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Christina Schwarz's suspenseful debut pivots on two of the lost "virtues" of the past: silence and stoicism. Drowning Ruth opens in 1919, on the heels of the influenza epidemic that followed the First World War. Although there were telephones and motor cars and dance halls in the small towns of Wisconsin in those years, the townspeople remained rigid and forbidding. As a young woman, Amanda Starkey, a Lutheran farmer's daughter, had been firmly discouraged from an inappropriate marriage with a neighboring Catholic boy. A few years later, as a nurse in Milwaukee, she is seduced by a dishonorable man. Her shame sends her into a nervous breakdown, and she returns to the family farm. Within a year, though, her beloved sister Mathilde drowns under mysterious circumstances. And when Mathilde's husband, Carl, returns from the war, he finds his small daughter, Ruth, in Amanda's tenacious grip, and she will tell him nothing about the night his wife drowned. Amanda's parents, too, are long gone. "I killed my parents. Had I mentioned that?" muses Amanda.
I killed them because I felt a little fatigued and suffered from a slight, persistent cough. Thinking I was overworked and hadn't been getting enough sleep, I went home for a short visit, just a few days to relax in the country while the sweet corn and the raspberries were ripe. From the city I brought fancy ribbon, two boxes of Ambrosia chocolate, and a deadly gift... I gave the influenza to my mother, who gave it to my father, or maybe it was the other way around.Schwarz is a skillful writer, weaving her grim tale across several decades, always returning to the fateful night of Mathilde's death. Drowning Ruth displays her gift for pacing and her harsh insistence on the right ending, rather than the cheery one. --Regina Marler --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
I did not enjoy this book at all. The writing is slow, confusing and the title character is a mentally disturbed narcissist, not a good read.Published 6 days ago by dennis tallon
I have read this book twice before, but I couldn't resist having it on KindlePublished 17 days ago by Phyllis C. Strazdas
I often found this story line difficult to follow. Although section headings (character names) were used, it was confusing to keep track of the character development. Read morePublished 19 days ago by JARCohen
I really enjoyed this book, partly because of all the references to places in Wisconsin, but I do note that the book made the places seem closer than they are. Read morePublished 20 days ago by Marilyn
I'd like to give this 3.5 stars. I absolutely loved the story for the first 3/4 of the book. Then Amanda pulls the typewriten notebook pages from Ruth's purse. Read morePublished 21 days ago by Bridget Clopper-Bailey