The title drew me in. Drowning Ruth. I love crime thrillers (probably comes from the same part of me that wants to be a mounted police officer), and thought it sounded quite interesting. The cover caught my eye as soon as I could tear my eyes away from the title. The exquisite rose by the dark, lakeside trees begged me to unravel the mystery in those pages.
I ‘borrowed’ it out of the online library before you could even see the excited expression on my face. True, with school and such, it took me a couple days to read it…and it was well worth it.
My excitement about reading a crime thriller set at the end of WWI dissipated as soon as I read the first chapter. This was obviously not a crime thriller. But it was interesting enough to capture and keep my attention. After all, what wasn’t there to dislike?
Ruth remembered drowning.
That’s how it starts off. And I was hooked from there on.
“March 27, 1919” That’s a good place to begin.
And it is. That is the day Amanda put on the top of her letter when she wrote to tell her sister she was coming home. She ended up not sending the letter, but that was the day it all started. Her brain was failing her. All the nursing of dying soldiers was getting to her. Suddenly she wouldn’t be able to see or she’d wake up from sleep positive that her legs were sawn off. She had hallucinations. So they sent her home.
Home? Yes, home to their family’s house. Home to where her Mother and Father died. Home to where her sister lives. Home.
Carl comes home after Mattie, his wife and Amanda’s sister, has drowned. He has a hole in his leg, and can’t wrap his mind around the fact that Mattie is dead. Ruth doesn’t remember her father, but she does remember drowning.
Fast forward a little bit, Ruth makes friends with Imogene in a most peculiar way. Later when Ruth, trying to impress her friend, takes her to see Mattie’s grave, they discover that Imogene was born the day Mattie died.
I only thought it seemed very strange that, while my mother and I were drowning, Imogene was being born.
Carl, meanwhile, knowing so little about how his wife actually died, starts to poke around. Lucky for Amanda, she’s already touchy, so when he probes into that fateful night, he can’t tell the difference between her coverups and her normal, touchy personality. But when Imogene falls in love with Clement Owen’s son, Arthur, we start to find out that there is much more to Imogene’s birth than the casual connection of Mattie’s death and Imogene’s birth. And Arthur’s father is deeper in it than any of them know.
Except, perhaps, Amanda.
When one of his feet slid, he looked down instinctively, throwing his hands out to break his fall. If the lady had not been entombed in ice, he would have landed in her arms. He saw first the swollen gray hand and then the arm, the purplish fabric in folds, and finally the face. It was turned toward him, the blue eyes staring, the mouth open, screaming without sound, trapped in that bottomless black hole.
This book was awesome. She slipped around through many people’s point of views, yet it seemed so natural. It seemed like you started at the end of a story and the beginning at the same time. The plot was filled to the top with twists; some so unexpected they nearly seem to jolt the book from your hand. A piece of information is given you and you process it into the story when suddenly another piece is given that totally changes what you thought just one paragraph back.
Christina Schwartz is a fabulous writer and I would love to read more books from her. Somehow she wove this story to perfection. First you feel sympathy, then anger, suddenly frustration, and then curiosity. Back and forth the emotions slip, caught in Christina’s amazing talent.
If you have a chance to read Drowning Ruth, then I would highly recommend it. You will not regret it.