Author: Frances Hardinge
Publisher: Pan MacMillan
Genre/s: Children’s, historical, fantasy
This book was stunning. I knew I’d enjoy it, since I love the Victorian era and the themes and issues surrounding the period, but I underestimated just how much I’d adore The Lie Tree. I was drawn in from the first chapter and couldn’t put it down. The atmosphere is dark, gothic and moody and holds throughout the novel, with an extra sprinkling of adventure. Hardinge’s writing is beautiful and so incredibly suited to writing novels like this.
Faith is also an incredible protagonist – she has a personality that isn’t particular suited to the time she’s living in and I love how her character was used to explore the ways in which women were treated in the nineteenth century. As a woman she’s expected to be fragile, unintelligent and submissive, but she’s none of those things. She’s curious, adventurous, doesn’t want to marry and wants to be a natural scientist. She’s a very strong heroine, determined to uncover mysteries and prove herself despite what the world may think, and I loved that about her.
The mystery element of the book was well thought out and very clever. I loved the use of archeology and fossils, and the questions of science and religion which were so integral during the time of Darwin and his discoveries. The Tree itself was fascinating, and I haven’t been able to stop thinking and theorizing about it since I put the book down.
This is one of those rare books that completely blew me away and made me wish there was more. I imagine I’ll be reading this again, maybe several times. It provokes so much thought and really captured my imagination. I can’t wait to read more of Hardinge’s work.