Ruin Falls: A Novel

Ruin Falls: A Novel

by Jenny Milchman
3.9 14

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Ruin Falls: A Novel 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
RonnaL More than 1 year ago
Imagine how devastated you'd be if your family vacation turned into a time where instead of you and your children enjoying fun times together, you found yourself without your children or your husband. Why would your husband run off with your kids? And who are the people who are now threatening your life?  Liz Daniels has been living a happy life in the Adirondack Mountains with her Professor husband and their two young children. Husband Paul teaches in an agriculture college, about ways of living simpler and healthier. Liz and her six year old daughter love their gardening. Liz's son likes his slight of hand tricks maybe a bit too much, but he's a treasure too. After many years of not seeing either of their families much at all, they decide to visit Paul's parents. Once they reach the first night at the hotel, everything falls apart. This is their story---with tragedy, intrigue, and family histories kept secret for years. Milchman develops mystery by telling this story from multiple characters. Background information comes in by bits and pieces. What you think will happen changes constantly as the story develops. I got caught up in the horror of the situation and found myself talking to the characters. Great mystery with moments of real despair. Milchman has followed through with a second winning mystery in RUIN FALLS.
The_Book_Wheel_Blog More than 1 year ago
Imagine you woke up in a hotel room and your children were missing. Now imagine that the person who took your kids was someone you trusted. Now, imagine that you know why they took them and you still have idea how to get them back. What would you do? Would you go to the police? Would you seek vigilante justice? If you’re Liz Daniels, the answer might surprise you – what she does to get her kids back is nothing short of what any Mom would do. Ruin Falls, the sophomore novel by the amazing Jenny Milchman, is a roller coaster of a book that follows Liz as she searches for her children in the overbearing Adirondack mountains. The normally-complacent woman who never raises a a fuss is, for the first time, forced into a situation that will draw her fighting spirit out. As she searches for and interprets clues about why and where her children were taken, Ruin Falls is as much a story about a woman coming into her own as it is a mystery. In typical Milchman fashion, the story is written in a way that evokes strong feelings in its reader. Hearts will race when the children go missing, stomachs will churn when Liz realizes who took them, and palms will sweat when she accepts what she needs to do to get them back. What’s more, the turn of events are unexpected and shocking in the “this could really happen” way. As in, this could really happen to you. So if you’re looking for a book that is also an experience or enjoy mysteries, then check out Ruin Falls. While you’re at it, check out her stunning debut Cover of Snow.  Allison @ The Book Wheel
Jillyjello More than 1 year ago
Exciting, intriguing, and a page turner. I stayed up to the wee hours reading this.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was pretty interesting. I found myself practically unable to put the book down for the most part because the suspense and mystery of the story was so captivating. My problem with it was the other points of view thrown into the story too, mainly because it was so confusing and it didn't seem to be adding up at all. Only towards the end does it start to make sense, and then at that point I was okay with how confusing it was due to that "A-HA!" feeling I got when all the pieces fell together. So I have a sort of love-hate relationship with that whole aspect of it. And the climax itself didn't seem very... climactic. You read through the whole book thinking something huge is coming so you're on the edge of your seat waiting to find out what it is, then when it arrives it's just a sort of "... Oh. Okay then" moment. I love Jenny Milchman and I love her writing. Honestly I feel like if anyone else had written this story with the same plot and characters, etc. I really wouldn't enjoy it that much. Milchman has her own style of writing that makes her work so amazing and so fun to read. I've read one of her other books, "Cover Of Snow", which I absolutely loved (you should read it!) In the end, despite the confusion through some of the story, I did enjoy reading it and might end up reading it again in the future. It seems like the sort of book that you can go back to read a second time and get a whole different experience from it because you know where it's headed, so you'll notice tiny details that didn't seem significant the first time. I gave this 3 stars but I'd rather give it a 3.5 star rating, which unfortunately isn't possible. I definitely want to read the rest of Jenny Milchman's books! Which I plan on doing really soon actually, and you should do it too.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Made no sense the plot was weak.
