Before the Ruins by Victoria Gosling is a wonderfully crafted mystery, set in modern day England, that weaves a whole cast of characters so intricately and a plot that keeps you engaged and anxious to read how she brings it all together at the end, revealing secrets and the truths around them.
Andy, Em, Peter, Marcus and David have found friendship and comradery but are also in the process of learning how many secrets one group of friends can hold. As a young group of friends there are games to play and plenty of time to enjoy each other’s company. Andy conveys the impression that she leads the group, while also seemingly the least favored friend. With Em and Marcus close by her side the group works on solving an old mystery haunting The Manor since 1936, the missing diamonds. As they age so do their problems, and the situations they find themselves in, while life seems to unravel around them. Where is Peter? What has happened to David? Who is telling the truth? Who can any of them believe? It isn’t until years later that loose ends are tied up, truths are told, and authentic relationships are revealed.
I give this story 3.5 out of 5 stars for the compelling storyline and cast of characters. Gosling is a native of the English countryside, which made some of the references confusing to a reader who is not familiar with places and situations specific to life in England. After reading through most of the story many phrases become understandable based on context and in the end, you don’t notice any impact of cultural differences at all.