The Lie Tree is a novel which at the moment seems to need no further recommendation, having just won the Costa Book of the Year 2015. This book is a well-deserved winner, Hardinge manages to write novels which are completely original and take the reader on a hauntingly dark yet beautiful journey. Set in the Victorian era this book follows the journey of Faith, a 14 year old girl who is led on a quest for answers when her Father dies in mysterious circumstances. Faith is helped along on her quest by the dark and ominous ‘lie tree’ which has the power to give answers to Faith’s questions but there can be no truth without her first telling a lie, the bigger the lie, the more truth is revealed. This story also deals with many issues which were prominent in the Victorian era such as gender inequality and the nature of scientific discovery post Darwinism, both of which I found to be fascinating to read about.
Having previously read Hardinge’s Carnegie shortlisted Cuckoo Song, which I absolutely loved and would definitely recommend, I was worried that her next book would not live up to my high expectations. I needn’t have worried; she has carried through her beautiful gothic style of writing and still created something completely new and original, which has made it very hard to choose which one I like more! One of the main reasons this book is so special is because of the way Hardinge develops her characters. I have rarely encountered an author who can weave in such dramatic character development so seamlessly.
This dark and atmospheric novel is full of intrigue and mystery and will be perfect for fans of historical gothic fiction, mysteries or just a fantastically written novel!