The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Thanks goes to Netgalley for the ARC!
1860, and all the true social horrors that the time can bring, can also be a time, in the right writer's hands, that can bring the greatest illumination upon all such subjects of a women's place in our day. Frances Hardinge is truly such a brilliant writer.
I can honestly say without spoiling a thing that this novel does wonderful justice for women and one's self-worth. I think we could all learn from setting such a bad example, and never mind all the missteps and mistakes that Faith will have to take through the novel. I certainly cringed and worried and delighted in all her mistakes and triumphs, even as I grew more and more worried about the eventual outcome.
For this felt like a truly great horror from the very beginning and never once let the tension slide, rocking hard with detail, sharp characterizations, and wonderful reveals. One might call it dark fantasy, of course, or historical fiction with a magical realism bent, or even a fairy tale so rooted in reality that one could never dig deep enough to kill the tree, but alas, it works best as a truly thrilling horror with a wonderful twist.
Can I dance around and whoop with joy, now? You betcha! (Spoiler: I already did.)
The one thing that I'd really like to mention about the book is something I can't really do without giving out some true spoilers, and I'm loath to do so. BUT. I was fascinated with the author's choice of subject material, and for any of you who later have read this great novel, think about this: Don't you think the author, herself, might have thought that this little wonder of a tree might have been absolutely perfect for herself, being a writer of outright lies?
We all know the old adage about writing fiction because it is the surest path to the hidden truths, do we not?
Is this novel not only a perfect tale, but also a bit of a mirror to the fact of her own writing? I think so. And I can't think of a better compliment I could ever give.
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