The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge is about the clever girl Faith. When her father is found dead, she finds his notes and reads about a mysterious tree which reveals a truth if told a lie. Somehow, this tree is connected to her father’s sudden death and Faith is determined to find out the truth. But soon she shall realize that not only lies can leave your world in pieces like a shattered mirror…
The story takes place in the late 1800s and I would call it a gothic, Victorian detective kind of story but there is a lot more to it than meets the eye. Hardinge really researched so well for The Lie Tree. Because of my studies I am always researching the Victorian era. The book seemed so real, as if it had been written from a person who lived this life. The living conditions, norms and customs were so well described and explained, there was nothing that wasn’t clear while I read it. Which was awesome because sometimes customs and people and their actions don’t add up in a 21st century mind 😉 What I really loved that it was never explanatory.
This book was full of mysteries and secrets, where the mighty play with fire as red as blood. At the beginning I wasn’t really sure whether The Lie Tree was something I wanted to read, but as I read a little further it got me hooked and I couldn’t resist to go on this dangerous journey with Faith.
I could identify and feel with the main character and her actions could have been my own at times. She is very mature for her young age and through her lenses, I was able to dive into the Victorian era. At some point I was in so deep that I really started hating this unfair society ruled by men. I wouldn’t say that I’m a feminist but this book made me truly realize how far we have come as a society concerning gender equality.
I won’t spoil you folks with any actual info BUT the ending was one of the best endings I read in a long time and it was, until the last moment, rather unpredictable who, where and how people were involved in this mess.
The Lie Tree is not a fast-paced story and there is very detailed information about events which are all necessary for the plot but sometimes I would have liked Faith not to be so dependent on external forces to unravel the mystery surrounding her father’s death. Maybe I am asking too much here because there is really no part I would have cut out of the story. But the book deserves every one of the four ribbons I gave.
If you want to dive into a Victorian world and uncover mysteries with a brave young girl, you should give this book a try 😉 It will not disappoint you.