- STAFF PICKS
- GIFTS + GIFT CARDS
- SELL BOOKS
- FIND A STORE
This item may be
Check for Availability
Drowning Ruth: A Novelby Christina Schwarz
Synopses & Reviews
Deftly written and emotionally powerful, Drowning Ruth is a stunning portrait of the ties that bind sisters together and the forces that tear them apart, of the dangers of keeping secrets and the explosiverepercussions when they are exposed. A mesmerizing and achingly beautiful debut.
Winter, 1919. Amanda Starkey spends her days nursing soldiers wounded in the Great War. Finding herself suddenly overwhelmed, sheflees Milwaukee and retreats to her family's farm on Nagawaukee Lake, seeking comfort with her younger sister, Mathilda, and three-year-old niece, Ruth. But very soon, Amanda comes to see that her old home is norefuge--she has carried her troubles with her. On one terrible night almost a year later, Amanda loses nearly everything that is dearest to her when her sister mysteriously disappears and is later found drowned beneath theice that covers the lake. When Mathilda's husband comes home from the war, wounded and troubled himself, he finds that Amanda has taken charge of Ruth and the farm, assuming her responsibility with a frightening intensity.Wry and guarded, Amanda tells the story of her family in careful doses, as anxious to hide from herself as from us the secrets of her own past and of that night.
Ruth, haunted by her own memory of that fatefulnight, grows up under the watchful eye of her prickly and possessive aunt and gradually becomes aware of the odd events of her childhood. As she tells her own story with increasing clarity, she reveals the mounting tollthat her aunt's secrets exact from her family and everyone around her, until the heartrending truth is uncovered.
Guiding us through the lives of the Starkey women, Christina Schwarz's first novel shows hercompassion and a unique understanding of the American landscape and the people who live on it.
From the Hardcover edition.
“POWERFUL . . . SUSPENSEFUL . . . RICHLY TEXTURED . . . [A] CHILLING, PRECOCIOUSLY GOOD START TO A BRIGHT NEW NOVELIST’S CAREER.”
–The New York Times
“[A] gripping psychological thriller . . . In the winter of 1919, a young mother named Mathilda Neumann drowns beneath the ice of a rural Wisconsin lake. The shock of her death dramatically changes the lives of her daughter, troubled sister, and husband. . . . Told in the voices of several of the main characters and skipping back and forth in time, the narrative gradually and tantalizingly reveals the dark family secrets and the unsettling discoveries that lead to the truth of what actually happened the night of the drowning. . . . Schwarz certainly succeeds at keeping the reader engrossed.”
“DEFT AND ASSURED . . . [WITH] STRONG CHARACTERS AND A PLOT LONG ON TENSION AND SURPRISES.”
“A strong sense of portent and unusually vivid characters distinguish this mesmerizing first novel about horrifying family secrets and nearly annihilating guilt. Drowning Ruth is a complex and rewarding debut.”
Author of The Pilot’s Wife
“RIVETING . . . A VERY SUSPENSEFUL TALE, ONE THAT WILL KEEP READERS UP SHIVERING IN THE NIGHT.”
Worn out from nursing soldiers at a Milwaukee hospital and struggling to recover from a traumatic love affair, Amanda Starkey returns to her family's rural Wisconsin farm to stay with her beloved sister, Mattie, and a young niece, Ruth. An Oprah Book Club selection and bestseller in hardcover, Drowning Ruth, now in paperback, is a stunning portrait of the ties that bind sisters together and the forces that tear them apart. Schwarz's first novel explores themes of family love, sibling rivalry, duty, loyalty, and a possible murder.
About the Author
Christina Schwarz grew up in Wisconsin. She and her husband live in New Hampshire, where she is at work on her second novel.
What Our Readers Are Saying