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The Lie Tree

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  21,725 ratings  ·  3,380 reviews
The leaves were cold and slightly clammy. There was no mistaking them. She had seen their likeness painstakingly sketched in her father's journal. This was his greatest secret, his treasure and his undoing. The Tree of Lies. Now it was hers, and the journey he had never finished stretched out before her.

When Faith's father is found dead under mysterious circumstances, she
Paperback, 410 pages
Published May 7th 2015 by Macmillan Children's Books (first published March 7th 2015)
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Katy Cornick I would call it YA, but definitely gripping for adult readers, especially if you're a fan of YA fiction generally. Personally, as an adult, I loved it…moreI would call it YA, but definitely gripping for adult readers, especially if you're a fan of YA fiction generally. Personally, as an adult, I loved it and was compelled throughout - would definitely recommend :)(less)
aquiverofwords Definitely. I was gifted both books together. I did like this one much more. I recommend you try it :)

Community Reviews

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Average rating 3.86  · 
Rating details
 ·  21,725 ratings  ·  3,380 reviews

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Frances Hardinge is one of my most treasured literary finds of the past few years. She is one of those writers that make me want to happily give the shout-outs to their books from the rooftops and endlessly blab about them to anyone who would listen. They have it all - the spark, the snark, the depth, the skill and everything else that makes me smile happily when I go to reread them for the third time in a year.

Her books may be inexplicably classified under an umbrella of 'children's literature
May 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing

I’ve made several false starts with this review because I don’t know what to write. How do I describe The Lie Tree?

As a Victorian murder mystery?

As a book about lies and truths and the things that are obvious and the things that are not?

As a tale about filial loyalty?

As a revenge story?

As a look at the ways that women have been made invisible throughout history?

As a feminist triumph?

These are all truths. But they are partial truths because this book is not one thing or another.
Hannah Greendale
Click here to watch a video review of this book on my channel, From Beginning to Bookend.

Dec 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Thanks goes to Netgalley for the ARC!

1860, and all the true social horrors that the time can bring, can also be a time, in the right writer's hands, that can bring the greatest illumination upon all such subjects of a women's place in our day. Frances Hardinge is truly such a brilliant writer.

I can honestly say without spoiling a thing that this novel does wonderful justice for women and one's self-worth. I think we could all learn from setting such a bad example, and never mind all the missteps
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
I'm going to leave this at a 3 for now. I liked it, but there were some things so it might just be my mood! I hope I'm not coming up on a book slump!! I mean real life is causing me some probs so I will reread it again later.

Happy Reading!

Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾
Feb 25, 2016 rated it liked it
Let me be frank--

Shawn: As long as I can be Dean and Gus can be Sammy.

Gus: Why do I always have to be Sammy?

Shawn: Fine, he's Sammy. That makes you Joey Bishop. Is that what you really want? You want to be Joey Bishop?

Let's start over.

Let me be honest--

The Lie Tree is a perfect example of why I stopped auto-buying authors. I loved Fly by Night (my review), sought out the hardcover and added it to my library. The Lie Tree shares many of the same roots--but grows them in a very different way, emer
Dec 01, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2016, modern-lit
I don't read children's books very often, but the fact that this one won the overall Costa prize, backed up by a couple of positive friend reviews here, persuaded to make an exception. The basic premise of a plant that thrives on human lies takes some swallowing, but if you accept that, it is a terrific feminist subversion of the classic adventure story genre, and a very enjoyable read. ...more
Maria Espadinha
Jan 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Tell me lies , tell me sweet little lies...

Oh, No!...
Not silly, mean, small, insignificant lies!
Let them be huge, outrageous, extraordinary, gigantic!
Feed me a juicy, spicy lie, one of those everyone can't stop chatting about...
One of those everybody claims to believe, and I'll reward you with the most valuable, precious secrete!
I trade lies for strong, powerful trues!
Cos I'm the Lie Tree, and that's my exclusive magnanimous endowment!!!

