It couldn’t really be any other book this ‘What we’re Reading Wednesday’! We’re delighted that Frances Hardinge’s The Lie Tree has won the overall Costa Prize, especially as it’s only the second children’s book ever to win the prestigious award.
I’ve had a proof copy of this book sat on my shelf since at least last January so I feel a complete fool for not having managed to read it before now. The truth is though, that after so enjoying last year’s Carnegie shortlisted Cuckoo Song, I’d kept looking at it and thinking I’d wait until I could really savour reading it. A ridiculous decision on reflection, particularly as I now begin to discover what I’ve been missing out on … because of course the first thing I did as I got into work today was pick up a copy and start reading – it took me precisely half a page before I was totally hooked!
Frances Hardinge has the most original and brilliant ideas – a tree that feeds off lies and dispenses secrets in its fruits – just wow! Her language and allusions too are so rich and beautiful. The chapters fizz with wit, intelligence and insight into both the teenage psyche and the historical setting; add to this a page turning horror come detective plot and you can quite easily see how you end up with a prize winning novel.
Though I should never have put off the reading of it in the first place, it turns out I was right about one thing, this really is a book to savour!