Drowning Tree Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Drowning Tree

Ballantine, Jul 2004, 24.95, 339 pp.
ISBN: 0345462122

Penrose College alumni art historian Christine Webb explains the depths and links that make up a splendid stained-glass window at her alma mater to her audience of feminists. The masterpiece contains a portrait of the wife of glassmaker and school founder Augustus Penrose. Christine explains that the glass art pays homage to romantic poets, pre-Raphaelite paintings, and Greek mythology, etc as a symbolic look at women through the ages. Suddenly, a close friend in the audience Juno McKay shockingly observes a bloody red light that legend insists predicts death engulfing Christine.
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Not long afterward Christine disappears drowns in a kayak incident. Juno refuses to accept suicide induced by a drug overdose so she begins to investigate starting with the college's founding father. She learns that Augustus married Eugenie, but loved her younger sister, the mentally fragile Clare, who later suffered a mental breakdown and tried to commit suicide by drowning. Soon she traces Clare's hospitalization to an institution for the insane where she seeks to unravel the truth as to what happened to her friend and to Clare though some people wants her silent.

Though the tale takes time to accelerate (Christine's lecture reminds me of some classes I slept through at Lehman College though this makes the college atmosphere feel authentic), once Juno begins her intelligent amateur sleuthing, DROWNING TREE never looks back until the finish. Juno is a terrific protagonist starring in this academic mystery as she connects the dots past and present. Fans of cerebral mysteries will enjoy Carol Goodman's tale and seek other works such as THE SEDUCTION OF WATER.

Harriet Klausner

The review of this Book prepared by Harriet Klausner

Chapter Analysis of Drowning Tree

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Plot & Themes

Composition of Book descript. of violence and chases 10%Planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives 50%Feelings, relationships, character bio/development 30%How society works & physical descript. (people, objects, places) 10% Tone of story    -   suspenseful (sophisticated fear) How difficult to spot villain?    -   Very difficult--no foreshadowing/clues Time/era of story:    -   2000+ (Present) What % of story relates directly to the mystery, not the subplot?    -   70% Murder of certain profession?    -   museum nerd Kind of investigator    -   amateur citizen investigator Kid or adult book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Any non-mystery subplot?    -   feelings towards family/friends Crime Thriller    -   Yes Murder Mystery (killer unknown)    -   Yes

Main Character

Gender    -   Female Profession/status:    -   business executive Age:    -   20's-30's Ethnicity/Race    -   White/American


United States    -   Yes The US:    -   West

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   generic/vague references to death/punishment Amount of dialog    -   significantly more dialog than descript

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