Book Reviews of Drowning Ruth

Drowning Ruth
Drowning Ruth
Author: Christina Schwarz
ISBN-13: 9780345460356
ISBN-10: 0345460359
Publication Date: 9/30/2003
Pages: 352
Rating:
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
 99

3.5 stars, based on 99 ratings
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Book Type: Paperback
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

128 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed Drowning Ruth on + 30 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 19
DROWNING RUTH is deceptively clever. What seems initially like the conventional, usually predictable murder yarn turns out actually being a meticulously crafted story of considerable artistic merit. The circumstances of the drowning of Ruth's mother serves as the catalyst that precipitates an intriguing flow of interrelated events in the lives of Amanda (the drowned woman's sister) and her niece Ruth. Christina Schwarz is a wonderfully talented writer who has woven a rather intricate tale of psychological suspense. There are many engrossing trwists and digressions (but quite necessary) in this very emotional marrative. The mystery is sustained throughout because the reader, as if carefully and thoughtfully fitting together all the jagged pieces of a puzzle, learns in successive chapters what actually occurred that particular wintry night so long ago in the past of both Amanda and Ruth. The writer does a marvelous job in pacing the delicate unravelling of the knitting. This is a thoroughly enjoyable thriller.
I recommend this book very highly.
reviewed Drowning Ruth on + 15 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 11
This is a dark story, but very good! I thought it was pretty predictable at first, but it wasn't at all. It's written in a mix of first and third person and the story bounces from present to past. Definitely kept it interesting.
reviewed Drowning Ruth on + 13 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 11
this book is as haunting and beautiful as the lonely landscape through which the events take place...repressed passion, living in a society where sexuality is so completely repressed and rejected that horrible events occur as a result.
reviewed Drowning Ruth on + 113 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 7
Depressing, dark book. I don't always need upbeat stories, but this one was too serious/dark when I am reading for enjoyment.
reviewed Drowning Ruth on + 34 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 6
DROWNING RUTH is deceptively clever. What seems initially like the conventional, usually predictable murder yarn turns out actually being a meticulously crafted story of considerable artistic merit. The circumstances of the drowning of Ruth's mother serves as the catalyst that precipitates an intriguing flow of interrelated events in the lives of Amanda (the drowned woman's sister) and her niece Ruth. Christina Schwarz is a wonderfully talented writer who has woven a rather intricate tale of psychological suspense. There are many engrossing trwists and digressions (but quite necessary) in this very emotional marrative. The mystery is sustained throughout because the reader, as if carefully and thoughtfully fitting together all the jagged pieces of a puzzle, learns in successive chapters what actually occurred that particular wintry night so long ago in the past of both Amanda and Ruth. The writer does a marvelous job in pacing the delicate unravelling of the knitting. This is a thoroughly enjoyable thriller.
I recommend this book very highly.
reviewed Drowning Ruth on + 17 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 5
This book was a dark book to read but it was intriguing. It was just a simple glimpse into the human psyche. Story of death....accidental or not? Family secrets to be explored and unraveled. I actually enjoyed it.
reviewed Drowning Ruth on + 5 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 5
Deliciously morbid. This book keeps you guessing with every turn.
reviewed Drowning Ruth on + 20 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
This is a mysery set in 1919 about a family with secrets. I really enjoyed this book and the narrative really lets you get into the characters minds. This book really sucks you in. A great read.
reviewed Drowning Ruth on + 36 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
I thought this book was very compelling. It was really great how the author switched from past to present in the different charachters thoughts. Extremely suspenseful. A definite must read!
reviewed Drowning Ruth on + 12 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
Incredible story. Writing is amazing. No wonder it made it on the NY Times best seller list and Oprah's book club! Read it and pass it on.
reviewed Drowning Ruth on + 2 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
I just finished this book. After a slow start, I was hooked. I loved the author's flashback techniques, and the "gems" of thought and reason sprinkled throughout. I definitely recommend this book to any serious readers who love intrique and yet are drawn to the reaslistic writing style.
reviewed Drowning Ruth on + 209 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
I thought this was a very well written book. It had me guessing till the last minute about what "really happened". My book club loved it!
reviewed Drowning Ruth on + 92 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
Set in Wisconsin in the early 1900's. Family secrets and sad lives but you want to get to the end to find out exactly what happened. why are Oprah's picks so dark?
reviewed Drowning Ruth on + 17 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
This has become one of my favorite books! I could not put it down!
reviewed Drowning Ruth on + 3 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
This book was extremely good. I was engrossed in it from beginning to end. I especially like the way it was written by switching characters throughout the book. Christina Schwarz did an excellent job with the storyline as well. I highly recommend this book to all!
reviewed Drowning Ruth on + 14 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
Unusual style of writing. A thriller about family. Good book.
reviewed Drowning Ruth on + 6 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
At times the book ran a bit slow, but it picked up as the story progressed. It became much more engrossing and the ending made it very worthwhile.
reviewed Drowning Ruth on + 21 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
This one kept me guessing to the end. Surprisingly broad and deep, the unusual but believable characters have stuck with me for months after turning the last page.
reviewed Drowning Ruth on + 34 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
I enjoyed this book. It kept me up at night turning pages.
reviewed Drowning Ruth on + 29 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
I loved this book.It kept my interest to the end and was one of those books that is hard to put down.
reviewed Drowning Ruth on + 10 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
This book was very disturbing. I kept thinking I should stop reading it because I disliked the characters so much, but I am glad I finished it. It was worth it in the end.
reviewed Drowning Ruth on + 23 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
An engrossing book about family secrets and relationships. A young mother drowns beneath the ice of a rural Wisconsin lake. The shifting narration takes some getting used to, but as the mystery of her death unfolds you'll find you can't put the book down. Well worth the effort it takes to read.
reviewed Drowning Ruth on + 10 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
A bit of a dark story, but a very good read. I didn't want to put it down.
reviewed Drowning Ruth on + 246 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
This books started out slightly slow for me - or I just didn't get it at first- but then! awesome. I really enjoyed it!
reviewed Drowning Ruth on + 6 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
Tale of family secrets and rivals. Captavating and I like how it takes you from the present to the past. Excellent book
reviewed Drowning Ruth on + 37 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This novel tells the haunting story of two generations of a Wisconsin family brought together and torn apart by the lake adjacent to the family home. Focused on four women, sisters of two generations, the novel develops around the sisters' relationship with the lake, and the tragedy that ensues when it claims one of their lives. Much of the book is spent untangling the secrets which led to the drowning, and working out the complicated problems which arise from the family's attempts to keep these secrets.