Besides entertainning, this fantasy is also about the powe
Sep 29, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, young-adult
I felt super in the middle about this one. On one hand, I appreciated Faith's budding feminism, her fierce determination and her defiance of authority. On the other, I struggled to care much about the characters and the plot felt slow and uninteresting. While I liked reading about the complex and sometimes contradictory motives of women living in a patriarchal society, I struggled to see why Faith defended her father when he acted like such a misogynist. Despite my lukewarm reaction to the book, ...more
Aug 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
There was a hunger in her, and girls were not supposed to be hungry. They were supposed to nibble sparingly at table, and their minds were supposed to be satisfied with a slim diet too.

The Lie Tree is set in Victorian era England, where 14 year old Faith and her family have recently left Kent for the small island of Vane. Faith's father, Reverend Erasmus Sunderly, is a renowned naturalist, and the family is ostensibly accompanying him on a trip to oversee the excavation of some usual fossils di
3.5 stars
Jennifer (Insert Lit Pun)
I don't care what your book taste is - if you don't read this one, you're depriving yourself. Think secret letters, scandal, dark caves, the Enlightenment, family loyalty/betrayal, and hallucinogens. Engrossing, intricate, atmospheric, moving, and entertaining as hell. For me, its only flaw is that it ended. ...more
Sep 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
* I was sent this for free from the publisher in exchange for a review *

So, I finally got around to reading some of Hardinge's work, and it was about time too. For months I've been planning to buy this one and read it, so when the publisher offered me this stunning illustrated edition of course I said yes please happily. I already knew that I would love the art if nothing else because Chris Riddell is an excellent illustrator so no surprises there, however, I also found myself really liking the
Fafa's Book Corner
Review posted on Fafa's Book Corner !

Beware spoilers ahead!


I heard about this book through a GR friend's review. It sounded interesting and I was happy to see that it was coming in my library. Unfortunately I didn't like.

The book begins with Faith's family traveling. Faith's little brother asks why they are traveling and their mother says that it's for their father's work. When her brother mentions that they never needed to come for their father's traveling. Their mother responds that this
Jx PinkLady Reviews ♡ bookwormthoughts

This was my local book club read for last month. Very different to my normal read, very well written but maybe slightly slow in places for my tastes. My book club group of about ten ladies were split on their opinion with half really enjoying and half having the same opinion as myself. It offered us ladies lots of discussion on the equality of woman, the narrative style and the irony depicted at the end and for those elements alone this was a great choice for our monthly
Feb 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I must admit that I only picked this book up a few years ago because Chris Riddell had illustrated my edition.
I had no idea who the author is or what the book was about and as you can see, it took me a while to finally read it. For which I want to kick myself now.

We are in a fictional Victorian era and follow the girl Faith as she, her bother and her parents depart London for the fictional island of Vane to escape a scandal surrounding Faith's father. Naturally, as was the case especially back
Dec 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A wonderfully intricate story of community, family, truth and lies done as a Victorian murder mystery/dark fantasy.

Faith Sunderly and her family have moved to the small island of Vane as a refuge from the society gossip around her disgraced father. The people of the island initially welcome them, but fairly quickly the rumors about her father travel even to remote Vane and the family is again in disgrace. Faith's father is found dead soon after, an apparent suicide. Only Faith believes otherwise
Holly Bourne
Mar 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I don't know how to review this book, as I've literally never read anything quite like it before. It is truly an original and a masterpiece and deserves every INCH of praise it's been getting. It is dark and complex and beautiful and compelling and sad and scary and funny and imaginative and...and...can you tell I loved it? It's also a feminist triumph! Just. Read. It. ...more
Marnie  (Enchanted Bibliophile)
2017 Reading Challenge
This year I'm doing a Reading Challenge; so I have 26 books with specific subjects that I need to read.
BOOK25: An award-winning book

List of awards:
Costa Book Award for Children's Book (2015)
Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Young Adult Literature (2016)
Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for Fiction (2016)
Costa Book of the Year (2015)

This is my first book by Frances Hardinge.
I brought a stack of hardcovers on special and got four of her books, The Lie Tree, Fly by Night, Twilight Robbery and A Face
May 01, 2016 rated it did not like it
I really don't know how this book got such great reviews and won such a supposedly wonderful award. I was incredibly disappointed by this novel and honestly, this book was so boring for so much of the story that it made me sleepy.

