Saturday, May 12, 2018

The Broken Girls by Simone St. James

What They Say.......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...

What I Say.....Well, this was a completely new book experience for me.  I've read historical fiction that has had an element of a ghost story, but this book seemed somehow completely unique.  We read it for my book club and the verdict was pretty unanimous that we were intrigued but a bit confused.

Firstly, if you've read my blog for a while, you know I'm a huge fan of alternating timeline plots.  However, in this book, it just didn't work as well.  I was bored by the current day plot, and really had no interest in Fiona's story.  I found myself rushing through the present day in order to read the past.  It was hard to pinpoint what timeline Fiona's story even was.  It could have been present day, could have been the 1990's, there just wasn't enough information, or maybe there was, but I rushed by it.

I"m still confused by the Mary Hand story and how it impacted the four girls at the boarding school.  Although there were plenty of stories about Mary, it didn't make sense to me that she would be the only ghost there, especially when there were other girls murdered at the school.

The ending took a giant twist, that's for sure.  And a very unrealistic one.  At one point, I was thinking how the hell did Nazi's get involved in this story?  But as weird as it seemed and as much as Mary Hand seemed to take a page from Pennywise the Clown, I was still engaged enough to finish it.

I don't want to give up too much, and I don't want to imply that the book wasn't good, because I immediately downloaded and read all of Simone St. James's other books.  The Haunting of Maddy Clare was by far my favorite. It was more of a straight forward ghost story.  I finished that in a day and a half.

Current Goodreads Rating 4.14

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