DROWNING RUTH by Christina Schwarz
Doubleday - Sept. 2000
ISBN: 0385502532 - Hardcover
Reviewed by Pam Stone, MyShelf.com
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DROWNING RUTH is Christina Schwarz's first novel, and what a brilliant outing it is! I can see why Oprah choose it for her book club selection.
DROWNING RUTH starts off in the winter of 1919 and takes place in Wisconsin. Amanda Starkey, a nurse in Milwaukee, finds herself burned out and returns to her family's farm on Lake Naguwaukee. Her sister Mattie and 3-year-old niece Ruth are living there and taking care of the farm while Mattie's husband Carl is away at war. Amanda soon realizes that she cannot leave problems behind so things are stormy on the farm. About a year later, Mattie turns up missing and is soon found dead in the frozen lake. Amanda assumes all responsibility of the farm, and Ruth until Carl returns. When Carl does return, he is wounded, and it soon becomes clear that Amanda would rather not have him there at all. Amanda wants to have Ruth all to herself. Ruth's childhood is not a very happy one; Amanda is over protective and rigid. As the story unfolds, so do the secrets that were never meant to see the light of day.
The story goes back and forth from the past
to the present and is told in the voices of Amanda, Carl, and Ruth. I actually
thought that I had the ending figured out before hand, but I was wrong. I must
admit that I was a tiny bit disappointed with the ending, but that does not
take away the fact that DROWNING RUTH is remarkably written and a very splendid
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