The Broken Girlsby Published 20 Mar 2018
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The "clever and wonderfully chilling" (Fiona Barton) suspense novel from the award-winning author of The Haunting of Maddy Clare...
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. . . .
"The Broken Girls" Reviews
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“Mary Hand, Mary Hand, dead and buried under land…
Faster, faster. Don’t let her catch you.
She’ll say she wants to be your friend…
Do not let her in again!”
I’m not usually one for paranormal/ghost stories, but when I read the description for “The Broken Girls” I was really intrigued. I’m thrilled to say that this was even better than I expected.
Barrons, Vermont - November 1950.
A young girl has just gotten off a bus. She has two choices. She can take the normal route or she can cut through the woods to get there faster. But cutting through the woods means leaving the safety of the main road. Suddenly she turns and sees a figure coming towards her. But how is this possible?
She was the only one who got off the bus….
Katie, Ce-Ce, Roberta and Sonia are roommates at Ildewild Hall, a boarding school for “troubled” girls. Over time they have become close friends. They bond over their painful life stories. They trust and depend on each other.
We are given insight into why each “broken” girl is at Idlewild though chapters from their perspective. We learn about their lives and what they’ve been through and about the mystery surrounding them all.
Fiona was seventeen at the time of her sister’s murder. Twenty years later, unanswered questions continue to plague her. Although a man was convicted for her murder and is serving his sentence in a maximum-security prison, he has always maintained his innocence.
And now Idlewild Hall is being restored. Why would someone bother re-building a place like Idlewild? Fiona decides to write about the restoration for the local paper. She has strange feelings whenever she is near the property and the old school. Is it possible that the rumors about Idlewild being haunted are true?
Then a shocking discover changes everything. Could there be a link between what happened all those years ago and Fiona's sister’s murder?
There are so many secrets surrounding Idlewild and Fiona is determined to find out what those secrets are. But could all of her investigating end up putting her in danger?
The story alternates between 1950 and 2014. The chapters in 2014 are told from Fiona’s point of view. The chapters in 1950 are from the point of view of the four roommates. Though it alternates and there are quite a few different perspectives, I thought it flowed easily back and forth between past and present.
“The Broken Girls” was a unique and impressive novel. While I did find the beginning of the novel a bit slow, it wasn’t long before I was completely caught up in the story. It was an engrossing read that really struck a chord with me. I ended up reading more than half of the book in just a few hours.
You can tell that the author has done her research; she brings everything together in an excellent way. Though some parts are dark and disturbing, I feel the author handled these difficult subjects with respect and sensitivity.
“The Broken Girls” was a captivating read that I really enjoyed. I’m looking forward to reading more from Simone St. James.
Thank you, Berkley Books for providing an advanced readers copy of this book for me to read in exchange for my honest review.
5 SHINY STARS, I would give a lot more if I Could.
Mary Hand Mary Hand, Dead and buried underland. She'll say she wants to be your friend. Do not let her in again.
The setting is in Vermont. There are rumors that the boarding school Idlewild Hall is haunted. This is a place where girls go who are troublemakers, illegitimate and too smart for their own good. Their parents rarely visit them. Four roommates are friends and they bond very well until one of them disappears.
Fiona Sheridan is a journalist. Twenty years ago her sister's body was found lying in the overgrown fields, near the ruins of Idlewood. Her sister's boyfriend was tried and convicted of murder. She keeps revisiting the events surrounding her sister's death. Fiona has a strong suspicion that the case isn't what it was made out to be. Fiona then finds out that Idlewild Hall is being restored and decides to write a story about it.
Shockingly she discovers that the renovations link to secrets that were meant to stay hidden in the past.
This is an awesome spooky ghost story plus a great mystery. It is so much more than your average ghost story. If you usually don't like ghost stories, I still think you would like this one. It is a Gothic suspense novel and I could just feel the Gothic atmosphere brewing. It is more of a mystery than horror. It didn't really scare me but the secrets were frightening but more suspenseful. It was also very chilling.
