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The drowning tree by Carol Goodman

The drowning tree (edition 2005)

by Carol Goodman

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Title:The drowning tree
Authors:Carol Goodman
Info:New York : Ballantine Books, 2005.
Collections:Your library

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The Drowning Tree by Carol Goodman



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Stained glass restoration expert Juno McKay, despite dreading questions about the pregnancy that prevented her from graduating and her institutionalized ex-husband, reluctantly returns to her alma mater for what would have been her fifteenth reunion weekend. Christine, Juno's best friend, is the keynote speaker who will be lecturing on the renowned stained glass window which the class will be sponsoring the restoration of. However, following a controversial lecture chock-full of shocking details about Eugenie and her sister Clare, the first of whom being the wife of the college's founder and assumed to be featured in the window, Christine turns up dead in a suspected suicide. As the restoration of the window progresses, eerie new details emerge surrounding the death of Christine and the haunting legacy of the window. In typical Carol Goodman fashion, the compelling story is intricately woven around imagery from Greek mythology and Gothic themes. ( )
  GennaC | May 9, 2017 |
Excerpted from Amazon:
Juno McKay is thrilled when her best friend Christine returns to their upstate New York college to give a lecture about the stained-glass window Juno will be restoring. Christine theorizes that Augustus Penrose, the college's founder, depicted his sister-in-law, Clare, not his wife, Eugenie, in the window. A week later, Juno and her daughter kayak on the Hudson River to the Penrose estate where they discover a body: Christine. Juno tries to find out what could have driven her over the edge. The search leads Juno in unexpected directions, one of which involves her ex-husband, Neil, who has been a patient in the local asylum for 14 years.

This was an interesting story written in an appealing poetic-like style that covered aspects of academia, mental illness and art. Many references to Greek mythology contributed to the style but at times bogged down the story. Besides the investigation into Christine’s death, there was also the mystery of Clare and why she was sent to the local mental institution so young, which Christine was researching. Parts of the ending were not really believable but overall I enjoyed the story. ( )
  gaylebutz | Mar 6, 2017 |
About a woman whose husband tries to kill her and their young daughter, causing him to eventually becoming a long-term patient at the local insane asylum. Her best friend ends up dead in a weird underground garden. The cop is nice, but I wonder why he owns a tuxedo. The nearby and the president of the college is hiding something. The doctor of the insane asylum seems ... well, not quite on the up-and-up.

Sounds like a pretty good basis, yes? Yes, and that's the reason I bought it. However, the author kept me just enough engaged to not put this one down, invoking the 100-page rule. Perhaps there were too many stories going here and they all kind of fizzled. You know, you can't do too many things at one time well. I guess that applies to writing, too.

The most tiring aspect of this novel was the prolific use of stained glass-making techniques, art-inspiration and mythological romances. I supposed that, since the book is titled from one of these works of art, it should be used, but I found it very cumbersome, confusing and distracting. It was almost like i was trying to read in quicksand. Not recommended unless you are (or were) a college art major. ( )
  CarmenMilligan | Jan 18, 2016 |
I always learn something from Carol Goodman's novels. She has a magical way of blending the classics into her storyline, so that while I'm rooting for various characters, I'm also getting bits of Greek and Roman mythology, history, and a bit of Latin, to boot.

This was another such novel (many of hers seem to involve classics, art, water, and female schoolmates) that brought in the many angles of love and loyalty. I really was intrigued by all the information on stained glassworks, and wish I could go up to the Hudson to see the area where this story took place. I'd also like to see some of the artwork and statuary described in the book. ( )
  bookczuk | Oct 23, 2013 |
Really liked this one. Skimmed a few art descriptions, but it was a good mystery and story-line. Will read more of hers.
  overflowingshelves | Oct 21, 2012 |
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I was late for Christine's lecture.
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Book description
August Penrose created the stained glass 'Lady Window' to adorn the chapel of the university he founded for the daughters of the women who worked in his factory, the Rose Glass Works. Depicting his wife, Eugenie, as the Lady of Shallot, it's a mesmerising portrait that has come to embody the spirit of the school itself. But now, eighty years after it was created, the Lady Window is due for restoration. The task falls to former alumna Juno McKay. She's restoring it with the help of her friend, Christine Webb, an art historian who is researching the window for her thesis. Christine seems to have discovered some new evidence that suggests that Clare, not her sister Eugenie, was the subject for the Lady Window. But before Christine can discuss her findings with Juno, she's found dead in a boating accident that eerily echoes that fate of the Lady of Shallot. But did she drown or was it something more sinister? As Juno starts to make her own investigations into just how Christine died, she learns more about Augustus Penrose and his family. The Lady Window was not the only thing the Penroses' bequeathed to the world. Madness and deception also form part of their legacy.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0345462122, Paperback)

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.

From the Hardcover edition.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:36 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

Remembering the falling out that ended her friendship with fellow student Christine, stained glass artist Juno apprehensively attends her former friend's lecture and is horrified when the woman is subsequently murdered, an occurrence that forces Juno to confront emotional truths about her own life.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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