Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Book Review: The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge

A victorian murder, shrouded in mystery and fantasy. Is what caught my eye when I was looking for something different to read.

The Lie Tree, follows 14 year old Faith Sunderly and her family as they move to a small island called Vane, to escape growing rumours and gossip back home in Kent. It is 1860 and ten years after the controversial publication of Darwin's; On The Origin of Species. 
The community of Vane are at first welcoming of the family, until rumours of Faith's father reaches the shores of the island. It isn't long until his body is found, an alleged suicide. Faith is utterly bewildered by the thought of her father killing himself and turns detective to find out what really happened. In doing so, Faith discovers her fathers obsession: The Lie Tree, which only grows in complete darkness and produces a fruit of secret truth when fed with lies.

My first impression, was how well Frances has described each character. Bare in mind that it is Victorian Britain and therefore peoples behaviours and attitudes are different from todays. I particularly loved the dynamic of Faith's parents. Her father is very strict, secretive and holds himself well, that of a typical Victorian man. Her mother comes across as shallow and selfish. Always worrying about what people may think about her, if she doesn't keep up appearances. 

My favourite character is of course Faith. She breaks the typical female mould of this time. She is cunning, stubborn and willing. All the characters are well rounded and carefully thought out. Their roles in the book were well planned and kept me guessing. 
By no means was this book predictable. It had so many twists that I had no idea how it was gong to turn out. I had my suspicions, which were immediately dashed away. 

I have never read any of Frances books before, so I was new to her style of writing, which is beautiful and very descriptive. She knows how to play with your feelings and I did shed a tear at a scene, where Faith is getting told off by her father. I felt like the book had me guessing and is what kept me reading to the end. Certain scenes and plot reveals, made me keep turning the pages. I loved how Frances didn't miss a thing on Victorian Life, especially pictures of the dead which was a common thing to do back then.

Often, I just had to close the book because it was at such a slow and painful pace. I had to make myself read it to get to a certain point in the book, where it would speed up a little. I felt like the book was too descriptive, that it would go off on a tangent and I personally felt certain scenes were pointless  and didn't need to be there. 

Overall, I loved the storyline of the book and the characters in it. If the book wasn't so slow and it was quick to the point, then I would have enjoyed it more. However, if you love a good murder mystery or are intrigued of Victorian life then I would recommend to give this a go.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Jenni xo

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