March 22, 2018

Review + Giveaway: The Broken Girls by Simone St. James

The Broken Girls
Author: Simone St. James
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Release Date: March 20, 2018
Publisher: Berkley Books


A breakout suspense novel from the award-winning author of The Haunting of Maddy Clare.

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...

Advance praise for THE BROKEN GIRLS:
Clever and wonderfully chilling. It held me hostage.”
—Fiona Barton, New York Times bestselling author of The Widow

“Part hauntingly gothic and part suspenseful crime drama, The Broken Girls is a bona fide page-turner.”
—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
“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 memorableMasterfully done!”
—Karen Dionne, author of The Marsh King's Daughter

The Broken Girls is a fantastic suspense novel that combines past and present, truth and lies, and even the supernatural. I read mysteries and thrillers all the time, so it takes a bit to impress me anymore. I can easily say that this novel had me intrigued, constantly guessing, and on the edge of my seat the entire time. It's a wonderful breath of fresh air for the genre and one that readers are definitely going to want to get their hands on.

The plot immediately caught my attention when I read the description, but I really got hooked on the story starting with the prologue. There are a lot of aspects to this book that differ from others and definitely set it apart. For me personally, there were two major aspects that had me impressed. The first was the connection between the past and the present. The story continually goes between 1950 and 2014 as separate yet somehow connected events are happening at Idlewild Hall. I found it fascinating to feel transported to the past and then to see the parallels with the current happenings. The other aspect that I really enjoyed is actually directly connected to this one. It's the author's choice of writing style. Normally, I'm a huge fan of the first person point of view for a lot of different reasons. The author, however, chose to write this book in the third person. But what really sold me on it were the characters whose viewpoints we see. There are five main characters in the book - Fiona, a journalist in 2014; and four girls who attended Idlewild in 1950 - CeCe, Katie, Sonia, and Roberta who are roommates and best friends. We get to hear from each of them throughout the book - some more than others - as their stories unravel and the mysteries unfold. There are multiple cases to be solved, both from the past and from the more recent past. The author wove in several smaller storylines that easily wove together to form the overarching plot of the novel. And the best for last (at least for me) - part of it was a legit ghost story. Not one that turns out to be reasonably explained away, but an honest to goodness creepy ghost that haunts Idlewild and the surrounding property. I don't do spoilers, so I can't say much else without revealing anything. 

Overall, this was an incredible novel that blended several genres together to produce a chilling thriller that will have readers devouring the pages. The writing was very well done and I look forward to reading the authors other books. Very highly recommended to fans of mysteries, thrillers, suspense, supernatural/paranormal, ghost stories, crime fiction, historical fiction, and contemporary fiction. There's a bit of something for everyone in these pages and I definitely recommend giving it a chance.
Simone St. James is the award-winning author of 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. She lives in Toronto, Canada with her husband and a spoiled cat.

Author Links:
 (1) Hardcover copy of The Broken Girls by Simone St. James - Open to US residents only!


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