The Dance Tree
A BBC Between the Covers book club pick
by Kiran Millwood Hargrave
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Pub Date 12 May 2022 | Archive Date 21 May 2022
Pan Macmillan, Picador
The brand new novel from the Sunday Times bestselling author of The Mercies and The Girl of Ink and Stars.
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.
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 . . .
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.
'Exceptionally brilliant. Immersive, sensual, compelling, ambitious' Marian Keyes
'Intriguing, haunting . . . raw, beautiful' Jennifer Saint, author of Ariadne
‘Some historical novels don't just describe the past, they transport you there . . . I absolutely loved this book . . . an exceptionally beautiful portrait of women from the past, told in the most spellbinding prose’ Elodie Harper, author of The Wolf Den