It hooked me in straight from the beginning and didn't let go until the very end. The suspense kept me turning the pages and kept me reading into the earl hours of the morning. The story goes back and forth from the past to the present. From 1950 to 2014, two stories merge into one. There are several twist and turns that gave me surprises that I didn't see coming with a great murder plot.
The book is very well written and is a character driven novel. I just loved some of the characters. I recommend this to those who like a Gothic suspense novel.
I got this arc on Edelweiss.
Hauntingly suspenseful read about a former boarding school for “troubled girls.”
There’s something sinister at work in Barrons, Vermont at the abandoned Idlewild Hall. Ghosts have been seen, bodies have been found, and secrets have been long buried. When a journalist begins digging into the dark, dismal history of Idlewild, she exposes a web of corruption and hidden crimes.
In the 1950’s four girls were roommates and the best of friends at Idlewild Hall, a boarding school for “troubled” girls. The girls are the closest of friends and rely on each other to survive living in the repressive, gloomy, world of Idlewild. When of them goes mysteriously missing, the school believes she has run away, but the friends believe that she was murdered.
Switch to 2014: When journalist Fiona Sheridan learns that Idlewild, which had been shut down and abandoned, is going to be restored she is determined to find out more, as Fiona has an inherent interest in Idlewild as it is the spot which her murdered sister’s body was found 20 years ago. The more and more Fiona digs up about Idlewild, the more she puts herself in danger.
The Broken Girls is an intelligent, well-written creepy, atmospheric read that I could not put down! There’s something about Simone St. James’ writing style that sucked me in--I honestly had to force myself to put this book down. The characters voices are compelling, and their stories equally interesting. I loved the eerie, gothic like atmosphere, and of course Mary Hand’s presence kept me on edge. There are some paranormal elements, which I normally would have rolled my eyes at, but they serve a purpose and really work in this book.
I cannot say enough good things about The Broken Girls! I might just have to go reread and experience it all over again!
The Broken Girls was a quick, entertaining, fast-paced and atmospheric gothic mystery novel that was an enjoyable and satisfying read. I did enjoy the dual storylines, but I thought that the past timeline was a little more interesting than the present one though.
I do love a good ghost story and the supernatural and I definitely thought the author delivered a spooky read here, but for some reason when I was reading this novel, I wasn't overly impressed with the author's prose though so that really affected my total enjoyment for this novel. I was the only one from the Traveling Sisters that was reading this that had a problem with that though so I still absolutely recommend this novel!
Thank you so much to Edelweiss for the advanced copy of this book!
Brenda's full Traveling Sisters review:
Review will be posted on our blog closer to publication date.
I don't believe in ghosts in real life, but I absolutely believed in the ghost of Mary Hand haunting a girls' boarding school, even after it was shut down in 1979. The writing of Broken Girls is wonderful and unique.
The story is told during two diferent periods in history. In 2014, journalist Fiona Sheridan, daughter of a famous journalist, is still looking for more solid information on the murder of her sister twenty years earlier, even though Deb's boyfriend was convicted and has been imprisoned since her body was found in a field at Idlewood Hall in a remote part of Vermont.
In 1950, we get to meet four roommates, girls abanoned because they were born outside of marriage or they're orphans or their parents just didn't know how to deal with the challenges of raising a spirited daughter, especially at a time when we don't have the knowledge about mental health that we do now (and therefore it was shameful to not be sunny and agreeable at all times if you were female). I loved these four fifteen-year-old girls. When one of them goes missing, neither the police nor the teachers do much to investigate. She's a throwaway girl. Her friends, however, know that she was murdered because she'd never run away.
Fiona's search for the truth makes for an intriguing and enjoyable mystery. I really liked this book, which RELEASES MARCH 20, 2018.
Thanks to NetGalley and Berkley Publishing for the opportunity to review this book.
For more of my reviews, please visit: http://www.theresaalan.net/blog