Truthfully my biggest problem with this book is that the summary and the title are misleading. The summary implies that Faith, the main character, is some kind of spy who puts on a facade that hides her true nature. In reality, Faith is a young girl who lives in the Vi
Dec 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The Lie Tree is the third title I have read by British author Frances Hardinge and I am as struck with it as I was by the other two.

But first, the premise.

Faith and her family move to an unnamed island under the shadow of a scandal that accompanies her father’s anthropological findings. Rumours abound that the nephilim bones he discovered are fake and constructed by human, rather than divine, devices. Faith, despite never getting any encouragement to do so, idolizes her father. Even though all h
Sherwood Smith
Feb 25, 2016 added it
Shelves: fantasy
Copy received courtesy of NetGalley

The Lie Tree is set in the UK ten years after Darwin’s Origin of Species was published.

Faith is a young teen fiercely interested in the natural sciences, an interest she shares with her famous father, who is also an Anglican minister. When I saw that, I hailed it with inner relief, thinking that finally here would be a book that wrestles with the changing of a paradigm, without going down the usual over-simplification trail by making religious faith and scient
Tori (InToriLex)
Find this and other Reviews at In Tori Lex
Actual Rating 3.5
I usually avoid historical fiction because I know it's a genre that's hard for me to enjoy. But after reading many four starred ratings of this on Goodreads, I decided to take a chance. While reading the first 35% of the book I was regretting that decision and was tempted to stop reading because it started off very slow. However since I had already committed to giving it a try, I powered through and was able to immerse myself in and enjo
Feb 17, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Lie Tree is a ‘fantastic’ tale, in the true sense of the word. It is imaginative, extraordinary, dark and at times magical. I’m not sure I’ve ever read anything quite like it.

This is a historical novel that focuses on a teenage girl called Faith, her challenging relationship with her parents, and her struggle to be taken seriously as an intelligent young woman in a society that thinks women should be seen and not heard, and shouldn’t worry their tiny little brains with intellectual matters.

Dec 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016
4.5 stars that I'm rounding down.

Things you should know about this book - it's beautifully written and almost claustrophobic in its depiction of the narrow social sphere available to 19th century women; it is almost more of a historical novel than speculative fiction; and it is so so so so slow in the first half. (This is why I rounded down). All of a sudden, though, about halfway through, the slow burn suddenly ignites and oh boy I could not put this down.
Jan 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book was brilliant paced, beautifully written and incredibly original. The story is set in the nineteenth century and follows Faith whose father, a reverend recently caught up in a scandal after his fossil finds are discovered to be fakes, is found dead under rather suspicious circumstances. His murder seems to be related to a mysterious plant he picked up while in China, that he, rather unoriginally by the standards of this novel, names the Lie Tree. The general gist is that if a person wh ...more
Kate Quinn
Jun 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
All I've got right now is WOW. This one will stay with me a long time. ...more
Faith Sunderly, Sally Lockhart, and Tiffany Aching walk into a bar.

There's no punchline here, but wouldn't you just love to sit down and buy them all a drink?


This was really great, and I definitely highly recommend it. Unfortunately, it was spoiled ever so slightly by the fact that halfway through I came up with the GREATEST POSSIBLE TWIST for the ending, and therefore found myself mildly disappointed by what actually happened. I mean, I really like what the twist actually was, and I feel
Viv JM
This is a great book! Hardinge's prose is exquisite, and she does an excellent job of building a really oppressive and claustrophobic gothic atmosphere, perfect for the Victorian era in which the story is set. The Lie Tree for me was primarily a historical novel but with fantastical elements, and I thought the two styles were really well brought together. This is the first Hardinge I have read, but I will definitely be reading more of her work. ...more
Feb 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This was fantastic. I can't wait to read more by this author. ...more
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Frances Hardinge spent her childhood in a huge, isolated old house in a small, strange village, and the two things inspired her to write strange, magical stories from an early age. She studied English at Oxford University and now lives in Oxford, England.

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“Faith had always told herself that she was not like other ladies. But neither, it seemed, were other ladies.” 46 likes
“There was a hunger in her, and girls were not supposed to be hungry. They were supposed to nibble sparingly when at table, and their minds were supposed to be satisfied with a slim diet too.” 35 likes
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