.com/hr35sm5
**Book is from my personal library, for an honest review.
More than 1 year ago
"Magic" was not an answer; it was an excuse to avoid looking for one.
Faith Sunderly is no longer a child but at fourteen she is not quite a woman. Desperate for her father's respect, Faith is keen to be seen as a proper young lady. But a proper young lady doesn't have a sharp intellect or burning curiosity that drives her to acts of subterfuge. They certainly don't harbor dreams of becoming a scientist.
Faith knows that some kind of calamity drove her family from their home in Kent to the strange island of Vane and ruined her father's reputation. The Reverend Sunderly's name is further sullied when he dies under strange circumstances soon after the family's arrival. While her grasping mother does everything she can to ensure the Reverend has a Christian burial, Faith is resolutely certain that her father was murdered.
Investigating his death and the events that brought the family to the island, Faith discovers that her father was hiding an odd tree that thrives in near darkness and bears fruit for every lie it's told. Stranger still, every piece of fruit can reveal a secret truth.
Hoping to prove her worth as a scientist and discover her father's murderer, Faith plans to study the tree and use its fruit. But revealing a truth as large as the identity of a murderer requires monstrous lies which soon gain a life of their own and threaten to destroy far more than Faith's reputation in The Lie Tree (2016) by Frances Hardinge.
The Lie Tree is Hardinge's latest standalone novel.
The Lie Tree is atmospheric and evocative with vibrant descriptions of the island landscape. Hardinge seamlessly blends a variety of genres in this book which features a compelling mystery, a thoughtfully detailed historical setting circa 1868, and fascinating fantasy elements.
In her short life Faith has come up against the limitations of her gender repeatedly and seen the scientific world she so loves betray her again and again. Faith knows she is capable of becoming more than a decorative and occasionally witty wife like her mother. Yet the men in her life constantly remind Faith that to want more, indeed to want almost anything at all, runs contrary to her proper place in the world. As a result Faith is a pragmatic and often ruthless heroine. She knows she is unkind and unlikable. She doesn't care. This fact is deftly illustrated with her reluctant association with Paul--an island boy unwillingly drawn into Faith's investigations.
This complex and nuanced narrative is all about contrasts and tensions. The Lie Tree takes place at a time when scientists are still struggling to find ways to articulate evolution and to reconcile scientific advancements with spiritual belief. Faith's father is terrified of what evolution and archaeology might mean for his already fragile religious faith. His efforts to find definitive proof of one or the other ultimately becomes his undoing.
The Lie Tree also examines the ways in which femininity can be exploited and manipulated as demonstrated by its varied cast of characters. Faith explores this theme throughout the narrative as she tries to make sense of her role in an adult world that has little use for her both as a not-quite child and as a young woman.
Recommended for readers who like their fantasy to come with mystery, suspense, a firmly historical setting and a healthy dose of feminism. The Lie Tree is a provocative and fascinating novel guaranteed to stay with readers long after the book is finished.