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Added on 30th June 2020

Author Frances Hardinge
First Published 2015
Publisher Pan Macmillan Children’s Books

This suspenseful story set in Victorian times is a brilliant novel for young adults.


Hungry for knowledge, science and secrets, Faith does not accept her place as a girl in Victorian England. When her late father’s journals reveal the secret of the Lie Tree, she will stop at nothing to find it. But the bigger the lie told to the tree, the bigger the truth revealed to the liar, and the truth poses much more danger than Faith could ever imagine.

Why we chose it

Part horror, part detective, part fantasy, part historical The Lie Tree is a powerful novel for young adults. Hardinge piles on the suspense in this satisfyingly complex and original story of an intelligent young woman caught between knowledge and duty, truth and lies. The Costa Award judges praised its great characters, great narrative tension and great ending.

Where it came from

Frances Hardinge began writing stories as a child, studied English at Oxford then worked for a software company until a persistent friend finally persuaded her to send her first novel to a publisher.

Hardinge has always been interested in dark, gothic Victorian literature. The idea of a lie tree came to her during a walk over Richmond Lock but the plot of the story took much longer to form. Once she decided to set the novel in the Victorian period, it began to fall into place.

Where it went next

The Lie Tree won Costa Book of the Year in 2015, making Hardinge the first children’s author to win the main Costa award since Philip Pullman in 2001. It also won the UKLA prize 12 to 16 category, the Boston Globe/ Horn Book Fiction Award and the LA Times Book Prize for Young Adult Literature. It has been translated into 30 languages and was optioned for US film and TV in 2017.

Associated stories

Hardinge other novels include Fly by Night, Verdigris Deep, Gullstruck Island, Twilight Robbery, A Face Like Glass, Cuckoo Song, A Skinful of Shadows and Deeplight.

In the museum

Frances Hardinge chose to be photographed as the Scarlet Pimpernel, her favourite story character for The Story Museum’s 26 Characters exhibition.

Added on 30th June 2020

Author Frances Hardinge
First Published 2015
Publisher Pan Macmillan Children’s Books