Written by Christina Schwarz
Published by Doubleday
Review by William Dressler
Drowning Ruth by Christina Schwarz is a haunting suspense novel set during and after World War I. The language is simple and honest, the story is raw and powerful, the characters are vividly drawn, and as readers become mesmerized by this story of bitter family secrets they will not want to put the book down until they discover the heartrending truth at the end.
There are questions about what really happened that fateful night when one sister drowned, leaving the other, Amanda, to rear her child, Ruth. Amanda raises Ruth with an unshakable intensity while she is determined to keep her family’s secrets. As Ruth grows older, she learns the horrible truth that has pulled her family apart.
Drowning Ruth is a captivating, engrossing novel and it is highly recommended even if it does not stand out as a work of historical fiction. There is a mention here of World War I, and there is a mention there about period clothing, but fill different details into the blanks and the story could take place anywhere at any time. It is just as well, because this is a story with timeless, universal implications. The troubled characters pull you into their world of secrets and they will stay with you, asking you questions about your own family long after the novel has ended. Are there major secrets tearing your family apart? If there are, then you will see your story here. If there are not, then reading this novel will show you why you should be grateful.
William Dressler is a writer/reviewer with a B.A. degree from Northwestern University. He has a lifelong interest in Italian history, particularly the Renaissance, and he is currently in the final stages of writing his novel based on the life of the Medici family.