- Oprah's Book Club Selection
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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.
LOVED this book. The characters were wonderfully developed, with a great plot that always had you guessing. Suspenseful and emotional. You cannot put it down. Read morePublished 21 days ago by Michelle Eliz
I absolutely loved this book !!
I love how it goes back and forth in time too.
Second half is just OK. The first half of the book throws plot twists and family drama at you and has you turning page after page. Read morePublished on March 20 2013 by Canuckfcuk
What I really liked about this novel, apart from the skillful style and the author's prodigious understanding of the emotional life, was its ending. Read morePublished on Oct. 16 2006 by Susan Bock
i picked this book up in the library after reading good reviews on it from here. maybe its just me, but this book didn't live up to all the hype it got from some other reviewers. Read morePublished on July 13 2004 by "aquakit"
This book rocked my socks! I loved the way it was written and how it went back in time and then to present. It always kept me guessing. You have got to read this book!!Published on July 10 2004
Not horrible, but really not that interesting of a story. The story is told in a way that shifts narrators and time period in a way that is not easy to follow. Read morePublished on June 25 2004