We read The Drowning Tree by Carol Goodman for our 5th Books & Bars meeting! We met outside at a local bar and had a good discussion, even though none of us loved the book. And I loved that we could do that. This book was heavy on Greek mythology and art, none of which are up ANY of our alleys, but we ignored that part and dove into the story/mystery surrounding The Lady in the Window glass window at Penrose College.
Juno McKay is a 37 year old single mother of a 15 year old girl. She lives in an old factory and runs her dad's stained glass window company. She dropped out of college, Penrose, in her senior year when she was pregnant with her daughter. She married her college lover, Neil, but divorced shortly after when his mental state deteriorated and he tried to kill her, his daughter and himself in the river.
The book starts out with Juno attending a lecture given by her oldest friend, Christine, about The Lady in the Window. Juno's company is just about to restore the window as their graduating classes gift to the university. During her speech, Christine reveals secrets about the founding members of the college Eugenie Penrose and her husband Augustus. It rattles a few people and shortly after her speech, Christine vanishes.
The book centers on The Lady in the Window and a lot of mythology and on the relationship that Christine, Neil and Juno shared.
When we were discussing it, our main complaints were that the author spelled out connections that were easily seen by the reader and didn't need to be spelled out. It was overkill. Also, it was a bit toooo much on the mythology end for us and we didn't need to read ANY more times that the lady in the one painting had bark growing out of her arms. We got it. ;)
It was fascinating to read about mental illness and the effects on others around them and we did enjoy reading about how current psycho drugs are named after some mythology, but it wasn't really for us. We also didn't like that there were SOO many red herrings and possibilities and not all explained and some just left hanging that didn't make sense.
Now, if you enjoy art, mythology and a mystery? Right up your alley. ;) It was a great discussion.
Next month we are reading We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver.
Have you read The Drowning Tree? Does mythology or art interest you?