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.