The Dance Tree
'Exceptionally brilliant. Immersive, sensual, compelling' - Marian Keyes
'Intriguing, haunting . . . raw, beautiful' - Jennifer Saint, author of Ariadne
The gripping, historical novel from Kiran Millwood Hargrave, Sunday Times bestselling author of The Mercies.
Set in an era of superstition, hysteria, and extraordinary change, and inspired by the true events of a doomed summer, The Dance Tree is an impassioned story of family secrets, forbidden love, and women pushed to the edge.
Strasbourg, 1518. In the midst of a blisteringly hot summer, a lone woman begins to dance in the city square. She dances for days without pause or rest, and as she is joined by hundreds of others, the authorities declare an emergency. Musicians will be brought in to play the Devil 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. And then, as the dancing plague gathers momentum, Lisbet’s sister-in-law Nethe returns from seven years’ penance in the mountains for a crime no one will name.
It is a secret that Lisbet is determined to uncover. As the city buckles under the beat of a thousand feet, she finds herself thrust into a dangerous web of deceit and clandestine passion, but she is dancing to a dangerous tune . . .
'Extraordinary . . . An exceptionally atmospheric, original story' - The Sunday Times
'Spellbinding' - Elodie Harper, author of The Wolf Den
Extraordinary . . . enthralling . . . An exceptionally atmospheric, original story
Sunday Times, Historical Fiction Book of the Month
The Dance Tree is unusual and beautifully written, and the questions it raises about faith and love linger. The vignettes of the lives of the dancing women are a joy, each a perfect little short story dropped into the main narrative
Exceptionally brilliant. Immersive, sensual, compelling and totally convincing. Accessible, ambitious, The Dance Tree deserves to win prizes