Like Dawn, I too have a virtual bookshelf. I love the concept, because I often get ideas of what to read next based on what others have on their shelves. Such was the case with Drowning Ruth by Christina Schwarz.
It’s been a while since I’ve read such a compelling work.
Ruth Neumann is 3 when her aunt Amanda comes to live with Ruth and her mother, Amanda’s sister Mathilda. Ruth’s father, Carl, is in France recuperating from severe war injuries. Within several months of Amanda’s arrival, Mathilda disappears. She is found weeks later under the ice of the frozen lake near the family farm. Amanda happily assumes Mathilda’s role in Ruth’s life.
Told from three points of view (Ruth, Amanda, and a narrator),
The story spans from March 1919 – April 1941, from the time Ruth is 3 until she’s 25. However, Amanda’s recollections go back to the time that Mathilda, 8 years her junior, comes crashing into Amanda’s life. As Amanda shares her story, its ending seems inevitable. Yet Schwarz doesn’t give us a nicely tied up finish. The final revelation of the truth behind Mathilda’s disappearance binds Amanda and Ruth even closer in a relationship that neither can sever.
Drowning Ruth is an emotionally gripping tale of family secrets and the tormented relationships that define them. I had a hard time putting it down.
Melissa has been captivated by books for as long as she can remember. She resides in Virginia and at Breath of Life.