So, I thought it would be good to go over some of the fiction that has inspired me whilst I’ve been on my writing journey (oh, that sounded a bit cliche, didn’t it?). I don’t have a list in order, as such, of my favourite books because that would be like asking me to pick a favourite child; it just wouldn’t happen. Besides, I’d end up with about one-hundred books in my top ten, lol!!!
I’m going to start with The Lie Tree, by Sarah Hardinge, just because…
The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge (Macmillan Children’s Books, 2015)
This book won the Costa book of the year in 2015 but I only read it last year so, not for the first time in my life, I was behind everyone else.
The Lie Tree is a wonderfully atmospheric historical novel – with a smidge of magical realism – focusing upon Faith, a fourteen-year-old girl, whose family is uprooted from Victorian England to live on the small island of Vane because “one of the most widely read and respected newspapers in the nation has decried” Faith’s father “as a fraud and a cheat.” Faith has no idea why this would be so as “his bleak and terrible honesty were the plague and pride” of her family.
When Faith’s father is then found dead under mysterious circumstances, she decides to investigate. She goes through his papers and belongings and finds a strange tree which only grows and bears fruit if you whisper a lie to it. Not only that, eating the fruit of the tree allows one to uncover truths. “The bigger the lie, the more people who believe it, the bigger the truth that is uncovered” (from the Amazon Blurb).
Faith decides to use the tree to root out her father’s killer by spreading lies across the island of Vane but soon she realises that lies and truths can hurt as well as heal.
This book is so well written, I devoured it in record time!
A thoughtful and provoking read which delves into a vast number of issues including class, good and evil, lies and truths, the treatment of women in Victorian society, the limits of science, the power of religion and family loyalty.
Faith, for me, was a great protagonist and her story arc was satisfying. She progressed from a timid girl to one who wasn’t afraid to speak her mind. Her arc was refreshing given the male-oriented times the novel is set in.
I loved the fact that the only ally Faith really has isn’t human at all. And, is the tree really her “friend”?
I found The Lie Tree to be a beautifully written and dark tale. And how I wish I’d written it!!
Great for those who love intricate, escapist tales filled to the brim with the supernatural and mysterious. Not great for those who want something easy and light to read.