About a month ago, I got an email announcing my approval for The Lie Tree ARC, by Francis Hardinge, on NetGalley. So big thank you to ABRAMS Kids for deeming me worthy enough to view the book before its release out into the wild. Here’s my honest review!
Synopsis: Faith’s family moves to the island of Vane from London. She soon learns it is because her father’s reputation has been sullied. Unfortunately, the news spreads to Vane, and everyone begins to dislike and shun the family. Soon after, Faith’s father is found dead and she doesn’t believe it was an accident. Faith goes through her father’s belongings to uncover the truth and finds a peculiar tree that grows with lies. Its fruit shares truths and could be the key to uncovering who killed Faith’s father.
First off, I just need to say that I tend to have a thing for books that take place in the 1800s. I think it’s because I’m so grateful that I don’t have to live in that time period. I mean, the whole you-can’t-be-a-lefty thing was crazy, and as a lefty I’m glad I can use my dominant hand without being judged. This book emphasizes men’s belief that women were inferior (at this time) and how a woman’s life goal was marriage. Can you believe we used to live like that? Crazy stuff, I’m telling you.
I liked the fact that Faith wanted to push through these limits. (And the other women in this book had strong personalities as well.) It just sucks that it took Faith so long to realize she could be more than her label as a meek, domestic lady. Plus, it was only towards the end of the story that she decided she wanted to follow her dreams and everything else she did before was hidden from the public, which only started to happen once her father was out of the picture. I understand his death is a huge part of the story, but the patriarchy was so strong that I wish she broke out of her shell sooner to go against the patriarchal theme.
The plot itself was neat. I enjoyed the concept of a tree that grows with lies. The description of the tree was wonderful. It was interesting to see the fantastical woven with science. The mystery kept me immersed, which involved help from the tree, and I did not expect that ending! Talk about a plot twist.
All in all, Frances’s book was a fast-paced read that kept me wanting to learn more and earns 3 out of 5 stars from me.