gloriafeit More than 1 year ago
Liz Daniels, her husband, Paul, and their children, Ally, six, and Reid, eight, are taking an rare and unexpected vacation, to visit the remote home in the Adirondack Mountains in western New York State where Paul’s parents have always lived. “Rare” and “unexpected” because Paul has been virtually estranged from his parents, visits to them being very few and far between. En route to the farm, they decide to stop at a hotel for the night. Shockingly, the following morning, the children are nowhere to be found. But as the day progresses, the full reality of what had apparently transpired is more ghastly than any of the scenarios Liz had imagined, as nearly impossible as that seemed. Things only escalate from there, as the suspense, mystery, and sense of menace grow exponentially. Liz’ terror and grief are palpably drawn by the author, as are the descriptions of the countryside and farmland she traverses in her ensuing search. Paul is a college professor in a rural agricultural school, and the theme of environmental politics, and environmental sustainability, is central to the plot. Though they knew each other for nearly two decades, there appear to be a myriad of things Liz had never known about him. Somewhat confusingly at first, after the initial chapters describing these events, the reader is introduced to different families, each with their own complexities. A pattern emerges, that of women completely controlled by the men in their lives. The author of course ultimately ties everything together as the tale unfolds. While this novel is a worthy successor to the author’s first novel, “Cover of Snow,” I found in the end that I didn’t love it quite as much. Which is not to say that it is not worthwhile reading: It certainly is that.
JBronder More than 1 year ago
Liz and Paul are taking their two children to visit Paul’s parents. Although their relationship is a bit tense and Liz has some anxiety about visiting them, they still go. On the way they decide to spend the night in a hotel. When Liz wakes up the next morning her children are gone. As Liz goes through the steps to find her children, things start looking like Paul took them. The idea of the story was one of the worst things that could happen to a parent. I liked how Liz went from someone that had to have someone tell her to do everything to a strong woman will to fight for her children. I’m sorry to say that I had a hard time getting into this book. There were so many different points of view that I had a hard time really getting too invested into one character or another. From there some things didn’t have enough explanation; they didn’t really flow with the story. Over all this was an ok book. The last 1/3 of the book was where things started coming together. The problem was there were just too many layers to the story. It’s going to be one of those books that you either liked it or didn’t. I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.
JerseyGirlBookReviews More than 1 year ago
Suspense and mystery abound when a young mother discovers that her children have been kidnapped ... what would you do? In Ruin Falls, author Jenny Milchman weaves a fast-paced and chilling psychological thriller that will make your heart race, you won't be able to put it down! While on a family vacation in the Adirondack Mountains of western New York State, Liz Daniels wakes up in their hotel room and discovers that her children, eight year old Reid and six year old Ally are missing. Panic stricken and frantic, Liz realizes that the person who she thinks has taken her children has betrayed her trust ... and like any mother, she will stop at nothing to find and get them back. Ruin Falls is an intriguing story that takes the reader on an emotional roller coaster ride as they follow Liz Daniels' desperate search for her missing children. With every suspenseful heart pounding and palm sweating turn of the page, the unexpected and shocking twists and turns will keep the reader captivated as this psychological thriller unfolds. It is a realistic story that will have the reader pondering "what would I do if this happened to me." Ruin Falls is a riveting psychological thriller that is filled with enough intense drama and tension that will keep the reader sitting on the edge of their seat from beginning to surprising conclusion! This is a must read for fans of mystery, suspense, and psychological thriller genres! Kudos to author Jenny Milchman on an amazing sophomore novel! I look forward to reading more of her novels in the future.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Deal_Sharing_Aunt More than 1 year ago
This is a great thriller. I had no idea who took her kids or where they were. Her husband had secrets and as she learned what they were, she started to put the puzzle together. However the last piece came expectantly from her mother in law. There are definitely more families involved then Liz's. I did not like her father in law, but there is always a character to dislike. The past does not stay where it belongs. I am giving this book a 4/5. I was given a copy to review, however all opinions are my own.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
lsmeadows More than 1 year ago
I thought this one was even better than Cover of Snow.   I enjoyed Jenny Milchman's first novel, Cover of Snow, so much that it was hard to imagine how she could do any better on her second outing.  With Ruin Falls, I certainly got the answer, and it was "very well, thank you".  In fact, I thought Ruin Falls was even better than Cover of Snow.  I have to say, I really love it when I find a new author and their books get better and better, so I hope this is a trend that will continue.  Ruin Falls is the story of Liz Daniels, who leaves her secluded home in the Adirondack Mountains to go on a family vacation for the first time in years.  When her husband, Paul, changes their plans and decides to stop at a hotel for the night, everything seems fine.  It is when Liz wakes in the morning to find her children are missing that we get a glimpse of the way Liz's life is headed.   Then when she finds out that the person who took them is someone that she thought she could trust, we really understand how badly her life is going to fall apart.  