Customer Reviews


15 Reviews
5 star:
 (3)
4 star:
 (6)
3 star:
 (4)
2 star:
 (1)
1 star:
 (1)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars With Kathy Bates, it could be a terrific film.
With its vivid depiction of its post-World War I setting in Wisconsin, its nightmarish complexities as a family saga, its carefully developed suspense, and its simplicity of theme, Drowning Ruth has "blockbuster movie" written all over it.
These statements are not negatives, however. Drowning Ruth is a very good read!
The author is precise and careful about...
Published on 3 Oct 2003 by Mary Whipple

versus
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Suspense builds up to an anti-climax
Well defined characters, and a suspenseful plot that promises a lot but leaves you just a bit disappointed at the end, when perhaps you might reasonably be entitled to expect a late twist. A couple of the events necessary to fuel the plot seem a little contrived, such as the way that Clement Owens is somehow planted into the vicinity of the Neumanns, the way that Ruth is...
Published on 2 Sep 2006 by Howard Bell


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars With Kathy Bates, it could be a terrific film., 3 Oct 2003
By 
Mary Whipple (New England) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Drowning Ruth (Paperback)
With its vivid depiction of its post-World War I setting in Wisconsin, its nightmarish complexities as a family saga, its carefully developed suspense, and its simplicity of theme, Drowning Ruth has "blockbuster movie" written all over it.
These statements are not negatives, however. Drowning Ruth is a very good read!
The author is precise and careful about building her suspense with excruciating slowness. She has created intriguing characters--at heart, not all that different from you and me--characters who are confronted with difficult problems to solve, some of which are not of their own making and some of which are the unexpected results of desperate decisions made in the long ago past. Her alternations of point of view help to give breadth and depth to the conflicts within the main characters, while the fragmentary memories which Ruth contributes add to both the mystery and the sense of dread.
Although Schwarz ably illustrates the restricted roles into which women had to adapt themselves during the period, the mores which applied to "good girls," and the limited choices open to them, the lack of liberation is so natural a part of her story that her novel and its complications are by no means part of a liberation manifesto. Drowning Ruth is a simple story presented clearly and suspensefully by an author who, like Amanda, is careful to keep her grasp completely within her reach. Mary Whipple
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A haunting tale of past secrets, 4 Nov 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Drowning Ruth (Paperback)
I think it was Oscar Wilde who said nobody is rich enough to be able to buy his/her past. This is a haunting tale of past secrets coming back. A beautifully written, often heartbreaking, book that evolves into a real page-turner. One could say that it speaks of the unbearable decisions people have to make under extraordinary circumstances. I first heard of it when (if I'm not mistaken)it was selected for Oprah's book of the month in the US and it is especially suited to female readers. Christina Schwartz is an author to keep in mind.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Suspense builds up to an anti-climax, 2 Sep 2006
By 
Howard Bell (Highcliffe, Dorset) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Drowning Ruth (Paperback)
Well defined characters, and a suspenseful plot that promises a lot but leaves you just a bit disappointed at the end, when perhaps you might reasonably be entitled to expect a late twist. A couple of the events necessary to fuel the plot seem a little contrived, such as the way that Clement Owens is somehow planted into the vicinity of the Neumanns, the way that Ruth is introduced to the Owens household, and the way that Carl, whose character appeared to be developing quite satisfactorily, is suddenly removed from the story, presumably to facilitate the desired ending. That said, this is still a very readable psychological thriller, and a promising debut for this author. Recommended.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars American pastoral, 16 Sep 2009
By 
Eileen Shaw "Kokoschka's_cat" (Leeds, England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Drowning Ruth (Paperback)
American pastoral with a shock in the tail. A tremendously enjoyable read with spare but evocative writing and well crafted characters. The story is compelling, with a central character you cannot quite trust. I love it when writers have the confidence to show human beings in all their complexity, full shades of grey and not just black and white. Faultless in its construction, the novel comes out at the end with a revelation that, throughout the book, you could be forgiven for getting entirely wrong. When a writer can give you a human being who seems to be faulty, reprehensible, even culpable, and yet you still understand and even identify with them, you know you have a fascinating and most enjoyable read ahead of you. So a mystery is set up, but the puzzle is not what you are led to imagine. Excellent writing.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not bad, 15 Nov 2007
By 
Sonia (Delft, the Netherlands) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Drowning Ruth (Paperback)
Drowning Ruth is a great book in concept. The story revolves around the mysterious drowning of Mathilda Neuman in a lake in Wisconsin. From the onset it is clear that her sister Amanda, with whom she was living at the time knows more about the drowning. It is even suggested here and there that she is to blame for her sister's death. Whether this is the case I leave to the potential readers to read for themselves and find out.
As the story moves forward from that point on, the chain events leading up to Mathilda's tragic death are little by little revealed. Meanwhile, Ruth, Mathilda's daughter is growing up, her father Carl returns from the war and Amanda, tries to be a good mother to her niece.

