The Dance Tree

THE DANCE TREE is set in an era of superstition, hysteria, and extraordinary change, and inspired by true events of a doomed summer. THE DANCE TREE is an impassioned story of forbidden love, family secrets and women pushed to the edge.

In Strasbourg, in the boiling hot summer of 1518, a plague strikes the women of the city. First it is just one – a lone figure, dancing in the main square – but she is joined by more and more and the city authorities declare an emergency. Musicians will be brought in. The devil will be danced out of these women.

Just beyond the city’s limits, pregnant Lisbet lives with her mother-in-law and husband, tending the bees that are their livelihood. Her best friend Ida visits regularly and Lisbet is so looking forward to sharing life and motherhood with her. And then, just as the first woman begins to dance in the city, Lisbet’s sister-in-law Nethe returns from six years’ penance in the mountains for an unknown crime. No one – not even Ida – will tell Lisbet what Nethe did all those years ago, and Nethe herself will not speak a word about it.

It is the beginning of a few weeks that will change everything for Lisbet – her understanding of what it is to love and be loved, and her determination to survive at all costs for the baby she is carrying. Lisbet and Nethe and Ida soon find themselves pushing at the boundaries of their existence – but they’re dancing to a dangerous tune…

Kiran Millwood Hargrave is the author of eight novels for children and adults. Her books for children include the award-winning The Girl of Ink & Stars, A Secret of Birds & Bone, and Julia and the Shark. Her novels for adults are the Sunday Times-bestselling The Mercies, and The Dance Tree (Picador). Between them, her books have won numerous awards including a Betty Trask Award, Children’s Book of the Year at the British Book Awards, the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize, the Historical Association Young Quills Award, Waterstones Children’s Gift of the Year, and the Blackwell’s Children’s Book of the Year. They have been long- or shortlisted for the Prix Femina, the Jhalak Prize, the CILIP Carnegie Award, the Branford Boase Award, the Blue Peter Best Story Award, Costa Children’s Book Prize, and Foyles’ Book of the Year, amongst others.

Kiran’s novel THE MERCIES is currently in development with New Pictures. Kiran is represented by Hellie Ogden and Janklow and Nesbitt, and THE DANCE TREE will be published by Pan Macmillan on 12th May 2022.

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