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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.
Product received as expected. Would do business with these folks again.Published 1 day ago by Raylene Whitten
A great story about two sisters and how their misfortunes affected two generations of a family. A wonderful book skillfully written.Published 8 days ago by Sandy
If you have a sister, daughter, niece or brothers then you know you love them unconditionally and would do anything for them. Read morePublished 9 days ago by Lee Fitzgerald
Quick reD...but enjoyable. The two half sisters were well set forehand provenance led their paths into a confused world of secrecy.Published 13 days ago by kathrine e sendy
This story is told mostly by Amanda, who has raised Ruth, the other narrator, since her mother drowned when she was very young.. Amanda lives on a farm with Ruth. Read morePublished 18 days ago by "Ali"
Disliked the changing narrative. Liked most of the characters. Pretty good plot, even if it was hard to follow at times.Published 22 days ago by betsy Boots