Some very interesting issues are at the centre of this novel: sibling rivalry that seems inseparable from sisterly love; traditional family values and what is viewed as proper behaviour for women that may lead to desperate measures, are only a few examples.
Some of the characters were also enticing, especially Amanda, whose over-protectiveness of her mother, sister and niece is not easily classified. Is it selfish or selfless?

However, I believe this work has some flaws and it makes the author come across as promising but inexperienced. For one, all male characters are flat. Whether this was intentional or not, it takes a toll on the credibility of the story. Secondly, there are some loose ends that the author didn't tie up. For example, in order to conceal her secrets Amanda allows Carl to believe things about his dead wife that may be detrimental to his memory of her. Thirdly, when the truth finally comes out, Ruth's reaction is a bit simplified, making it an anticlimax to this story.

But all in all I enjoyed reading this book most of the time. I especially found the psychological issues enticing. For this reason, I believe this book to great material for literary discussions, so if that's your thing, you should read this book or suggest it for your book club.

I might read another novel by the author, but hopefully there will be some improvements on her storytelling skills.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars With Kathy Bates, it could be a terrific film., 16 Jan 2006
By 
Mary Whipple (New England) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Drowning Ruth (Hardcover)
With its vivid depiction of its post-World War I setting in Wisconsin, its nightmarish complexities as a family saga, its carefully developed suspense, and its simplicity of theme, Drowning Ruth has "blockbuster movie" written all over it.
This statements is not meant as a negative--Drowning Ruth is a very good read!
The author is precise and careful about building her suspense with excruciating slowness. She has created intriguing characters--at heart, not all that different from you and me--characters who are confronted with difficult problems to solve, some of which are not of their own making and some of which are the unexpected results of desperate decisions made in the long ago past. Her alternations of point of view help to give breadth and depth to the conflicts within the main characters, while the fragmentary memories which Ruth contributes add to both the mystery and the sense of dread.
Although Schwarz ably illustrates the restricted roles into which women had to adapt themselves during the period, the mores which applied to "good girls," and the limited choices open to them, the lack of liberation is so natural a part of her story that her novel and its complications are by no means part of a liberation manifesto. Drowning Ruth is a simple story presented clearly and suspensefully by an author who, like Amanda, is careful to keep her grasp completely within her reach. Mary Whipple
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Gripping in parts, highly strung!!, 14 Mar 2001
By 
Catherine Wood (Twickenham, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Drowning Ruth (Paperback)
A tense and complex trail which leads us through a minefield of relationships and circumstances which unfold as the story progresses. The highlights for me were the setting which provides a bleak backdrop, fitting for the story; the period itself and the constraints that determined how the characters behaved; and finally the complex family relationships - parents, siblings, children - the intensity of which is so well captured throughout. My only criticism is the length and consequently I felt the highly charged atmosphere in most parts was slightly lost by the end.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A beautifully crafted tale of the affects of a secret, 1 Mar 2002
This review is from: Drowning Ruth (Paperback)
This brief story of how one secret changes the lives of a family is a tense and inticate unwinding. Many times you will try to guess what happened on that fateful night and then one more clue changes everything. A weave of character, atmosphere and regret I would recommend you dip your toe into the waters that are "Drowning Ruth".
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Chillingly gripping, 15 Feb 2013
By 
Jane Baker "jan-bookcase" (Somerset) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Drowning Ruth (Paperback)
Atmospheric, vivid and quite amazing for a debut novel. A tragedy sets in motion a deeply psychological thriller. Amanda Starkey retreats to her family's farm in Wisconsin to recover from a love affair which has left her traumatised. Instead of peace she is plunged into a family tragedy where Ruth claims she remembers drowning. Desperatley moving Scharz takes the reader on a journey which has a shattering conclusion. Powerful and brilliant.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely boring, 8 Jun 2010
By 
This review is from: Drowning Ruth (Paperback)
The main problem with this book apart from the tedious writing is the lack of feelings I had for the main character, amanda. I just didn't like her and after 100 pages in, I was absolutley bored. There was no character development in carl or mattie and even after dumping this book, I feel that I still don't know anything about them.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Drowning Ruth
Drowning Ruth by Christina Schwarz (Paperback - 6 Sep 2001)
6.80
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews