Before the Ruins
‘Engrossing, beguiling, and with an undertow of menace, Before the Ruins is a masterly debut from a richly talented author.’ Sarah Waters
Andy believes that she has left her past far behind her. But when she gets a call from Peter’s mother to say he’s gone missing, she finds herself pulled into a search for answers.
Bored and restless after their final school exams, Andy, Peter, Em and Marcus broke into a ruined manor house nearby and quickly became friends with the boy living there. Blond, charming and on the run, David’s presence was as dangerous as it was exciting. The story of a diamond necklace, stolen from the house fifty years earlier and perhaps still lost somewhere in the grounds inspired the group to buy a replica and play at hiding it, hoping to turn up the real thing along the way. But the game grew to encompass decades of resentment, lies and a terrible betrayal.
Now, Andy’s search for Peter will unearth unimaginable secrets – and take her back to the people who still keep them.
Engrossing, beguiling, and with an undertow of menace, Before the Ruins is a masterly debut from a richly talented author. -- Sarah Waters Victoria Gosling has crafted a perfectly balanced literary page-turner filled with evocative detail about rural youth paired with a genuinely thrilling mystery. -- Ben Fergusson Four disaffected teenagers, a deserted manor, an unlimited supply of drugs, and a cache of potentially explosive secrets. What could go right? Before the Ruins, Victoria Gosling's stunner of a debut novel, is rich with mystery and moral disorder. It put me in mind of Edward St. Aubyn and Donna Tart; dark, fierce, and totally addictive. -- Valerie Martin Reading this reminded me of being young and tucked into an Agatha Christie. It granted the same delicious pleasure as I watched the puzzle put back together. -- Rowan Hisayo Buchanan I don't know the last time I enjoyed a book this much. Unbelievably tense and incredibly smart, Victoria's Gosling's story about four friends playing a truly terrifying game of cat-and-mouse in a deserted manor house is the perfect menage a trois of superb plotting, haunting characters, and gorgeous, atmospheric prose. Tana French fans will devour this. -- Aimee Molloy A stellar debut... The gorgeous, poetic prose perfectly complements the suspenseful plot. * Publishers Weekly starred review * Lush and razor-sharp, Before the Ruins is both deliciously gothic and completely contemporary. Every single page is absorbing and surprising. -- Flynn Berry, author of Under the Harrow Gosling is a stylish, sophisticated writer, and we realize that we are following Andy on what amounts to a grand scavenger hunt for the truth. Rain falls relentlessly, and the ensuing floods form an ominous backdrop to a story that becomes darker as it goes along. * The New York Times * Atmospheric... Gosling uses her richly ruinous setting as a jumping off point to examine class, innocence, morality, and loss * LitHub's Most Anticipated Books of 2021 * A whip-smart debut * Shelf Awareness * Wonderfully sophisticated and beautifully conceived... a captivating and thought-provoking novel * New York Journal of Books * Richly atmospheric and exquisitely written, Before the Ruins is wistful and haunting, hopeful and beautiful. * BookPage *
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