Thursday, March 15, 2018
The Broken Girls by Simone St. James
The Broken Girls by Simone St. James weaves together two stories. Idlewild Hall is a boarding school for girls who are unwanted or difficult. Established in 1919 and never maintained well, the uniforms and many of the textbooks have never been updated. In 1950, four girls attending the school become friends. Then, one of them disappears. In 2014, a reporter who has spent her time writing fluff pieces finds out that the long-closed and derelict school has been bought and is being restored. But, why? Surely it could never turn a profit. As Fiona seeks to uncover the reason for the purchase and a body is discovered on the property, the search for answers may lead the intrepid reporter into danger. How did the body found on Idlewild property end up where it has been found? What was the girl's story? Does her disappearance have any connection to the death, in 1994, of Fiona's sister?
By far one of the best mystery/suspense books I've read in months, I found The Broken Girls so compelling that I ditched my chores and spent an afternoon curled up with the book, unable to bear putting it down.
Highly recommended - Gripping, well-written, creepy, and satisfying. I was most surprised by the fact that The Broken Girls has a believable ghost (seriously, most ghost stories are just disappointing) as well as the realization that I had no preference between the historical and contemporary stories. Usually, in a historical/contemporary book with interwoven storylines, I'll find myself wishing the author had focused on one storyline or the other. Not so with The Broken Girls. I loved being at Idlewild Hall in 1950 and I was equally mesmerized by Fiona's story: the unfolding clues, her relationship and how it complicated her research, her family history.
I received a copy of The Broken Girls from Berkley Books in exchange for my unbiased review and wow, am I glad I said yes to this title! I've read some really disappointing attempts at suspense, this year. The Broken Girls is exceptional and I'll be be watching for future releases by Simone St. James.
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