Book review – The Broken Girls by Simone St. James

Happy first day of Spring! It’s another Tuesday here at Jenn Blogs Books which means another fabulous new release. I am so excited to talk about The Broken Girls by Simone St. James. This book was on my radar for a very long time. I am so thankful that Berkley Pub sent me an early copy to review.

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Rating: 4.5/5 stars!

Goodreads Description:

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. . . .

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My honest review:

I really enjoyed reading The Broken Girls. This book was on my wish list from the first time I heard about it. It is a modern ghost story that is haunting and creepy. I found myself reading late into the night because I couldn’t put the book down.

The book jumps between Vermont in 1950 and 2014. There are a few missing persons and murder cases surrounding the Idlewild Hall boarding school for girls. I think Simone St. James did an excellent job going between the different time frames and murders. I was never confused and deeply invested in every crime investigated.

I was most impressed with the ghost story aspect of the novel. So many books with a ghost story theme are on the corny side or at least very predictable. The Broken Girls was a refreshing change to the Gothic genre. I could easily imagine the places described in the book. Especially the scenes inside the boarding school.

This book touches on the Holocaust and the terrible things that happened at Ravensbruck  Concentration Camp. I wish that Sonia, the character from the concentration camp, had her own novel. There is so much about her that I want to know. She was so strong even when others never realized it. She might be my favorite character from the 1950 story line.

I think this book would intrigue a very wide range of readers. Anyone interested in historical mysteries, Gothic novels, ghost stories, and thrillers in general will find something they love in this book. Be warned, once you pick up this book it is very hard to put it down until you finish it!

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