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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.
The timelines constantly change and it is hard to follow if the characters are talking/thinking about the past, present or future. Very slow, difficult story to follow.Published 20 hours ago by Lori
Although hard to keep up with the the characters, it has a gripping story. An unusually cruel character who keeps you waiting for the axe to fall.Published 17 days ago by J. Orr
It was a good story but it didn't grab me. I found it quite easy to put the book down. I prefer a book that I can't put down because I need to know what is happening next.Published 22 days ago by Linda Bainbridge
A most interesting and well written book about two sisters, their daughters, and the secrets they kept. The story is told through the voice of several different characters. Read morePublished 1 month ago by KAREN INGALLS
The format of this book goes something like this
First person experience of Amanda
First person experience of Ruth
First... Read more
interesting, blah blah blah I don't think I should have to be "required" to write a certain amount of words to evaluate this, I rebelPublished 1 month ago by Louise White
The plot was interesting and the characters well defined. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and recommend to anyone looking for a good weekend readPublished 1 month ago by Rob
Story intertwines people and events!
The writer skillfully weaves the lives of sisters through their circumstances of birth, situations and life decisions. Read more
There is not a single likable person in this story. Every character was mentally unbalanced to varying degrees, or incredibly shallow and self-centered. Read morePublished 1 month ago by RueRue