Book Review- The Death of Ruth by Elizabeth Kata
As I mentioned in my monthly favourites post, I had a lot of time in January. I ended up getting back into reading. I feel so much more like myself, and I have been flying through novels. I finished this one in two days, started and finished another, and I’m on another that I’ll probably finish within the next couple days! Get ready for more posts! I received this as a free e-book through NetGalley, and all opinions are my own.
The Death of Ruth by Elizabeth Kata takes on an interesting psychological view of a woman tortured by her own wrongdoings. Molly Blake’s life is set up as perfect compared to that of her neighbour Ruth Malston. When Molly confronts Ruth for her abusive actions towards her children, the confrontation will change the course of Molly’s life. Molly finds an unlikely partnership with Ruth’s husband who helps hide her secret. We see her completely deteriorate and find comfort in talking to spirits that haunt her mind. Meanwhile, the world around is moving onwards and upwards, while Molly is stuck with her guilt. The novel also exposes the consequential tension that uncovers while a husband and wife find themselves changing and sinking into a life of complete monotony. Molly spends her life carefully calculating what will free her shattered mind. The unfolding narration shows to prove that her entire identity buried with her secret in the camellias.
The novel starts off with an eerie narration right from the start. The action is instant, and the novel continues to be fast-paced. The writing is skillfully reflected as disjointed thoughts, and I found myself wondering from the start whether Molly was the crazy one to begin with. The barely formed sentences show completely irrational thoughts and incite a sense of panic. The novel is set up as Molly’s perspective alongside her husband, John’s perspective. John’s perspective presents an outside view as to what is going on and acts as an address to the readers rather than digging inside his mind as Molly’s perspective does. John's outside perspective is a great way to show readers how Molly’s actions are perceived. He gives us a peek into their past and gives readers an idea of exactly how their relationship has changed over the years. Overall, the narration works well for the type of novel.
The duo-perspective is not my favourite. It works well for certain novels as I have found in other books, but I think this novel would have been more interesting if it focused more on Molly’s perspective. There were times when the narration switched in the middle of the chapter which was really irritating. I found the detective too cliché, and the time moves too quickly for my liking. There was also an affair in the plot, and I’m not sure if that was to add extra scandal, but I’m never a fan of a love story in the middle of action. I expected this story to be more mysterious. There were certainly some exciting moments, but I was disappointed. The last bit is a piece of a novel that the detective is writing, and I am not sure what the purpose of that was. It does provide a good inner and outer view, but I did not think it was necessary to the story. I found a lack of a “chilling twist” is stated in the description of the book. It starts and ends on an eerie note, but by the end, it was too late for me. This novel was an easy read, and I would suggest it for someone who likes secrecy and instant actions. I rate this book 2/5.