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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 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 6 days 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 1 month ago by Katie
this was a christmas gift for some one, so not sure if it was a good read or not. but the book itself arrived in good condition. brand new, and was at a good price.Published 1 month ago by tracy
I was sucked into the story from the beginning. I guess the best way to describe this book is "intriguing". Read morePublished 1 month ago by Debra A. Mcbride
Very predictable and the middle of the book was slow. I easily put it down half way through and had to force myself to pick back up and finish.Published 1 month ago by terri marcum
You can always count on reading a good book it you read any of Oprah's selections. This is a very good book. I would recommend it to anyone who wants to read a good book.Published 1 month ago by Lynda Middleton
This story of shame and secrets is almost mythic (and truly original) in its subject matter. Young Ruth is the daughter of Mathilda and Carl (who has gone off to fight in WWI). Read morePublished 1 month ago by Patricia Hagerty
I did not enjoy this book. Possibility because I didn't connect with the characters. It was a "book club" book so I completed it, but personally, I couldn't recommend it.Published 1 month ago by LaurenAK
This is a well written enticing novel. The author develops her characters well and you have a sense of being drawn into the times and their minds. It is evocative and compelling.Published 1 month ago by Linda Bowers