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The Drowning Treeby Carol Goodman
Synopses & Reviews
Artfully imagined, intricately detailed, eerily poignant: these are the outstanding features of Carol Goodman?s literary thrillers. She is part novelist, part craftsman — and The Drowning Tree is her newest masterpiece.
Juno McKay intended to avoid the nearby campus of her alma mater during her fifteenth reunion weekend, but she just can?t turn down the chance to see her longtime friend, Christine Webb, speak at the Penrose College library. Though Juno cringes at the inevitable talk of the pregnancy that kept her from graduating, and of her husband, Neil Buchwald, who ended up in a mental hospital only two years after their wedding, Juno endures the gossip for her friend?s sake. Christine?s lecture sends shockwaves through the rapt crowd when she reveals little-known details about the lives of two sisters, Eugenie and Clare — members of the powerful and influential family whose name the college bears. Christine?s revelation throws shadows of betrayal, lust, and insanity onto the family?s distinguished facade.
But after the lecture, Christine seems distant, uneasy, and sad. The next day, she disappears. Juno immediately suspects a connection to her friend?s shocking speech. Although painfully reminded of her own experience with Neil?s mental illness, Juno nevertheless peels away the layers of secrets and madness that surround the Penrose dynasty. She fears that Christine discovered something damning about them, perhaps even something worth killing for. And Juno is determined to find it — for herself, for her friend, and for her long-lost husband.
"Goodman (The Lake of Dead Languages) delivers another captivating literary mystery of secrets old and new. After 15 years, Juno McKay returns to Penrose College, her alma mater, to hear her friend Christine give a lecture on a beautiful stained-glass window designed by the college's founder and featuring, it was assumed, his wife, Eugenie Penrose. But Christine's research has led her to other conclusions, and her lecture raises many carefully groomed eyebrows. Juno wonders if her always controversial friend has gone too far, and later, she's puzzled by Christine's odd questions and behavior, particularly regarding Juno's ex-husband, Neil, confined to a mental institution called Briarwood these last 14 years. Christine departs, leaving many unanswered questions, and days later, Juno discovers her body in the Hudson River near the college. With elegant precision, Goodman envelops readers in Juno's life, as well as in the lives of her daughter, Bea, and Eugenie and her institutionalized, lovelorn sister, Clare. As Juno finds herself plunged into the middle of a murder investigation, she begins to retrace the path of Christine's research, uncovering tangled connections among the prestigious college, the Briarwood mental facility and her own family history. This is an artful thriller, with rich, vivid descriptions of works of art, Hudson River Valley scenery and the knotty inner terrain of its characters' hearts. Agent, Loretta Barrett. (July)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Filled with descriptions of beautiful Hudson River scenery and references to mythology and art, this gripping novel will hold the reader's attention until the very last page." Library Journal
"Goodman's early promise comes to full flower in this work....A novel full of surprises." The Denver Post
"Carol Goodman strikes each chord in The Drowning Tree with perfect pitch....
"Cerebral mystery from classy bestseller Goodman....A touch overwrought, a touch didactic, but haunting nonetheless." Kirkus Reviews
"Goodman's approach is risky: The parallel Victorian and contemporary stories verge on melodrama....Yet the novel succeeds as something more than an entertaining soap opera or a clever jigsaw puzzle." Boston Globe
About the Author
Carol Goodman is the author of The Seduction of Water and The Lake of Dead Languages. Her work has appeared in such journals as The Greensboro Review, Literal Latté, The Midwest Quarterly, and Other Voices. After graduating from Vassar College, where she majored in Latin, she taught Latin for several years in Austin, Texas. She then received an M.F.A. in fiction from the New School University. Goodman currently teaches writing in New York City. She lives on Long Island.
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