Scwartz's story jumps back and forth across time, from past to present and back again. This means that the story develops piece by piece, and this is what makes it something of a mystery. I found the plot development to be one of the more satisfying parts of this book, seeing the pieces of the puzzle fall into place. I enjoyed the developments leading up to Scwartz's telling of what actually happened the night of the tragedy. After that point, however, I found the plot to be something of a let-down. The conclusion seemed a bit too neat, and a bit forced.

The most enjoyable part of this book to me was the way in which Scwartz set the scene- the way in which she managed to capture the sense of a time and place. The novel is set in the Wisconsin countryside in the first half of the twentieth century, with most of the action focusing on the last years of WWI, and the 1920s. Scwartz offers a convincing portrait of Wisconsin farm country in the late-1910s and early 1920s. Her descriptions are vivid, without being overstated, and her story intersects with several significant historical events, including WWI and the influenza epidemic. Scwartz gives her readers a strong sense of connection to the seasons, the land, the lake. I really did feel like I was part of the world about which she wrote.

Overall, I enjoyed reading this novel. The development of the plot engaged me, and the scenery captivated me. I was a bit disappointed by the ending, but my reading was by and large time well spent.
reviewed Drowning Ruth on + 31 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This was an excellant book. The ending was not what you would think.GREAT BOOK!!!
reviewed Drowning Ruth on
Helpful Score: 1
I did like this book and although I had some suspicion as to what happened it was not until the end until the entire story was told. Good book.
reviewed Drowning Ruth on + 5 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This book was one that I had trouble putting down. Not only is it a best seller but it was also an Oprah's book club. There were a lot of suspensful moments and like another reviewer said, she was pretty sure she knew the ending but you really have to read the ending to "get it"
reviewed Drowning Ruth on + 8 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Wow, what a story. You don't know where it's going and you can't imagine what's going to happen next. With an ending that will leave you breathless, it's a surefire winner.
reviewed Drowning Ruth on + 636 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This was a very good book! I really enjoyed how all the pieces fit together - though I do hope that in the end Ruth marries Arthur!! Still, the structure of the book was quite unique, and though original, it fit the story well. The setting was great, too - I would certainly read another book by this author!
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Helpful Score: 1
One of my all time favorite books!
reviewed Drowning Ruth on + 27 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
A page-turning mystery, told from the perspective of two characters.
reviewed Drowning Ruth on + 19 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Unbelievably well-written, gripping book--loved it from the first page to the last.
reviewed Drowning Ruth on + 42 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I thoroughly enjoyed this book!
reviewed Drowning Ruth on + 13 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
The story was well told and it was a pleasurable read. However, I kept expecting something a little more suspenseful to happen. A few things did happen that, had the author chosen to, could have been more exciting. Excitement was just not what this author was going for apparently.
reviewed Drowning Ruth on + 86 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Though slow in parts....The story was good and it kept me guessing.
reviewed Drowning Ruth on + 50 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Kind of strange but good
reviewed Drowning Ruth on
Helpful Score: 1
Engrossing; hard to put down.
reviewed Drowning Ruth on
Helpful Score: 1
Were you think the plot is heading, beware it changes. Some good suspense.
reviewed Drowning Ruth on + 167 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Well-written psychological thriller with a unique variety of perspectives. A definite beach vacation or cruise take-along.
reviewed Drowning Ruth on + 34 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This book was very captivating. I really enjoyed reading it!
reviewed Drowning Ruth on + 140 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This was a very interesting and strange mystery.
reviewed Drowning Ruth on + 47 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I heard there making a movie out of this and while I don't think it will translate well I did feel like it was a good story. Surprise ending that wasn't that much of a surprise. Good but not great story. The flat secondary characters made the macabre tendencies of the protagonist seem almost comical at times. A little too dramatic.
reviewed Drowning Ruth on + 24 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This was a very interesting book. Really keeps your attention. Well worth your time.
reviewed Drowning Ruth on + 19 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Excellent read!
reviewed Drowning Ruth on + 34 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I loved this book. Really wish there was a sequel.
reviewed Drowning Ruth on + 6 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Good book-Very Sad, but at the end it is all worth of it!!!
reviewed Drowning Ruth on + 212 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
A mystery with a lot of layers, deeply drawn characters.
reviewed Drowning Ruth on + 29 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Excellent.
reviewed Drowning Ruth on + 98 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I thought the story line was good, but I found some of the moving back and forth between people and time periods kind of confusing at times.
reviewed Drowning Ruth on
Helpful Score: 1
A pretty good read. I found it somewhat predictable in places,but well written.
reviewed Drowning Ruth on + 4 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
this book sat on my shelf for a year once I finally picked it up I did not put it down I loved this book..
reviewed Drowning Ruth on + 92 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Wasn't too crazy about this one. While a fan of alternating narratives through past and present, such in this book were very disconjoined with an unsmooth transition. The plot was intriguing, yet predictable. No huge mystery solved in the ending for me either. Very flat in my opinion.
reviewed Drowning Ruth on + 6 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I read it from cover to cover, pausing only to eat and sleep.
reviewed Drowning Ruth on + 48 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
One of the best books I have ever read! Can't put it down!
