The Puzzle Bark Tree

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Dutton, 2002 - Fiction - 319 pages
2 Reviews
Her first novel, Jimmy's Girl, was "an assured debut" (Publishers Weekly), and "a perfect reminder of how strong first love can be" (Redbook). With The Puzzle Bark Tree, Stephanie Gertler returns with a new novel showing her mastery at conveying the passion and power of the human spirit.

Grace Hammond Barnett grew up in the emotionally desolate company of the strangers who were her mother and father. Her only happy memories are of the times spent with her younger sister, Melanie, and Jemma, the warm-hearted family housekeeper who helped fill the void left by Grace's detached, inaccessible parents. Now a mother herself, Grace feels trapped in a sterile marriage to a prominent surgeon and haunted by the recurrent dreams of drowning. Her only anchor is her cherished daughter, Kate.

In the aftermath of her parents' sudden double suicide -- a tragedy that leaves Grace, Melanie, and Jemma reeling -- Grace is bequeathed a house she never knew existed. Leaving her penthouse in Manhattan on New Year's Eve, she travels alone to Sabbath Landing, New York, to a log cabin house on Canterbury Island, surrounded by Diamond Lake. Here, Grace meets Luke Keegan, a local fishing guide whose family history is inextricably bound to hers...and to a devastating secret buried in the cloudy memory of childhood.

With compassion and elegance, Stephanie Gertler crafts an emotionally rich story of what it means to survive and thrive against all odds. Like its intricate, interlocking pieces that branch out to shape lives, The Puzzle Bark Tree plumbs the mysteries of the people we can never truly know...of the incomplete memories we carry with us, and the love that can make us whole.

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About the author (2002)

Stephanie Gertler is a freelance journalist. She lives with her family in Scarsdale, New York.

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