The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge
Available to LTPL patrons on Overdrive and the Libby app
Reviewed by Vicki Rausch
Living in a Victorian society, Faith Sunderly desperately wants to follow in her father’s footsteps and study natural history, something that wouldn’t normally be allowed because she’s a girl. But when her father dies in mysterious circumstances shortly after they move to a small island, she needs to discover the truth to save her family’s fortune. Surrounded by secrets that could ruin her family, she discovers a strange tree her father had brought with them — a tree that if you whisper a lie to it, it will tell you a truth.
The more people who believe the lie, the bigger the truth. Faith realizes that she could use the tree to discover her father’s murderer and clear his name. But the lies she spreads start to spiral out of control and threaten the entire island.
The Lie Tree is interesting because it tells the story of an ordinary girl who not only has to struggle with gender roles and class, but also the need to deal with her own assumptions and the damage those assumptions can inadvertently cause innocent people.