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The Broken Girls Hardcover – March 20, 2018
The Amazon Book Review
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Praise for The Broken Girls
“[The Broken Girls] mixes a creepy supernatural tale with a gripping mystery. It also works well as a story about unshakeable friendship, parenting issues, obsession and sexism folded into a satisfying plot that straddles two eras of time.”—Associated Press
“An intense, genuinely creepy novel that links the ghostly, gothic strands of a 60-year-old murder with secrets about to be unearthed in the present day....With a ghostly setting and an addictive plot, St. James’ story is as haunting as it gets—poignant, evocative and difficult to forget.”—BookPage
“The Broken Girls is equal parts captivating and disturbing.”—HelloGiggles
“The Broken Girls has everything you could want: mysterious murders, haunted boarding schools, and a mystery that spans 60+ years.”—Bustle
“St. James’ riveting genre-blender combines a supernatural tale with intertwined mysteries from the 1950s and today…This horror-tinged mystery is frighteningly believable, peopled with feisty characters, and features top-notch dialogue. St. James… might have another prizewinner on her hands.”—Booklist (starred review)
“[A] creepy, supernatural mystery….[In] this page-turner, the secrets Fiona uncovers lead to a terrifying conclusion that has less to do with the paranormal and more to do with the evil that men do.”—Shondaland.com
“The Broken Girls is clever and wonderfully chilling. It held me hostage in a very modern ghost story until the early hours.”—Fiona Barton, New York Times bestselling author of The Widow and The Child
“A spellbinding tale of fervently held secrets, mysterious murders, and a boarding school for the unwanted. Told through deftly intertwined timelines, this gothic ghost story held me rapt until its dark, final twists. An addictive read not to be missed.”—Kristina McMorris, New York Times bestselling author of The Edge of Lost
“Part hauntingly gothic and part suspenseful crime drama, The Broken Girls is a bona fide page-turner. This story of friendship, revenge and redemption will make readers of women’s fiction rejoice, and the addition of romance and a particularly nasty ghost are intriguing elements that don’t detract from the beautiful writing or the heart of the book.”—Karen White, New York Times bestselling author of The Night the Lights Went Out
“Chilling, disturbing and gripping, this is a well-written, modern-day Gothic tale about facing our darkest fears.”—Tessa Harris, author of The Anatomist’s Apprentice
“With the moldering ruin of a boarding school, a malicious ghost, and secrets that will not stay buried, The Broken Girls promises much and more than delivers. Each new twist is served with calculated, masterful precision....A vivid, riveting story you won’t soon forget.”—Deanna Raybourn, New York Times bestselling author of A Treacherous Curse
“Haunting and memorable...a mesmerizing blend of past and present; a sometimes heartbreaking and always compelling quest for the truth about secrets that shouldn’t stay buried. Masterfully done!”—Karen Dionne, author of The Marsh King’s Daughter
More Praise for the Novels of Simone St. James
”Downright scary and atmospheric. I flew through the pages.”—Lisa Gardner, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Right Behind You
“A haunting tale of love, passion, friendship, and revenge.”—PopSugar
“A creepy tale about the haunting power of the unseen.”—Publishers Weekly
About the Author
Simone St. James is the award-winning author of Lost Among the Living; The Other Side of Midnight; Silence for the Dead; An Inquiry into Love and Death, which was shortlisted for the Arthur Ellis Award for Best Novel from Crime Writers of Canada; and The Haunting of Maddy Clare, which won two RITA Awards from Romance Writers of America and an Arthur Ellis Award from Crime Writers of Canada. She wrote her first ghost story, about a haunted library, when she was in high school, and spent twenty years behind the scenes in the television business before leaving to write full-time.
Top customer reviews
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The story jumps time frames. Readers follow a quartet of girls at the Idlewild Boarding School in 1950, in Barrons, VT. Idlewild is a place of indifference and neglect, where families of means can hide away troublesome daughters. Katie, Roberta, Cece and Sonia do their best to navigate dreary daily life at the school, where the staff is downright hostile and their families could not possibly care less. One day, Sonia reveals that she has been invited home for a weekend, and she clings to a faint hope that their might be a world for her outside of Idlewild. But she neither arrives at her destinatio nor does she return, and after a perfunctory search, authorities declare her a runaway. The three friends she leaves behind do not believe the official explanation, but they are powerless.
Jumping to 2014, journalist Fiona becomes obsessed with the wilting, abandoned remains of Idlewild. Going on twenty years before, Fiona's older sister Deb was murdered and her corpse dumped on the pitted, overgrown athletic grounds. Although a suspect was arrested and convicted, Fiona is troubled by the nagging certainty that justice has not been fully served. Added to the mix is the disturbing apparition of Mary Hand, a young woman who bore a child out of wedlock in the late 1800s and is believed to have been buried with her baby by her ashamed family in a weedy, dreary plot of land that was once Idlewild's garden.
The encounters with the ghost of Mary Hand are unsettling enough, but they are wisely kept on the periphery. In their place is a page-burning mystery, as Fiona digs into the histories of four unwanted young girls to help untangle the mystery of what could have happened to Sonia. The Broken Girls manages to avoid most mystery cliches and delivers an engrossing, satisfying tale.
I should say ,though, that the ghost story is the weakest part of the book. If you took that aspect completely out, it would be a stronger book.
This story reminds me of Karen White and her Trade Street series. I enjoy paranormal history of wars like the Civil War and the Third Reich.
A book well written by Simone St. James
I like dark and twisted stories. But this one, the evil is presented in the daylight. Meaning, it's not haunting you in the dark hours. You discover all the villains but it is packed with so much triumph that you walk away encouraged in your hope for humanity. How many psychological thrillers can you say that about?
So yeah, I liked it. GREAT read.
Fiona Sheridan’s sister, Deb, was murdered 20 years ago and her body found on the grounds of what had been Idlewild Hall, a school for girls. Although Deb’s boyfriend, Tim Christopher, has long been in prison for the murder and Fiona believes he is guilty, something about the case still bothers her. This issue tends to raise tension between her and her boyfriend, Jamie Creel, a cop whose father investigated the murder.
When Fiona drives by Idlewild Hall near the anniversary of her sister’s death, she sees that development work is going on. A reporter, she pitches an idea to cover the local story, including rumors of a ghost on the property. But the body of a girl dressed in the uniform of the old school turns up in an old well, and Fiona begins trying to identify her.
In 1950, four girls are roommates at Idlewild Hall, a school for throw-away girls. Katie was sent away when she was raped by a neighbor boy. Cece is the bastard daughter of a wealthy man. Roberta witnessed her uncle’s attempted suicide and temporarily stopped speaking. Sonia is a refugee from post-war France.
All the girls in the school have periodic glimpses of the ghost of Mary Hand, and there are stories about her written inside the school textbooks. Everyone at the school, including the teachers, is afraid.
The novel begins in the 1950’s with a girl fleeing someone on the school grounds. It takes us a while to figure out who and what from, and that’s a secret of the book.
The Broken Girls is another excellent spookfest from Simone St. James. She and Catriona McPherson are beginning to be my favorite authors for light, scary reading.
Most recent customer reviews
I love this story! Absolutely loved it.Read more