THE LIE TREE

Frances Hardinge

Read this thought-provoking, critically acclaimed novel (6 starred reviews!) from Frances Hardinge, winner of the Costa Book of the Year, Costa Children’s Book Award, and Horn Book-Boston Globe Award.

Faith Sunderly leads a double life. To most people, she is reliable, dull, trustworthy—a proper young lady who knows her place as inferior to men. But inside, Faith is full of questions and curiosity, and she cannot resist mysteries: an unattended envelope, an unlocked door. She knows secrets no one suspects her of knowing. She knows that her family moved to the close-knit island of Vane because her famous scientist father was fleeing a reputation-destroying scandal.

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Read this thought-provoking, critically acclaimed novel (6 starred reviews!) from Frances Hardinge, winner of the Costa Book of the Year, Costa Children’s Book Award, and Horn Book-Boston Globe Award.

Faith Sunderly leads a double life. To most people, she is reliable, dull, trustworthy—a proper young lady who knows her place as inferior to men. But inside, Faith is full of questions and curiosity, and she cannot resist mysteries: an unattended envelope, an unlocked door. She knows secrets no one suspects her of knowing. She knows that her family moved to the close-knit island of Vane because her famous scientist father was fleeing a reputation-destroying scandal. And she knows, when her father is discovered dead shortly thereafter, that he was murdered. In pursuit of justice and revenge, Faith hunts through her father’s possessions and discovers a strange tree. The tree bears fruit only when she whispers a lie to it. The fruit of the tree, when eaten, delivers a hidden truth. The tree might hold the key to her father’s murder—or it may lure the murderer directly to Faith herself.

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  • Amulet Books
  • Hardcover
  • April 2017
  • 377 Pages
  • 9781419718953

Buy the Book

$17.95

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About Frances Hardinge

Frances Hardinge is the winner of the Costa Book of the Year and Costa Children’s Book Awards for The Lie Tree. She is the author of several books for children, including Cuckoo Song (five starred reviews, shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal), The Lost Conspiracy (five starred reviews, Los Angeles Times Book Award Finalist), Fly by Night (shortlisted for the Guardian Children’s Book prize), Well Witched (SLJ Best Book of 2008), and Fly Trap (shortlisted for the Guardian Prize, longlisted for the Carnegie Medal). She lives in England.

Praise

“Readers of historical fiction, mystery, and fantasy will all be captivated by this wonderfully crafted novel and the many secrets hidden within its pages.” —Booklist (starred review)

“Some of the most beloved science-fiction and fantasy writers, from Madeleine L’Engle to Philip Pullman, began as young-adult authors whose fiction proved so compelling that adult readers embraced it as well, ignoring the line that supposedly separates these audiences. One of the latest such writers is Frances Hardinge.” —Chicago Tribune

Discussion Questions

1. Faith idolizes her father, the Reverend Erasmus Sunderly, a brilliant, forbidding man whose scientific work has brought him renown and, as we soon learn, disgrace. What information does she find out about him through the course of the book, and how does this affect her perception of him?

2. In sharp contrast, Faith considers her mother, Myrtle, shallow and scheming. What is Mrs. Sunderly’s role in the household? How does she explain her actions to her daughter? What do the two learn from each other?

3. The Sunderly family has relocated from Kent to Vane, an isolated island where a scientific excavation is taking place. What sparked their move—overtly and covertly? What elements does the location add to the suspense and mystery of the narrative? How do you think things would have turned out had the Sunderlys stayed in Kent?

4. Reverend Sunderly is both a minister and a natural scientist. How does he attempt to reconcile his religious beliefs with the theory of evolution, as laid out in Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species? What does Faith believe?

5. Although The Lie Tree initially appears to be an historical suspense novel, it is the Lie Tree itself—a fantastical, almost mythological invention—that steers it into other territory. What does the Lie Tree represent to each of the characters who knows about it? How does it change those who tend it? What does it do to Faith?

6. By the end of the book, Faith has fought for and achieved acknowledgment of her intellect, as well as her innate bravery; in other words, she is a feminist. What other strong women appear in this book, and how does their strength manifest? What sacrifices have they made to achieve their goals?

7. Which aspects of the book has Frances Hardinge drawn from actual historical record, and which are her own invention? What are the many different genres that she has blended into The Lie Tree?

8. Every major character in the novel has at least one secret – either an important piece of information, or something about themselves that they prefer to conceal. What are those secrets, how do they benefit the characters, and how are they revealed (if, in fact, they are)?