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Summary

The gripping novel from Kiran Millwood Hargrave, Sunday Times best-selling author of The Mercies.

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....

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.

©2022 Kiran Millwood Hargrave (P)2022 Macmillan Publishers International Limited

Critic reviews

"Exceptionally brilliant. Immersive, sensual, compelling, ambitious." (Marian Keyes)

"Intriguing, haunting...raw, beautiful." (Jennifer Saint, author of Ariadne)

"I absolutely loved this book...spellbinding." (Elodie Harper, author of The Wolf Den)

What listeners say about The Dance Tree

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Fascinating

A beautifully lyrical writer, weaving a web of stories, so unfamiliar as to be intoxicating. I loved Lisbet, Agnata and Ida, the love between them. The lack of freedom they had remind me that I, nowadays, do have choice never granted to them. I highly recommend this beautiful story.

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I’m lucky to be the first to review this book

This really is a jewel of a book, and is narrated so so beautifully. The words wrap around you like a song.
It is delicate and tender, intricate and yet somehow simple. You will fall in love with bees. It is also horrific and cruel, A very hard time to live. I really can’t recommend this more highly. Wish I could give more stars!