The ruins

Phoebe Wynne

Book - 2022

"Phoebe Wynne's The Ruins is a suspenseful, feminist Gothic coming-of-age tale with shades of Patricia Highsmith, Rebecca, and Atonement, pitched against the sun-soaked backdrop of a summer holiday on the French Riviera. Welcome to the Chateau des Sètes, a jewel of the Cote d'Azur, where long summer days bring ease, glamour, and decadence to the holidaymakers who can afford it. Ruby Ashby adores her parents' house in France, but this August, everything feels different. Unexp...ected guests have descended upon the chateau--friends of her parents, and their daughters-and they are keen to enjoy the hot, extravagant summer holiday to its fullest potential. Far from England, safe in their wealth and privilege, the adults revel in bad behavior without consequence, while the girls are treated as playthings or abandoned to their own devices. But despite languid days spent poolside and long nights spent drinking, a simmering tension is growing between the families, and the sanctuary that Ruby cherishes soon starts to feel like a gilded cage. Over two decades later the chateau is for sale, its days of splendor and luxury long gone, leaving behind a terrible history and an ugly legacy. A young widow has returned to France, wanting to purchase the chateau, despite her shocking memories of what transpired that fateful summer. But there is another person who is equally haunted by the chateau, and who also seeks to reclaim it. Who will set the chateau free--and who will become yet another of its victims? With riveting psychological complexity, The Ruins captures the glittering allure of the Mediterranean-and the dark shadows that wait beneath the surface"--

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Subjects
Genres
Gothic fiction
Bildungsromans
Novels
Published
New York : St. Martin's Press 2022.
Edition
First Edition
Language
English
Physical Description
326 pages ; 25 cm
ISBN
9781250272065
1250272068
Main Author
Phoebe Wynne (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

It's summer at the Château des Sètes, and the Ashbys are hosting their annual series of guests. Ruby is a quiet 12-year-old girl who wants to read Agatha Christie and swim in the pool without too much fuss from her two visiting friends. Unfortunately, the adults' petty barbs, ugly insults, and dark, not-so-closeted skeletons are determined to make this summer a disaster. The adults in Wynne's novel are self-absorbed elites swimming in privilege and neglecting their children. Ruby, Annie, and Imogen aren't allowed to be young; they hear and understand much more than the adults notice they do and are subjected to the terrors of sexual abuse at the hands of men. Wynne deals frankly with the young girls' experiences and trauma—the increasing, silent terror that the girls experience through the gaze, hands, and laps of fully grown men, their inability to put it into words, and the failure of all of the adults around them to stop it. While the book has some issues in execution, Wynne succeeds in delivering a painful psychological thriller where the horror emanates from the power of rich men. Copyright 2022 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Ruby Ashby has always loved the Chateau des Sètes, her parents' gorgeous away-from-England home, located on the Cote d'Azur. But this August, strange things are happening—unexpected guests arrive, children are left untended, and Ruby starts feeling trapped. Two decades later, she arrives at the house as a young widow, intent on repurchasing it and reclaiming its glory days despite its subsequent terrible history. But someone else wants it, too. From the author of Madam; with a 75,000-copy first printing. Copyright 2022 Library Journal.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Ruby Ashby has always loved the Chateau des Sètes, her parents' gorgeous away-from-England home, located on the Cote d'Azur. But this August, strange things are happening—unexpected guests arrive, children are left untended, and Ruby starts feeling trapped. Two decades later, she arrives at the house as a young widow, intent on repurchasing it and reclaiming its glory days despite its subsequent terrible history. But someone else wants it, too. From the author of Madam; with a 75,000-copy first printing. Copyright 2022 Library Journal.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Against the backdrop of an aging French chateau, Wynne (Madam) offers the dark and befuddling tale of a group of English girls in the summer of 1985, one of whom revisits the scene 25 years later when the chateau is up for sale. Ruby Ashby, nearly 12, awaits another idyllic summer in her family's vacation manse when three university friends of her father Toby arrive with their daughters, and things go awry. The girls are bombarded with lascivious remarks by the two men—one crosses a line by coercing Ruby to sit on his lap, another gropes her. Tension ratchets up when Toby's former university love arrives with her provocative 17-year-old daughter, Ned, who has a penchant for Latin classics and likens the chateau's male guests to different classical characters. Wynne packs the plot with jealousies, class rivalries, emotional and physical abuse, and accidental deaths—not to mention the endless sparring amongst the former university colleagues. One of the girls from the fateful summer returns in 2010 as a widow considering purchasing the chateau, but her identity is hidden until late in the book, a decision that comes off as frustrating rather than suspenseful. The author then cobbles together a perplexing ending, further derailing the promising premise. This confused coming-of-age story misses the mark. (July) Copyright 2022 Publishers Weekly.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Arriving in France to purchase the Chateau des Sètes despite shocking memories of one buyer, one who is equally haunted by this jewel of the Cote d’Azur. 75,000 first printing.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

