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This is my first Simone St James and I loved it, I just wish the digital versions of her other books weren't so (relatively) expensive in the UK, I've had one of them on my TBR for ages.
This was a strange mix, a detective story, a bit of romance (only a wee bit), a bit of history and a few ghosts. In the front story, we have a journalist who has never got over the murder of her sister twenty years ago discovering that the old school where her body was dumped is now being re-opened. In the back story, we have a group of four girls at the school in the 1950s, a ghost who has haunted the girls in the school since it opened 40 years before, and eventually a disappearance. Our journalist has a tricky relationship with her police man lover. Their families are polar opposites. It's a small town, where secrets are kept and buried deep. When another body is found old wounds are cracked open.
This was a classic page turner, which kept me guessing right up until the last moment. Unusually, I found the ending very satisfying, and I was glad that the whole ghost element of the story wasn't resolved. What's more, the story behind the back story really played well on the history of the time, I completely bought it - and it could easily have been made unbelievable. I just hope there's more to come on this series - if it is a series.
Highly recommended if you like detective stories mingled with history and ghosts - and I warn you, the ghosts are VERY creepy.
Knew very little about this book when I started it but it was the pick for the online book club I'm part of, and it was an inspired choice as I devoured it!! Full of mystery, murders and creepy goings on at an old school - it had the perfect mix of intrigue for me, alongside great storytelling and a mix of really fascinating characters, especially looking back at the 1950 timeline.
The story starts in 2014 with Fiona, a journalist, who is still haunted by the loss of her sister 20 years earlier. There's a man in prison for the murder of Debbie, but there are still too many unanswered questions in Fiona's head and her journalist brain won't switch off until she feels settled with what went on that night. Her sister was found murdered on the playing fields of Idlewild Hall, an empty and long abandoned girls' school, so when she hears that it has a new owner who plans to reopen the school she's intent on finding out who the new owners are and what their plans are.
In the 1950 timeline we get to visit with girls who are at the school. And what a fascinating and creepy school it is! This is a darker version of Mallory Towers! The pupils all seemingly have their issues and have been sent there by their parents who have almost given up on them. So to the girls, they become family to one another. They all have differing pasts and quite traumatic too so you can't help but feel sorry for these girls as they each reveal their story and their issues with the ghosts of Idlewild Hall. And the main ghost of Idlewild is Mary Hand - messages have been left in textbooks by girls over the years of their encounters with this scary girl and I really loved this aspect of the story - quite chilling! When one of the girls goes missing in 1950 her friends are quite shocked that very little effort is put into finding her and the effect that had on the remaining friends was quite profound.
The more that Fiona delves into the past of the school, and the link to her sisters' murder, the more darkness is revealed and there's also the intrigue behind the new owners and their links to the school. There are so many layers in this story that I always found something new to wonder over and try to figure out the significance and the sense of mystery and darkness kept me on tenterhooks throughout! Loved it!! Highly recommended!!
I bought this ebook on the back of a review another instagrammer had done of it, where she raved about how creepy and spooky it was.
Now books, like anything else, are subjective, I get that. But I was a bit disappointed that this book didn't give me the chills that I was expecting for a ghost story 👻
I was expecting to be afraid to walk upstairs in the dark on my own, and jumping at any sound whilst reading in bed in the dark. But I didn't get any of that. However! Being spooky isn't the purpose of this book. It's just one of the goings on in a story spanning many things.
I was really pleased to find that this is a dual timeline mystery, which I love (like The Botanist's Daughter which I reviewed a while ago). It goes between Fiona in the present day - a journalist whose sister's murder 20 years ago still raises questions, and four teenage girls back in 1950 - all residents at a horrific (haunted..) boarding school for 'troubled girls', each with their own stories to tell.
Determined to find out the truth about what really happened to her sister, Fiona goes on a mission to discover the link between her sister's murder and the now closed and rundown boarding school.
I did really enjoy the book. I enjoyed the aspects of the present day, where I did feel I got to know Fiona, her boyfriend and her family well. I enjoyed the characters she met throughout whilst doing her investigations. And there was nothing that really gave things away toooooo much. Though there was one character who I correctly pegged as being involved as soon as they featured. I also enjoyed getting to know the four girls from the 50s, who, despite it being an average length read, you seemed to get plenty of time to get to know each one's story.
This is so close to being a 5🌟 except for the fact that once you discover something towards the end (no spoilers!) it seems a little over the top and typical for a thriller. 😕 Otherwise an enjoyable, and well written dual timeline mystery, and I'm looking forward to reading the author's newest book The Sun Down Motel. 🤗
I am sick of hyped up books falling flat. This one did not. This one got me out of my reading slump and I already want to read another by this author.
The story starts off with Fiona, a journalist who uncovers a decade old mystery within an haunted girls boarding school. That's all you need to know- I think this book is best if you know as little as possible going in to it. I cannot rate this book high enough and if you are in a reading slump after all these over hyped up 'thrillers', this is the book that will save you. Thank you Simone St. James!
This is my first book by this author, and I will definitely be looking for more. I really enjoyed the story, the two timelines worked well together and it was easy to follow. I wanted to give it five stars but I just felt that it had all the ingredients to make a really chilling book, but somehow just missed the mark a little, just not quite spooky enough for me. Still, a great book and I would definitely recommend.
I read voraciously but rarely write a review. For some reason this captured my imagination. I'm not sure if it's a ghost story, a Whodunnit or even bordering on chick-lit..... I wouldn't say it had the makings of being a prize winner but I found it entertaining and the plot well written. I liked the way the chapters wove between the 1950's and present day until they became as one. Most of the characters I found likeable although the main character possibly the least!. There were several strands to the storyline and each were quite poignant. Overall a really good read and I shall look out for this author again - you can't say fairer than that about any book!
The Broken Girls features female friendship and a ghostly murder mystery told over dual timelines. Fiona's sister was at Idleeood Hall before she was viciously murdered. The school is being refurbished and Fiona goes to investigate the school, discovering ghosts and secrets of the past. Eerie in parts with a great story at the heart.
Can I just take a moment... Wow, just wow. This would be the second book from the amazing Simone St. James, the first being The Sundown Motel in which I completely fell in love with and now this! I can't even describe how much i loved this book, it was dark, chilling and unputdownable. 5* read!