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Thursday, March 22, 2018

The Broken Girls - Simone St. James

The Broken Girls by Simone St. James

First Paragraph(s):

The sun vanished below the horizon as the girl crested the rise of Old Barrons Road.  Night, and she still had three miles to go.
     The air here went blue at dusk, purplish and cold, a light that blurred details as if one were looking through smoke.  Squinting, the girl cast a glance back at the road where it climbed the rise behind her, the breeze tousling her hair and creeping through the thin fabric of her collar, but no one that she could see was following.
     Still:  Faster, she thought.

My Thoughts:

A year or so ago, I tried Simone St. James' first book and thought it wasn't for me.  Well, her latest one is definitely for me.  Ghosts, missing girls, a boarding school where 'bad' girls are left to almost fend for themselves, dual timelines, secrets, secrets, secrets.  Yep, that's for me.  Jenclair wrote about this book recently and brought it to my attention here.  After reading her reaction, I knew I needed to try it.  I was very caught up in the story, though I didn't read it fast.  Somehow, I took my time and tried to determine who and what and mostly why.  I liked Fiona in the present day and her relentless pursuit of information about Idlewild Hall and also her sister's murder.  I liked the four roommates, all damaged and neglected and shunted aside by their circumstances.  I wanted to know what happened to each of them and where they would end up.  And I liked the young policeman that Fiona is close to.  He's in a tough position and has to decide if he's on the side of good or the side of easy.  Oh, and let's not forget Mary Hand....creepy deluxe!

So, this book is a little spooky, a little historical, a little mysterious.  I'm planning on going back and trying Simone St. James' earlier books - have you read any of them?  And I'm recommending this one if you like to walk on the Gothic side.

Blurb:

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...

26 comments:

  1. Sounds like a good'un. Now...if only my ARCs weren't backed up to Saskatchewan!

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    1. I know, I know. You are buried, but if you want something a little different...just saying.

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  2. I've read many glowing reviews of this novel. Even though I haven't had a chance to read my Netflix copy, I intend to read and/or listen to it next. I'm glad you enjoyed it!

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  3. Her earlier books (which I tried after reading The Broken Girls) lack the depth and characterization that St. James achieves with TBG. They are ghost story lite.

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    1. That was kind of my experience with the first one. I was forcing myself to go forward. We'll see if a second try will work. If not, I'll move along.

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  4. I've seen this one around, but I didn't know much about it. It definitely sounds like something I'd be interested in. Thanks for the review.

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    1. It was a nice creepy read. Maybe better for fall? Ha!

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  5. This is the second good review I've read of this day. Sounds like I need to give it a try.

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  6. This book is so creepy-good! I made the mistake of starting it just before my husband went out of town for the weekend. I promised myself I wouldn't keep reading it while he was gone, but I could not help myself! It's very compelling.

    I haven't read anything else by this author. I'm definitely willing to, though.

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    1. Yes, I can understand that, Susan. I would have kept going too. I'll be curious what you think if try her other books.

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  7. I haven't read anything by this author, but I do like the sound of this one. I love stories about secrets and a dual timeline is something I adore in books.

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    1. This one definitely has more than it's share of secrets. LOL

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  8. Spooky & historical - I must read this!

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    1. I think you'd like it, Iliana.

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  9. I've only read three of her books and this is my favourite so far. Can't wait for her next book already!

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    1. I totally agree, Melody, especially if it is like this one.

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  10. Great review! I've read three of her books including Broken Girls (which I loved). I enjoyed her last book Lost Among the Living, set in England just after World War I. Her first book was ok, not my favorite.

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    1. Thanks! Good to know about Lost Among the Living.

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  11. I really enjoyed The Haunting of Maddy St Claire. Super spooky and gothic with some romance thrown in for good measure

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    1. That's the one I tried last year, Tasha. It didn't work well for me at the time, but I may try it again before long.

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  12. I've been seeing this one lately but wasn't sure what I thought. It definitely sounds like one I'd enjoy as well. I love the bit of Gothic and the mystery and anything with a dual timeline. I need to get a copy of this one!

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    1. I think you would like this one, Katherine. Based on the books that we've both enjoyed - i.e. other Gothic suspense books.

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  13. Okay you've convinced me on this one! Gothic suspense is a winner for me.

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    1. Yay! Hope you enjoy it! And I'm also excited that you figured out a way to comment. LOL

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Thanks for stopping by! I am so happy to hear your thoughts and will respond as soon as I can. Happy Reading!