Review: The Broken Girls by Simone St. James

Wayward girls & ghosts.You can't go wrong here!


The Broken Girls by Simone St. James
Dark Fiction 
Released March 2018
Amazon ♦ Goodreads
Vermont, 1950. There's a place for the girls whom no one wants--the troublemakers, the illegitimate, the too smart for their own good. It's called Idlewild Hall. And in the small town where it's located, there are rumors that the boarding school is haunted. Four roommates bond over their whispered fears, their budding friendship blossoming--until one of them mysteriously disappears. . . . 

Vermont, 2014. As much as she's tried, journalist Fiona Sheridan cannot stop revisiting the events surrounding her older sister's death. Twenty years ago, her body was found lying in the overgrown fields near the ruins of Idlewild Hall. And though her sister's boyfriend was tried and convicted of murder, Fiona can't shake the suspicion that something was never right about the case.

When Fiona discovers that Idlewild Hall is being restored by an anonymous benefactor, she decides to write a story about it. But a shocking discovery during the renovations will link the loss of her sister to secrets that were meant to stay hidden in the past--and a voice that won't be silenced. . . .



My Thoughts:

4 1/2 stars bumped up to 5.

The Broken Girls is a book that straddles two timelines. Usually books like this leave me confused at least a time or two but not this one. They’ll often leave me frustrated too because I typically find one timeline far more interesting than the other but that didn’t happen this time around either. I think what it all breaks down to is the characters. Too many murder mystery thrillers focus on the murders and the police procedural aspects and all the dynamics that go along with that and though this book has some of that stuff it wasn’t the main focus so I never drifted away. The main focus is on the characters and their emotional ties either to each other or to getting to the truth at whatever cost for deeply personal reasons. I read for character, for the most part, so that’s why I dug this story. If you’re that type of reader I think you might like it a lot too.

There is a lot of stuff going on here and none of it is boring. There wasn’t a single moment when I felt the need to drift away or long to pick up something else. There’s a murder or two or maybe more. . . I’m not saying. Some murder takes place in the past, one in the not too distant past and the ramifications are a big source of motivation for the modern day character. My favorite part of this story was the friendship that was so skillfully and carefully developed between a group of misfits and misbehaving girls in the 1950’s who are carted off to Idlewild Hall and are mostly forgotten by their families. Their friendship and the terrible thing that happens (and no I am NOT telling you what it is) had me glued to the book. These girls and their day to day troubles came to life. But besides being a house for wayward girls, Idlewild Hall may also be inhabited by a ghost or two!

I loved all of it and I am so afraid of spoiling anything that I’m not going to say anything else. Instead I will leave you with this bookwormy quote that made me forever a fan of Sonia.

“Sonia envied her, the way she could turn her brain off, think about absolutely nothing. It was a trick Sonia herself had never learned. That was what books did - they turned off your thinking for you, put their thoughts in your head so you wouldn't have your own.”

Yep, I feel you Sonia.

Comments

  1. That sounds like a good murder mystery.

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  2. Wow, I'm so glad you like this one so much! Both timelines definitely had some intriguing storylines. Great review!

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  3. I really liked this book, too! But then, I like all of Simone St. James' novels. :D

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  4. Oh yes. I'll be checking this out!

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  5. Oh my Lord, I was just describing that same feeling to a blogger in a comments section yesterday. I have this book and it looks like I need to bump it up!

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  6. It's always great to find a book we really enjoy isn't it! I haven't read anything by this author.

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  7. A friend gifted me this book, but I haven't had time to jump in. I cannot wait to give it a read!!

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