The Broken Girls by Simone St. James
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.
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.
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...