When lies get out of hand in the Victorian era all thanks to…The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge

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This book is one of those that has been sat on my bookshelves for many months now, and it was about time I finally read it.

Plus with it looking quite dark and creepy, I figured the lead up to Halloween was the perfect time for it.

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So let’s talk about The Lie Tree!

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Title: The Lie Tree

Author: Frances Hardinge

Publisher: Pan Macmillan

Series Status: Standalone

Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Mystery

Number of Pages:  410

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(Found on back cover, see another version on Goodreads)

The leaves were cold and slightly clammy. There was no mistaking them. She had seen their likeness painstakingly sketched in her father’s journal. This was his greatest secret, his treasure and his undoing. The Tree of Lies. Now it was hers, and the journey he had never finished stretched out before her. 

When Faith’s father is found dead under mysterious circumstances, she is determined to untangle the truth from the lies. Searching through his belongings for clues she discovers a strange tree. A tree that feeds off whispered lies and bears fruit that reveals hidden secrets.

But as Faith’s untruths spirals out of control, she discovers that were lies seduce, truths shatter…

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So before reading this, I had no idea what to expect. Not one single clue. Even when I’d started reading it, I couldn’t wrap my head around the feel of it.  I was told beforehand it was quite a dark story. And for some reason, that translated to “gothic” in my mind. And I was kind of disappointed that it wasn’t gothic (only because I love that feel though). Yes, it’s dark, but in the way that the story is surrounded by murder and lies. It’s dark in a deceptive way, the way secrets smother everything.

And as with every mystery novel that’s smothered in lies, I couldn’t have guessed the plot to save my life. But it was definitely gripping. Every time I opened this book, the pages sucked me in and trapped me, wrapping me in mystery and intrigue. There weren’t any obvious hints to solve the problem either – you were clueless until the very end. So many questions were flying through my head, and the only way I could get them out was to read more.

Now, the thing I liked most about this book was the main character, Faith. She was feisty, but in a subdued way...if that makes any sense. Basically what I mean is, this book is set in the Victorian period. Faith is told so many times that she can’t be clever because men are much more clever than women – she should just sit around looking pretty (which is so frustrating to read about, though of course that’s a good thing because accuracy). Because of all the expectations, and the importance of reputation, Faith is shunned for being clever. But does she take it? No. She works her way around it, with a quiet determination. She’s feisty, but quiet about it.

And since Faith had her quiet way of manipulating things, it was really intriguing to see how the events played out. I couldn’t have predicted anything that happened, and when it came to the mystery itself, I was just suspecting everyone. Who needs trust?

This is one of those strange sort of reads where I don’t have many thoughts to write down in review form. I enjoyed it, it was gripping, and the mystery certainly took me by surprise…but at the same time, I’d have liked to see a little more. I still had some unanswered questions about the tree itself, but I guess it adds to the mystery. I just can’t help feeling like the ending was slightly abrupt.

I do feel like I might have enjoyed this just a tiny bit more had the hype surrounding it not been so overwhelming, but nothing can be done about that. And like I said, I still thoroughly enjoyed it, so nothing was lost. It was definitely a unique read, and it’s made me want to read a few more of Frances Hardinge’s books.

Rated 3.5/5 stars

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Share your thoughts!

Have you read this book? What did you think?

If you haven’t read this book, do you plan to?

Maybe you’ve read some of Frances Hardinge’s other books? Which would you recommend me read next?

Let me know in the comments!

Until next time…

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11 thoughts on “When lies get out of hand in the Victorian era all thanks to…The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge

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