"Phoebe Wynne's The Ruins is a suspenseful, feminist Gothic coming-of-age tale with shades of Patricia Highsmith, Rebecca, and Atonement, pitched against the sun-soaked backdrop of a summer holiday on the French Riviera. Welcome to the Chateau des Sáetes, a jewel of the Cote d'Azur, where long summer days bring ease, glamour, and decadence to the holidaymakers who can afford it. Ruby Ashby adores her parents' house in France, but this August, everything feels different. Unexpected guests have descended upon the chateau--friends of her parents, and their daughters-and they are keen to enjoy the hot, extravagant summer holiday to its fullest potential. Far from England, safe in their wealth and privilege, the adults revel in bad behavior without consequence, while the girls are treated as playthings or abandoned to their own devices. But despite languid days spent poolside and long nights spent drinking, a simmering tension is growing between the families, and the sanctuary that Ruby cherishes soon starts to feel like a gilded cage. Over two decades later the chateau is for sale, its days of splendor and luxury long gone, leaving behind a terrible history and an ugly legacy. A young widow has returned to France, wanting to purchase the chateau, despite hershocking memories of what transpired that fateful summer. But there is another person who is equally haunted by the chateau, and who also seeks to reclaim it. Who will set the chateau free--and who will become yet another of its victims? With riveting psychological complexity, The Ruins captures the glittering allure of the Mediterranean-and the dark shadows that wait beneath the surface"--

Review by Publisher Summary 3

A suspenseful, contemporary Gothic coming-of-age tale with shades of Patricia Highsmith and Atonement, pitched against the sun-soaked backdrop of the French Riviera.The most dazzling summer casts the darkest shadows.Welcome to the Chateau des Sètes, a jewel of the Cote d’Azur, where long summer days bring ease, glamour, and decadence to the holidaymakers who can afford it.Ruby Ashby adores her parents’ house in France, but this August, everything feels different. Unexpected guests have descended upon the chateau––friends of her parents, and their daughters—and they are keen to enjoy the hot, extravagant summer holiday to its fullest potential. Far from England, safe in their wealth and privilege, the adults revel in bad behavior without consequence, while the girls are treated as playthings or abandoned to their own devices. But despite languid days spent poolside and long nights spent drinking, a simmering tension is growing between the families, and the sanctuary that Ruby cherishes soon starts to feel like a gilded cage.Over two decades later the chateau is for sale, its days of splendor and luxury long gone, leaving behind a terrible history and an ugly legacy. A young widow has returned to France, wanting to purchase the chateau, despite her shocking memories of what transpired that fateful summer. But there is another person who is equally haunted by the chateau, and who also seeks to reclaim it. Who will set the chateau free––and who will become yet another of its victims?With riveting psychological complexity, Phoebe Wynne's The Ruins captures the tangled legacy of abuse, the glittering allure of the Mediterranean––and the dark shadows that wait beneath the surface of both.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

A suspenseful, contemporary Gothic coming-of-age tale with shades of Patricia Highsmith and Atonement, pitched against the sun-soaked backdrop of the French Riviera.