... wonderfully sophisticated and beautifully conceived ... the exceptionally talented Gosling does what many new authors cant: She skillfully navigates several interconnecting timelines in an already multifaceted and complex story. This can be problematic for even the most successful and seasoned novelists, but Gosling handles this obstacle with a unique and clever touch that is quite refreshing ... although the plotline seems on the surface to lean on cliché and familiar literary images, the narrative overcomes these formulaic weaknesses with a sophisticated tale of devotion and loss, and the power of, and corruption of memory that is compelling and poignant ... Overall, Before the Ruins retains an air of originality that is missing from many current novels, and Gosling most certainly intended to overlap genres that include coming of age, mystery, and contemplative observational examination. She stealthily avoids the trickery of imitation and generalization, producing a captivating and thought-provoking novel that allows the reader to ponder the frailties and weaknesses that are ever-present and inherent in our human nature.
Memory is incomplete; the book jumps back and forth between past and present. It’s hard at times to know which details are important ... all these strands are teased out, sometimes too subtly. By the time we realize we are dealing with a murder mystery, we are a long way into the book ... But 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. Some secrets are better left buried.
... devilish ... Though the main narrative is propelled by the mysteries of Peter and the diamonds, the true soul of Before the Ruins is found in its contemplation of existential themes such as grief, guilt, desire, friendship and loss. There are plenty of bombshells to titillate and thrill over the course of the story, but many of the most rewarding discoveries come not from the grand reveals in the final act but from moments when Andy gains depth and dimension through revelations of her most closely guarded secrets and memories ... Richly atmospheric and exquisitely written, Before the Ruins is wistful and haunting, hopeful and beautiful. Confidently contributing to the tradition of British mysteries, Gosling has delivered a tale that will satisfy fans of Tana French and Paula Hawkins.