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Wow, have really slipped with my blog entries. I knew that I had fallen a little behind with my book reviews etc, but didn’t realise that I have not actually posted anything since March. Life catches up, I suppose, and one reason is that I am now back to full time work – in a move that is as far away from teaching as you can get. Time is now more limited and poor old Mike Malone has had to take a back seat as well. There is another book in the pipeline, but it is a long way from being completed. I’ll get there – I always do.

But back to my book review – one of many as I am 16 books behind.

lie tree

I chose this YA novel by Frances Hardinge for two reasons. One, it won the Costa Book Award and two, as an English teacher, I do enjoy dipping into YA fiction so that I can discuss/recommend reads to my pupils. Previous YA novel have featured dystopian themes so this creative tale, set in Victorian Gothic tradition was a refreshing change.

The storyline is dark and intelligent. Fourteen year old Faith wants to be a natural historian like her father, but the expectation of the 1860s for a young woman is very different. To quote from the book, ‘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. A few stale lessons from tired governesses, dull walks, unthinking pastimes. But it was not enough.’

Scandal forces her father to move the family to the island of Vane and Faith is determined to find out the truth. She is ‘helped’ by the Lie Tree which has the power to reveal hidden secrets but needs the telling of lies in order to reveal what it knows. The more people believe in the lie the more truth the tree reveals. But is the truth always good?

The story moves at a good pace, the characters are well formed and this is a story that adults will enjoy.