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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 the Hardcover edition.
Interesting read, although it was hard to follow the timeline when a different character's perspective came in.Published 6 days ago by love2buy
Well written, but somewhat hard to follow the sequence of what is happening, the book goes back and forth in time so often, but it is a good read!Published 7 days ago by Leni Saynisch
It was pretty good. Suspenseful enough to keep me reading.
The characters were interesting.
I liked the story, but I was disappointed at the end. The title of the book lead me to believe that Ruth may drown towards the end. Read morePublished 10 days ago by Aminar
It was rather vague and although a terrible secret followed to its equally tragic end, I never felt that I was really into it.Published 13 days ago by Margaret Forrestel Dolling