Posted by: Samantha | October 8, 2008

Reviewed: Drowning Ruth by Christina Schwarz

I saw Drowning Ruth by Christina Schwarz on the discount table at my favorite used bookstore and was intrigued.  The cover promised deep, dark secrets and a complex look into the dynamics of family.  Throw in some heartbreak, cheating and fits of hysteria – I was prepared for a pretty good read.

What I got was much, much more!  Christina’s story centers on two sisters, Mathilda and Amanda – while around them spins chaos, lies and sickness.  When you start reading ‘Drowning Ruth,’ you are taken back to 1919; a time when divorce was unheard of and rumors of an illegitimate child would quite literally shame and ruin a woman’s life.

Amanda is a nurse taking care of wounded soldiers when she finds love with a charming, spontaneous man.  After having her heart broken, she returns to the family farm where her sister, Mathilda and her niece, Ruthie live in relative peace.  If she can just rest a bit and overcome the sickness that seems to be taking hold of her mind, she is confident that she can return to her work.

However, a secret unfolds on the farm and Mathilda and Ruth are dragged into the middle of it.  As we flash forward in time, we find out that a freezing winter night brings Amanda to the sheriff, reporting Mathilda missing.  Not much later, her frozen body is found in the lake.  We know that Amanda is covering up a secret and as Ruth continues to ask strange questions about that night – we find ourselves dying to know the answer as well!

As the book continues, Amanda reveals glimpses of her past, slowly feeding us the details of what happened.  When Ruth’s father comes home from the war, it gets much harder to hide the truth.  Nagging guilt and a mysterious bite on Amanda’s thumb continues to worry us – along with Amanda.  This book is an absolute masterpiece.  There are no twisted plots and conspiracies, but the book shows human emotion sliced open and examined thoroughly – creating one of the most complex stories I’ve read in a long time.  If you want to know the secrets, visit this page.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys stories that are something more than just entertaining – stories that make us think a little more about the devotion to family, the tribulations of love and the very real webs we weave.

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Responses

  1. This does sound like a good read – similar, almost, to the classic “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?”. I do love books that make you question the fabric of our surroundings and those in it.

  2. The Handmaid’s Tale – that made me question many a thing


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