reviewed Drowning Ruth on + 3 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I really liked this book...you saw many sides and facets to the characters...yet in was unsettling in some ways as well....showed many sides and types of love.
reviewed Drowning Ruth on + 112 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Great read!
reviewed Drowning Ruth on + 23 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
a gripping psychological yet touching thriller.all i can say is EXCELLENT!!
reviewed Drowning Ruth on + 2 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Very good book, need to read to understand.
reviewed Drowning Ruth on + 13 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
A wonderful story that twists & turns ... very enjoyable.
reviewed Drowning Ruth on + 68 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Very moving story, well put together. Surprise ending.
reviewed Drowning Ruth on + 79 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This is possibly THE best book I have ever read! The whole story was great and not one time was I able to put it down!
reviewed Drowning Ruth on + 64 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Tear jerking and heartrending.
reviewed Drowning Ruth on + 54 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Suspenseful! Great, great read!!
reviewed Drowning Ruth on + 7 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Sad story but very good book. I couldn't put it down.
reviewed Drowning Ruth on + 3 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I really liked the way the author told this story, revealing just a little bit at a time, until it all comes together at the end.
reviewed Drowning Ruth on + 1525 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This one is a psychological thriller. The plot twists back and forth in time between past and current events, as the narrative wanders from person to person involved in the actions. Did she or didn't she? Did he or didn't he? Is he going to . . . or not?
And you don't get your answers until the very last moment.
reviewed Drowning Ruth on + 133 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I wasn't expecting to like this book, as Oprah and I have dissimilar tastes. but I did. Very much.
reviewed Drowning Ruth on + 11 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
EXCELLENT!
reviewed Drowning Ruth on + 32 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Good read. Goes back and forth and from different characters views. It was done well though.
reviewed Drowning Ruth on + 80 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
An Oprah Book Club choice. A young mother drowns beneath the ice of a rural lake. Her death profoundly impacts her sister, young daughter, and husband. Told in all their voices, the story gradually reveals dark family secrets that lead up to what actually happened the night of the drowning. Excellent read.
reviewed Drowning Ruth on + 19 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I can't say it's not a good book... I just found it sort of disturbing. Maybe not my cup of tea.
reviewed Drowning Ruth on + 45 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This is one of Oprah's recommendations. Very good story.
reviewed Drowning Ruth on + 55 more book reviews
I don't usually enjoy Oprah book club books but this one I just couldn't put down. Kind of a dark story but with an interesting twist. Great read.
reviewed Drowning Ruth on + 45 more book reviews
Very engaging,great plot and characters you'll love to hate. You don't feel like you're reading a book set almost 100 years ago.
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This is an amazingly powerful story...it stays with you a long time.
reviewed Drowning Ruth on + 8 more book reviews
Very good read - easy.
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a chilling read
reviewed Drowning Ruth on + 31 more book reviews
A different book - different story - lots of secrets - it was hard to get into but then it was hard to put down.
reviewed Drowning Ruth on + 94 more book reviews
It grabbed my interest and kept it. Interesting, loving characters who harbor too many secrets to ever be entirely happy. The story is compelling and well-plotted. While the outcome was fairly predictable, it was still a good read.
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Much better than I expected, really.
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Pretty good story with a real plot. Above average, still somewhat predictable, with a smidge too many coincidences...like a soap opera.
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This was a good first book for the author, she developed the characters well and kept you wondering what had happened in the in the past for the main character.
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Great read!
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very powerful story about family secrets and how they can twist relationships
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I read this book before Oprah chose it as one of her selections and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I will be looking for my by this author in the future!
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I normally do not like mystery books, but I could not wait to get to the end of this one. It keeps you guessing till the end and leaves you with a great story by the end.
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I Loved this book!! Horrifying family secrets and vivid characters make this book one that is a must read!
reviewed Drowning Ruth on + 30 more book reviews
This characters in this book are very provoking. The author has a good story. As you read this book several emotions and questions arise that keep you spellbound to finish the story. Interesting first book for this author.
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Interesting book, good read for a rainy day.
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great book.
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A great smooth read, fast.
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This is an interesing story and I enjoyed the read.
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A gripping psychological thriller. In the winter of 1919, a young mother named Mathilda Neumann drowns beneath the ice of a rural Wisconsin lake. The shock of her death dramatically changes the lives of her daughter, troubled sister and husband. Told in the voices of several of the main characters and skipping back and forth in time, the narrative gradually and tantalizingly reveals the dark family secrets and the unsettling discoveries that lead to the truth of what actually happened the night of the drowning.
taken from the back cover of the book
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POWERFUL . . . SUSPENSEFUL . . . RICHLY TEXTURED . . . [A] CHILLING, PRECOCIOUSLY GOOD START TO A BRIGHT NEW NOVELIST'S CAREER.;
;The New York Times

