The Broken Girls was my February 2018 Book of the Month Selection. And ya’ll…I read it during the month of February! When does that EVER happen? And guess what? That means that you can still get it…for free!
They are running a special right now! When you sign up for Book of the Month, use the code YESPLZ to get a free book! I need more free things in my life.
But I do love getting Book of the Month. And if I’m honest, I’ll usually pick one of the five as my selection then rush right over to my library’s website to place the others on hold. Although since I’ve been doing this blog, sometimes I’ve already read the selections. So that’s kind of fun too!
But let’s get to the book. Because it was GOOD with a capital G.
From the Publisher:
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. . .
The Broken Girls is a deliciously readable mystery/work of literary fiction/bona-fide ghost story. There is no “Idlewild Hall might be haunted”. It’s haunted. But more than that, it’s just a terrible place. And it always has been.
The story flips back and forth between 1950 and 2014. In the 50’s, friends Katie, CeCe, Sonia and Roberta attended boarding school at Idlewild Hall, a school for troubled or forgotten girls. And it was a miserable existence. The teachers were mean, the rules strict and the girls were forced to work in the damp, smelly garden that everyone said was haunted.
We meet Fiona when the story flips to 2014. She is a writer, raised by a famous journalist father who has always kind of written fluff. While Idlewild Hall has been officially closed and vacant for 25 years, it’s still a terrible place. It looks ominous, the buildings are water damaged beyond repair and bad things just happen there. In 1994, Fiona’s only sister was found dead on the abandoned grounds, victim of a homicide.
So, you see, this is not setting up to be a happy tale. But it is an amazing one. It took me a couple of chapters to really get into the book. Mostly because the prologue is one of those that depicts a crime with no names or further details and it takes half the book to figure out what is going on and who the victim even was. I had to figure out who was who.
But once I was hooked, I was really hooked. It’s a fast read, but written very well with layers and layers of story and intrigue to be peeled back with each turn of the page. If you like ghost stories, this one is for you. If you like mysteries, ditto. If you just like a really good read, pick it up! There really wasn’t anything I didn’t like about this one. Just an all around amazing book.
Sidenote, I’ve never read a book by Ms. St. James before. Now that I’ve read one, off to the library I go.
Get your copy: