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Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
Before the Ruins

Before the Ruins

A Novel

Victoria Gosling

Henry Holt and Co.

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Victoria Gosling's Before the Ruins is a gripping, multilayered debut in the tradition of Paula Hawkins and Tana French about four friends, an abandoned manor, and one fateful night that will follow them for the rest of their lives

That summer, there were four of them, all on the cusp of adulthood: Andy, her boyfriend Marcus, her best friend Peter, and Em, whiling away the hours in a deserted manor house with a rich, sordid history. Sorely without the ambition and opportunities that her friends have always counted on, Andy finds herself terrified of a future that will take them all down very different paths. Her newfound fears make her reckless, resulting in increasingly destructive behavior. Then David shows up. Magnetic, worldly, and on the run from the police, David presents an irresistible lure for both Andy and Peter, pitting the two lifelong friends against each other for the first time. When the group learns that a diamond necklace, stolen fifty years ago, might still be somewhere on the manor grounds, the Game—half treasure hunt, half friendly deception—begins. But the Game becomes much bigger than the necklace, growing to encompass years of secrets, lies, and, ultimately, one terrible betrayal.

Decades later, Andy and Peter struggle to maintain their friendship, meeting only to drink to the past and trying not to talk about what happened at the manor. But when Peter goes missing, Andy is thrust back to that summer—with all of its frantic energy, yearning, and loss—and … More…



Victoria Gosling's Before the Ruins is a gripping, multilayered debut in the tradition of Paula Hawkins and Tana French about four friends, an abandoned manor, and one fateful night that will follow them for the rest of their lives

That summer, there were four of them, all on the cusp of adulthood: Andy, her boyfriend Marcus, her best friend Peter, and Em, whiling away the hours in a deserted manor house with a rich, sordid history. Sorely without the ambition and opportunities that her friends have always counted on, Andy finds herself terrified of a future that will take them all down very different paths. Her newfound fears make her reckless, resulting in increasingly destructive behavior. Then David shows up. Magnetic, worldly, and on the run from the police, David presents an irresistible lure for both Andy and Peter, pitting the two lifelong friends against each other for the first time. When the group learns that a diamond necklace, stolen fifty years ago, might still be somewhere on the manor grounds, the Game—half treasure hunt, half friendly deception—begins. But the Game becomes much bigger than the necklace, growing to encompass years of secrets, lies, and, ultimately, one terrible betrayal.

Decades later, Andy and Peter struggle to maintain their friendship, meeting only to drink to the past and trying not to talk about what happened at the manor. But when Peter goes missing, Andy is thrust back to that summer—with all of its frantic energy, yearning, and loss—and the mysteries that still haven't been solved.

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Praise for Before the Ruins

"[A] stellar debut. . . .The gorgeous, poetic prose perfectly complements the suspenseful plot. Gosling is off to a terrific start."
Publishers Weekly, starred review

"The elements of mystery serve to provide narrative tension, but the real point here is Gosling’s examination of the disappointment of modern living, the emptiness of adulthood, and the notion of the fake diamond necklace so many of us spend our lives searching for... Come for the missing person mystery, stay for the existential ennui."
Kirkus

"Engrossing, beguiling, and with an undertow of menace, Before the Ruins is a masterly debut from a richly talented author."
–Sarah Waters, author of The Paying Guests

"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

"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, author of The Perfect Mother

"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… More…

"[A] stellar debut. . . .The gorgeous, poetic prose perfectly complements the suspenseful plot. Gosling is off to a terrific start."
Publishers Weekly, starred review

"The elements of mystery serve to provide narrative tension, but the real point here is Gosling’s examination of the disappointment of modern living, the emptiness of adulthood, and the notion of the fake diamond necklace so many of us spend our lives searching for... Come for the missing person mystery, stay for the existential ennui."
Kirkus

"Engrossing, beguiling, and with an undertow of menace, Before the Ruins is a masterly debut from a richly talented author."
–Sarah Waters, author of The Paying Guests

"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

"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, author of The Perfect Mother

"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, author of Property and Trespass

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Reviews from Goodreads

Victoria Gosling

Victoria Gosling grew up in Wiltshire, England and studied English Literature at Manchester University. She is the founder of The Reader Berlin, hosting salon nights in Berlin and writers’ retreats in Greece and Italy. She also organizes The Berlin Writing Prize. Gosling is the author of Before the Ruins.

image of Victoria Goslingo
Fiona Laughton