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Publisher's Summary

Theirs was an idyllic friendship; their experiences together at Penrose College the very best that life could offer. But that was then....

Stained glass artist Juno McKay is forced to confront the events that shattered the intense friendship between herself, her best friend, Christine, and her husband, Neil, when she discovers, after years of absence, that Christine is to deliver a lecture at their college reunion. Despite her misgivings, Juno finds herself compelled to attend the lecture about the history of one of Penrose College's most hallowed works of art.

The stir Christine creates with her discoveries is unprecedented, but when she is discovered floating in the Hudson River after having apparently committed suicide, Juno is forced to confront the truth of their past, and the chilling emotional truths she thought she had buried forever.

©2004 Carol Goodman (P)2008 BBC Audiobooks America

What listeners say about The Drowning Tree

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Psychological mystery of past and present

What did you love best about The Drowning Tree?

Very much appreciated all the references to art and mythology in the the novel. Myth took a center stage in providing the psychological underpinnings of the plot. That aspect of the book kept me listening and intrigued.

Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

Most of the plot moved well and it was engaging. As stated already, this was a mystery that overtly relied on psychology as part of the plot. In regard to how myth is with us always, playing itself out in each of our lives, I cannot offer enough praise. the manner in which the author used particular myths to mold the story in this novel was excellent.

Alas, I cannot say the same for the author's use of current concepts of clinical psychology. Some of the efforts to sound credible were quite the opposite, and left me with a jarring sense of the naïveté of many people about the field. In fact, there were parts that were so out of touch with the reality of psychiatry and therapeutic care, that I wanted to just find a way to get past it without groaning too much.

I accepted that the author used "poetic license" for that part of the book, but unfortunately, for me, it was a huge distraction from an otherwise good story.

Any additional comments?

It was a great effort on the author's part. I recognize and truly appreciate the breadth and scope of knowledge required to have written it. I would highly recommend it for that reason alone. The characters were well drawn, even though I cringed a bit in certain scenes around the assumptions of what takes place in the area of psychiatric treatment, but this is little different from other books which have stretched these ideas for plot development. The mystery was good, it was an an engaging book, and I do plan to read more by Carol Goodman.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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just finished listening a second time

I was completely absorbed by the characters who struggled to create lives of purpose, creativity, responsibility and love. The moments of suspense and drama moved the mystery aspect along with several twists in the unfolding resolution.

1 person found this helpful

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Read in print.

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

No. Very unacceptable narration.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

see comments

Any additional comments?

While the story may have been engrossing, the narrator ruined it. She read too fast, spoke in almost a monotone, and sounded like she was reading. Every charachter sounded the same and I often forgotten who was speaking. As the book is a series of 5 first person narrative, this is a big fail for me.

It could have been a great book, but I will never know.

2 people found this helpful

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Worth the credit

I really enjoyed The Drowning Tree. Very artistic storytelling and intriguing characters. The lore and mythology was wonderful to learn about.
I listened to The Lake of Dead Languages first, this book had many similarities. Maybe I should have read/listened to something different in between. I only say that because the author’s writing style is incredibly detailed and I became eager to be finished with this book near the end

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A good multitasking audiobook

I listened to this book while doing other things, because it moved slowly—what I am finding with Carol Goodman’s books. I had been expecting a thriller like The Widow’s house, but it was not like that at all, much more a psychological study. The story lost one star for not realistically portraying psychiatric care in modern times—Claire might have been locked away in her day, but Neal would have been in the hospital these days tops for two weeks and then sent to some place like Bridges as a transition and by the time the story takes place back into society. Also, hanging over the story is the old assumption that mental illness is inherited. We know now there can be predispositions, but these characters experienced plenty of environmental factors (and other people’s agendas) to throw them over the edge.
I was intrigued by the nuances of creating stained glass and also the mythology that was the underpinning of the stories—applied to now and a couple generations ago. I really liked the soft tone and hint of an English accent in the narrator’s voice. Definitely plan to listen to more of this author’s works.

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Narrator is awful

I think this book probably has potential but I couldn’t stand to listen to the narrator for longer than about 10 minutes. It was obvious she was cold reading and the inflections on words didn’t make sense/insinuated out of place flirtyness. Very annoying...my brain had a hard time comprehending the meaning of sentences because the way she read things was just weird. Maybe buy the hard copy.

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artsy but good underlying story line

the book starts off slow but picks up so stick with it it's a page-turner

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Not what you would expect.

Not what you would expect. I didn't think I would enjoy listening to this at first but I found myself drawn in by the dialog. Loved it.

1 person found this helpful