Undeterred, Liz hits the road on a journey that will hopefully allow her to find her children and bring them home safely. As a story, Ruin Falls is all about layers.  Layers that at times make the story seem ambiguous, but in a good way.  Early in the first few chapters their are two events that clue the reader in on the fact that all is not what it seems for the Daniels family.  The first is the sheer panic that comes over Liz when the family stops for snacks at a fast food restaurant and six-year-old Reid wanders away.  As Liz and Paul search the place for him, I got the feeling that her panic was more than the norm for a mother with a missing child. Then as they get back on the road, they are accosted by a crazy pick up truck driver who seems to be having a road rage event.  I loved the sense of innuendo in these and other scenes that appeared throughout the book.  It really set the tone for me and got me thinking about just where the story was going and what was really going on, a feeling that stayed with me until the end.  In this same vein, I really enjoyed the interspersed chapters that introduced other characters that appeared to have no connection to the Daniels family.  Rather than confuse or distract me, I found myself wondering what the connection was (I was sure there was one), which in turn kept me anxiously turning the pages.  As the story progressed, and the layers were peeled away, I enjoyed watching it all come together.   As a mom of two boys, I found myself really identifying with Liz.  Although I hope it never will, if something like this ever happened to me, I would hope that I would be just as focused and driven to find answers as she is.  Liz is by far the character that the book focuses on the most, and therefore she is the one that I felt I learned the most about.  Most of the other characters were definitely secondary, and while I would like to ave learned a bit more of some of their stories, I don't think more detail on them would have improved the story at all.  In fact, with all the layers of the story, keeping the character development rather simple really worked for me as it allowed me to stay focused on why the children were taken and how Liz was going to get them back.  I give this book 5 out of 5 stars, mostly because it was a delight to read and kept me engaged from beginning to end.  I will be the first one to complain when authors muddy a story with too many devices, but for me, the layers of this story and the outlying characters only enhanced my enjoyment.  I highly recommend this book to everyone who likes a story that keeps you guessing where it is ultimately going to end up.  Thanks to Ballantine books for making this title available through Netgalley in exchange for my review. 
BuriedUnderBooks More than 1 year ago
Actual rating 4.5 Anyone who has ever had a child or has even spent a few moments with one fears that the child will disappear. So many terrible things can happen to them and we can’t help imagining the worst; the truth is, monsters do exist. When Liz wakes up to find her children missing, it takes only a few scant minutes to go from a peaceful morning to outright panic. In the following hours, nothing happens to alleviate her terror and her husband, Paul, has to help keep Liz together while controlling his own despair. Control, after all, is what Paul knows best. How much more frightening is it, then, to find out that her children are not really missing, not in the eyes of the law. Liz still doesn’t know where they are and all those people trained to help in such a terrible situation have now packed up and gone home. From this point on, Liz is virtually on her own and coming out from Paul’s shadow is the first thing she’ll have to do. Liz is a protagonist who, for me, became more and more like a woman I’d like to know in real life as time went on. It’s easy to discount someone who allows another person to essentially rule her life but it’s so invigorating to watch that same person learn to stand on her own two feet when she really needs to. In an interesting twist, it becomes obvious that unnatural control is at the heart of everything that’s happening and a variety of characters respond to that control in different ways and in different periods of their lives, eventually dragging others into their spider-like webs. Liz grows into a completely different kind of person, the person she was probably meant to be all along, in a brief span of time that feels like an eternity to her and to the reader who wants her to find a happy ending. Is there a happy ending here? In some ways, no, and there’s no doubt that Liz’s trust in others, including her best friend, has been permanently damaged. The reader’s journey is nearly as tense and frightening as this young mother’s and there were moments when I was chewing my nails, waiting to see what would happen next and whether certain people would survive. There’s a scene in Liz’s own home that’s about as creepy as it gets and I truly hope I never have such an experience. Is this a perfect piece of crime fiction? No, not quite. The whole theme of “back to the land” is a bit overdone (and, honestly, made me think some of those people are kind of nuts). Occasionally, Liz is just a bit too oblivious or too ready to jump to conclusions and a brief bit of romance is not very believable or, for that matter, of any importance to the story. I also felt the actual denouement is a bit out of left field but all of that is easily outweighed by a crime that strikes right at the heart and by a protagonist who becomes more than she ever thought she could be. Ruin Falls is a novel of suspense that will stay in my mind for a long time to come and is a worthy follow-up to Ms. Milchman‘s excellent award-winning Cover of Snow. Note: Ms. Milchman was very kind to include me in her acknowledgements and I’m honored to count Jenny as a friend as well as a favorite author. I can assure you, dear reader, that her thoughtful inclusion of me among those who are delighted to support her had no effect on this review. I had already formed my opinion of Ruin Falls before I even knew I’d been named and I can truthfully tell you this is a book you’ll want to read ;-)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A wide open area of land only disturbed by an occasional walker. It has useful herbs and smaller game.