Thursday, November 17

Carol Goodman: The Drowning Tree

From the back of the book-
Juno McKay intended to avoid her fifteenth-year college reunion, but she can't resist the chance to see her longime friend Christine Webb. Though Juno cringes at the inevitable talk of her troubled personal life-and the husband who ended up in a mental hopsital only two years after their wedding-she endures the gossip for her friend's sake.
While lecturing at the Penrose College library, Christine shocks the rapt crowd by reavling little-known details about the lives of two sisters-memebers of the influential family whose name the college bears. Christine's revelations throw shadows of betrayal, lust, and insanity over the family's distinguished facade.
After her speech, Christine seems distant, uneasy, and sad. The next day, she disappears. Juno is alarmed and begins to peel away the layer of secrets and madness that surround the Penrose dynasty. She fears that Christine discovered somethig damning about them, perhaps even something worth killing for. And Juno is derermined to find it-for her friend and for herself.
This tangled combination of historical and modern mystery tales has a strong literary flavour. The pace is slow, the characters complex and the story deceptively straight forward.
My last foray into this author's work didn't leave me partiuclarly impressed but I'm pleased to say this effort was much more enjoyable. There were enough red herrings thrown in to cloud the antagonist's identity without it coming as a complete surprise at the end of the story or worse, being telegraphed loudly throughout the book. A complicated romantic subplot fits in well.
I would class this as a mild modern gothic worth a look for those with an interest in the genre and comfortable with a less sensational approach.-Lynn

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