“People were animals, and animals were nothing but teeth. You bit first, and you bit often. That was the only way to survive.”
Title: The Lie Tree
Author: Frances Hardinge
Publication: April 19th 2016 by Amulet Books
Summary from Goodreads:
In this deliciously creepy novel by the author of the critically acclaimed Cuckoo Song, the fruit of a magical tree uncovers dangerous truths
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 only bears fruit 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.
If I had to describe The Lie Tree in one word, it would be: Fascinating. But, since I don’t have the constraints of one word, I can do a little word vomit. Enchanting, compelling, dark, captivating, historical, hypnotizing, clever, complex, intelligent. Get the picture? Guys, The Lie Tree is an awesome read – it will grab you by your ankles and yank you into its chaos.
The Lie Tree is a mystery set in Victorian England, but there is a twist. For a basic outline of what is going on and what happens throughout the course of the novel – only non-spoilery stuff, of course – Faith, a young Victorian woman, is forced to move to a remote island with her family after her father’s findings and the reaction to them cause a scandal. Oh my! As we know from the synopsis, Faith’s father is soon found dead and everyone rules it to be a suicide, everyone but Faith – that is.
Faith is shy, intelligent, well-mannered, and unafraid. She makes it her mission to uncover the secrets her father kept, restore his good name, and find out the truth of what really happened to him. I admired her, to be honest – especially considering the time period working against her and what she wanted to do. She is courageous, she isn’t afraid to admit mistakes or to allow her mind to wander past her own opinions. She is self-aware, beautifully so – in fact.
I think the most amazing part of this book is how everything comes together in the end. There are so many little details, so many different threads and pieces of a puzzle – you don’t realize it until the end, and then it all suddenly clicks into place. This book is the perfect mystery in that sense. I didn’t figure anything out before it wanted me to, and that alone is an accomplishment.
Overall, The Lie Tree is a gem of a book. It is heart-pounding, thought provoking, dark, witty, and everything a book should be. Frances Hardinge has crafted a beautifully complex story that’s allure is hard to ignore.