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Summary

Perfectly complemented by Emilia Fox's elegant narrative style, this story twists and turns its way through Victorian England and the stifling societal conventions of the time, all the way to its thrilling climax.

Winner of the Costa Book of the Year 2015

The Lie Tree is a wonderfully evocative and atmospheric story by Frances Hardinge, award-winning author of Cuckoo Song and Fly by Night.

Faith's father has been found dead under mysterious circumstances, and as she is searching through his belongings for clues she discovers a strange tree. The tree grows healthy and bears fruit only if you whisper a lie to it. The fruit of the tree, when eaten, will deliver a hidden truth to the person who consumes it. The bigger the lie, the more people who believe it, the bigger the truth that is uncovered.

The girl realizes that she is good at lying and that the tree might hold the key to her father's murder, so she begins to spread untruths far and wide across her small island community. But as her tales spiral out of control, she discovers that where lies seduce, truths shatter....

©2016 Frances Hardinge (P)2016 Macmillan Digital Audio

What members say

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Interesting concept, let down by patchy execution

The basic concept of a Lie Tree was OK, but the writing was lazy and repetitive (people kept doing things 'reflexively' and, if they were holding on, you can bet it would be 'for grim death') and the sexism of the time was conveyed with all the subtlety of a rhino trying to tap dance. Shame the editor didn't do a better job of pruning back the overkill and sharpening up the writing.

35 of 36 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent , stick with it.

I find it quite hard to get into this book. Beautifully read, no issue there, just somehow I could not get engaged. But all the reviews plus the"costa" award convinced me to persevere and suddenly I was hooked and had difficulty getting on with my work rather than reading (listening) all day. Wonderful story and Faith is an inspiring character particularly for young female readers. Highly recommended

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Kaggy
  • United Kingdom
  • 04-05-16

It grows next to the Tedium Bush…

You know that feeling you get when you click on a link on the internet and then you get the dreaded circle of death going interminably round and round and round …… Well this is the feeling I got when listening to this story. I had a strong sense that there was a good idea amongst all the ponderous detail but getting to it felt like trying to pluck a prawn from a lobster shell. Faith is a young repressed Victorian woman investigating the death of her secretive clergyman/naturalist father. Was it murder or was it suicide? To be honest I didn’t really care. He was such a monumentally horrible man, that if I were Faith I would find it hard to wipe the grin off my face after hearing of his demise.

For the most part Emilia Fox read this ludicrous tale with reasonable enthusiasm, but why on earth did she give little Howard such a horrible ickle cutesy wootsy voice? My teeth still hurt thinking about it and I will fastidiously avoid books containing children in the immediate future.

71 of 79 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Good story, mediocre writing, annoying reader

What did you like best about The Lie Tree? What did you like least?

Most: The idea of a tree that feeds on lies and reveals truth is quite interesting but I had to listen through something like 10 hours of boring dross before our protagonist has anything to do with the lie tree at all.

Least: Since the name of the wind, I've felt starved for a scintillating story and beautiful writing. Unfortunately, in my opinion, the lie tree is neither of these things. There were some similes I found so irritating that I almost sent it back, E.G. something something 'unfolded like flowers... or knives'..... neither of these things unfold. Also, I feel that 'apocalyptic thoroughness' when applied to a tough conversation with one's dad is ham-fisted to say the least.

I really don't get why it won an award, but then I guess the award was from Costa Coffee. Perhaps this is the lie and there's a tree somewhere growing a nice juicy grape.

How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

The writing just leaves me with questions. Beyond one fond childhood memory of fossil hunting on the beach, why does this girl love her father so much? The two things she's quite certain of are that she's clever and she likes fossils, so why doesn't she hate her father who believes she's just a burdensome uneducated plonker because she's a girl?

How could the performance have been better?

Perhaps I'd have felt quite differently about this book had the narrator not sounded like she was performing the novel to a group of frightened children around a campfire in the middle of the night on Halloween.

Do you think The Lie Tree needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

No. Please no.

26 of 30 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Took a long time to warm up

I found the start of this book very dull and it was only the other reviews indicating it got better that I endured the first 13 chapters.
It did however get better after that and so in the round made it just about worth it angling in there. The second half has a different pace entirely.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Fun Listen but drags on towards the end

I enjoyed this book despite being slightly older than the target audience. It was very entertaining in the beginning and the build-up was great. I did find that it dragged out in the second half and I was lacking some excitement.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

What a book !!!

Excellent from start to finish, a very well written story brilliantly read by Emilia Fox. This was the first Frances Hardinge book I have listened to, but now I'm definitely a fan and have already downloaded a couple of her other books to my kindle. A good read for any age.

9 of 11 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Robyn
  • escaping to another world
  • 05-05-16

Different but enjoyable

It had to happen - I am now taking recommendations from my 10 years old! She's also an avid Brandon Sanderson fan, so I trusted her and took a punt and downloaded the Lie Tree.

Not what I was expecting, but comfortably enjoyable. Although somewhat predictable, and it did take a while to get going, it's well written, and an unusual story in many respects. The storyline I found most enjoyable was not the Lie Tree plot, rather it was the references to women, and how they weren't really seen / visible in learned society back then. Naturally our heroine doesn't behave as she's expected to, and that's what makes her likable.

It has some dark moments, (but apparently not as dark as some of Frances Hardinge's other works - according to my daughter), but there's also a good moral victory in the end.

It made a change to my usual fare, so glad I listened to it.

12 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Slow burn, but magnificent!

it took 4 or 5 attempted starts for this book to catch my attention. but persevere i did, and what a story! there are triangles within triangles, juxtapositions, unexpected angles, and all painted in grey and deep blue and black. its a bit like a Hitchcock film turned into literature. i withheld 1 star because it was so hard to get started otherwise it would be a 5star book

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Very slow

You didn't actually find out what the father had been accused of until 5 hours into the book, if you can persevere past that then it's an ok listen.

A family have moved to a new town under whispered rumours. What was it the father did wrong? Can the family survive it?

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • KGA Bright
  • 08-06-16

Loved this, good long story and intriguing!

Great from start to finish - compelling opening, substantial middle and satisfying conclusion. Did not enjoy the wise man voice, totally unnecessary to do an impersonation like that. Loved the story. Really enjoyed the level of detail.