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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.
This book was interesting, but not one I couldn't put down. Seemed very slow and unexciting even though the story was interesting.Published 6 days ago by Mary
The characters in this book are so well-written. You either love them or you hate them. Each one has their own distinct personality. Read morePublished 13 days ago by Casey K. Conrad
I had a hard time following this book and keeping the characters straight in the beginning. It was interesting and one that should probably be discussed more than just read to be... Read morePublished 13 days ago by Dianne Reed
This was a recent book club selection, and I didn't realize I had already read it until I got well into the book. Read morePublished 17 days ago by Denise K. Maguire
Worst book I've read in some time. I thought I'd never finish it, but I have a 'thing' about finishing a book once I start, because I have never read many books I didn't like in... Read morePublished 19 days ago by Becky J
One of the best books I have read in a long time! Well written and an intimate look at family dynamics!Published 1 month ago by Dianne South
I don't know if the author intended to confuse this reader, but she confused me. Perhaps I should re-read the book in a few months. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Nancy Klukas
This is an awesome story. Althought he story jumped around a lot, I kept having to back and see who I was reading about, which is part of it's charm. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Jamie L Lane
I have not started reading it yet but the book came in good shape! Im sure I will love itPublished 2 months ago by Katie