Drowning Ruth Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Drowning Ruth

Drowning Ruth is a novel written about the affects of keeping a deep, dark secret on the structure of a family and how this secret can cause lives to deteriorate and people to lose their minds. The novel takes place in 1919 in a small town at Lake Nagawaukee in Wisconsin, which is coincidentally where Christina Schwarz grew up. Amanda Starkey, a young nurse, found she was not emotionally invested enough to care for her patients properly and decided to come home to her sister, Mathilda Neumann and her 3 year old baby girl, Ruth because they had been left alone upon her husband, Carl's joining the military and going to war. Mattie is soon found drowned and frozen in the lake surrounding her fairy-tale house she had shared with her devastated family. Carl returns from the war to find his life as he had known it changed completely, with Amanda taking an overly protective, yet motherly role over Ruth and caring for him and his needs because he had been shot through his leg and made little effort to care for his grieving self.
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It is revealed that Ruth's best friend, the lovely Imogene, was actually Amanda's daughter born without a father on the whimsical island house where Mattie had helped in her birth. Amanda discovered she couldn't keep the girl and took her to her friend who was incapable of having children to live an average life without knowledge of her mother or father. Carl began to believe that Clement Owens, Amanda's ex-lover who had fathered Imogene and left her for his husband, was the cause of his wife's death because he felt that she had cheated on him with the confident, wealthy man. The web of lies slowly unravel to reveal to Ruth that Imogene was in fact her cousin and that she had fallen in love with Arthur Owens, her half brother, leading Amanda and Ruth to construct a plan that separated the two and caused Imogene to flee because of her lost love. Amanda's love had settled too deeply for Ruth to leave her in the end and they shared their lives happily together.

The review of this Book prepared by Danielle

In DROWNING RUTH, Ruth and her Aunt and guardian, Amanda, take turns in unravelling the mystery that surrounds Ruth's childhood -- what happened the tragic night that Ruth's mother (Amanda's sister) died, and why, in particular, Ruth insists that she remembers drowning. It is story which depicts vividly how history repeats and people fall apart when they try to lock their “skeletons in the closet”.
The review of this Book prepared by Alison

Chapter Analysis of Drowning Ruth

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Plot & Themes

Tone of book?    -   thoughtful Time/era of story    -   1930's-1950's    -   1900-1920's Family, struggle with    -   Yes Struggle with:    -   Aunt Family, loving relations    -   Yes Special relationship with    -   aunt Internal struggle/realization?    -   Yes Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Pregnancy/Child rearing    -   Yes Major part of story:    -   giving up children Coping with loss of loved one(s)    -   Yes Loss of...    -   mother

Main Character

Gender    -   Female Profession/status:    -   student Age:    -   a kid Ethnicity/Nationality    -   White (American)


How much descriptions of surroundings?    -   3 () United States    -   Yes Farm/Ranch?    -   Yes Farm/Ranch:    -   farm    -   lot of descript of crop raising    -   lot of descript of animal care

Writing Style

Sex in book?    -   Yes What kind of sex:    -   vague references only    -   impregnation/reproduction    -   rape/molest Amount of dialog    -   significantly more descript than dialog

Books with storylines, themes & endings like Drowning Ruth

Christina Schwarz Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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