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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.
Very well written and explicit in description. A truly beautiful piece of work.Published 6 days ago by Maureen
Nice saga of a farm family during WWI and first person narration with some interesting twists and flashbacks. Liked it a lot!Published 7 days ago by Mary Lou Turbin
I held on to every word of this story. Totally Unpredictable from the first page to the last. The characters were so realistic that I felt as though I was part of their family. Read morePublished 9 days ago by JoCee
a great read. Hard to stop reading., wanted to keep going all the time.Published 19 days ago by helga atwood
It was a great read and the historical perspective made it even betterPublished 26 days ago by marcia s. jacobs
It was slow reading at first so i only gave it three stars because of that. But it was a good book.Published 1 month ago by patricia cable
This was a much different story than I anticipated, but it drew me in. It is an interesting look back at the social pressures that affected lives tremendously.Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer