Expected publication: March 20, 2018 by Berkley Books
“Mary Hand, Mary Hand, dead and buried under land…
Faster, faster. Don’t let her catch you.
She’ll say she wants to be your friend…
Do not let her in again!”
I’m not usually one for paranormal/ghost stories, but when I read the description for “The Broken Girls” I was really intrigued. I’m thrilled to say that this was even better than I expected.
Barrons, Vermont – November 1950.
A young girl has just gotten off a bus. She has two choices. She can take the normal route or she can cut through the woods to get there faster. But cutting through the woods means leaving the safety of the main road. Suddenly she turns and sees a figure coming towards her. But how is this possible?
She was the only one who got off the bus….
Katie, Ce-Ce, Roberta, and Sonia are roommates at Idlewild Hall, a boarding school for “troubled” girls. Over time they have become close friends. They bond over their painful life stories. They trust and depend on each other.
We are given insight into why each “broken” girl is at Idlewild though chapters from their perspective. We learn about their lives and what they’ve been through and about the mystery surrounding them all.
Fiona was seventeen at the time of her sister’s murder. Twenty years later, unanswered questions continue to plague her. Although a man was convicted of her murder and is serving his sentence in a maximum-security prison, he has always maintained his innocence.
And now Idlewild Hall is being restored. Why would someone bother re-building a place like Idlewild? Fiona decides to write about the restoration of the local paper. She has strange feelings whenever she is near the property and the old school. Is it possible that the rumors about Idlewild being haunted are true?
Then a shocking discovery changes everything. Could there be a link between what happened all those years ago and Fiona’s sister’s murder?
There are so many secrets surrounding Idlewild and Fiona is determined to find out what those secrets are. But could all of her investigating end up putting her in danger?
The story alternates between 1950 and 2014. The chapters in 2014 are told from Fiona’s point of view. The chapters in 1950 are from the point of view of the four roommates. Though it alternates and there are quite a few different perspectives, I thought it flowed easily back and forth between past and present.
“The Broken Girls” was a unique and impressive novel. While I did find the beginning of the novel a bit slow, it wasn’t long before I was completely caught up in the story. It was an engrossing read that really struck a chord with me. I ended up reading more than half of the book in just a few hours.
You can tell that the author has done her research; she brings everything together in an excellent way. Though some parts are dark and disturbing, I feel the author handled these difficult subjects with respect and sensitivity.
“The Broken Girls” was a captivating read that I really enjoyed. I’m looking forward to reading more from Simone St. James.
Thank you, Berkley Books for providing an advanced readers copy of this book for me to read in exchange for my honest review.