So I have done hardly anything today except read. You could say that Ruth has been drowning in “Drowning Ruth”. I’ve already seen a comment from someone who said that the they were annoyed by the book but that it redeemed itself by the twist at the end. Someone else, Ann, I think said that it split her reading group. I seem to remember that a lot of people raved about this book a month or two or a year ago. So where will I place myself or will I just sit on the fence? I can’t explain what it was that kept me reading so avidly. Maybe I just needed a reading day. Maybe I’m just back in a reading phase of my life, after all I did find it difficult to put “The Brief History of the Dead” down or have the really good books just worked their way to the top of the TBR pile? I have a penchant for books that are set in a Noman’s time. You know what I mean. It’s Little House on the Prairie time, Little Women time. Heidi time. We know the characters wear petticoats and don’t drive around in cars and a woman’s place is usually in the home apart from our heroine who is a bit tomboyish or feisty and knows deep in her heart that women are equal to men. So although the book clearly starts just after the end of the Second World War because Amanda tells us that “if I had not gone home that March in 1919, Mathilda my only sister , would not be dead” it is also in my favourite Noman’s time. The way that the protagonists deal with what arises is of course all due to social expectations and mores of the time but it isn’t really what people do but rather the feelings and relationships that feed into the situations that arise.
Initially the “cast list” is small, almost claustrophobic and for the majority of the novel it feels that it will stay that way but as we learn more the doors open up, it feels as though a breeze from the lake will blow some of the stuffiness away but disconcertingly this breath of new air just complicates the truth that we have come to believe or suspect.
Once again it is demonstrated that secrets hardly ever remain so. Once again we learn that a small adjustment of the truth leads to compound untruths and that every action we take is likely to have repercussions that can be good or bad.
This is just the sort of book that I would be pleased to find if I was on holiday in a remote cottage somewhere and the weather turned nasty. Pile the logs on the fire, heat the milk for the cocoa and be pleased that Aunty Mandy isn’t sending you out to move the sheep.