gripping psychological thriller . . . In the winter of 1919, a young mother named Mathilda Neumann drowns beneath the ice of a rural Wisconsin lake. The shock of her death dramatically changes the lives of her daughter, troubled sister, and husband. . . . Told in the voices of several of the main characters and skipping back and forth in time, the narrative gradually and tantalizingly reveals the dark family secrets and the unsettling discoveries that lead to the truth of what actually happened the night of the drowning. . . . Schwarz certainly succeeds at keeping the reader engrossed.;
;FRANCINE PROSE
Us Weekly

;DEFT AND ASSURED . . . [WITH] STRONG CHARACTERS AND A PLOT LONG ON TENSION AND SURPRISES.
;Time

;A strong sense of portent and unusually vivid characters istinguish this mesmerizing first novel about horrifying family secrets and nearly annihilating guilt. Drowning Ruth is a complex and rewarding debut.;
1;ANITA SHREVE
Author of The Pilot's Wife
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A VERY GOOD,VERY UNIQUE BOOK
reviewed Drowning Ruth on
LOVED this book. It was an easy reader but couldn't put it down.
reviewed Drowning Ruth on + 3 more book reviews
Really good! I had trouble putting it down!
reviewed Drowning Ruth on
This will keep you up all night! Definetly a thriller set in rural Wisconsin.
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A slow read, never really grabbed me by the horns.
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Different - a page-turner.
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An Oprah book selection.
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I did not ever finish the book.
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From the first page you know that one of the characters is dead and thus already know
that there is a sadness or family tragedy that had occurred. But the way the story is written it instantly pulls you in making you want to know how things came to be. Amanda, Ruth, Carl, and Imogene are all very strong characters. There are those I am sure that may take an almost instant dislike to Amanda but I liked her in her very flawed way. It isn't until you reach the end of the book that you realize that the story is about the strong bonds and connection of family. I have to admit that I cried when I finished the book.
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Awesome! It is a fast read and very riveting, wish more books were this exciting to read!
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This book is hard work, especially if you can't sit down and read it cover to cover. There are many places where the author appears to be developing a side plot, which never really develops, and she leaves you wondering about some of the characters. But what is really disconcerting is the constant flashing between time periods, sometimes in just a few pages. It left me feeling rather schizophrenic.
The story itself is interesting, but getting it takes more effort than I really wanted to give.
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Very strange book.
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This deceptively simplistic book is the story of secrets kept and the far-reaching effect they have on the person who perpetuates them. The characterizations were well done. At the end of this novel, the reader has a good comprehension of their motives, their insecurities and their hearts.
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Thought this book was great; read it very quickly because I was so excited by it.
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This is one of the most boring books I have ever stuck with. I am no sure why I did, but I did and now I can't get that time back, another Oprah must miss!
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good read
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Very compelling. A lot of twist and turns that kept me changing my mind about what really happened. Goes to show how one lie can spin things out of control.
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The ties that bind, the ties that break. Secrets kept and of their consequences.
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A great read!!!!!!!!!
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Its interesting.
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Great book! The author keeps your attention from beginning to end.
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i had to read this book for my book club or otherwise I may not have finished it. It took me about 50 pages in to decide that I did kind of like it and so I continued with it and liked it more and more as I read. It led to a lively discussion.
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Engrossing and suspenseful, just the way I like 'em. Great read.
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Good story
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A little confusing at times but good.
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A dark story but, interesting all the same. I did enjoy it.
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Fantastic Read
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Oprah's Book Club book!
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Anything endorsed by the Oprah's Book Club seal is a winner in my estimation. This one is no exception
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one of the many books in Oprah's book club , my book is in good shape .It's been in a smokefree home . Deep book
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Certainly different, not my usual read.
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Oprah's Book Club