The Broken Girls

The Broken Girls

A 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 whispe...

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Title:The Broken Girls
Author:Simone St. James
Rating:
Edition Language:English

The Broken Girls Reviews

  • Julie

    The Broken Girls by Simone St. James is a 2018 Berkley publication.

    Now

    is my kind of book!!

    Set in Vermont, alternating between 1950 and 2014, this well rounded thriller, centers around a girl’s only school named Idlewood Hall. During the fifties, this school was where troubled girls were sent, and where a group of girls forge an unlikely and formidable friendship which would cause a rippling effect for decades to come.

    Over the years, the abandoned school was nothing more than an eyesore

    The Broken Girls by Simone St. James is a 2018 Berkley publication.

    Now

    is my kind of book!!

    Set in Vermont, alternating between 1950 and 2014, this well rounded thriller, centers around a girl’s only school named Idlewood Hall. During the fifties, this school was where troubled girls were sent, and where a group of girls forge an unlikely and formidable friendship which would cause a rippling effect for decades to come.

    Over the years, the abandoned school was nothing more than an eyesore, protecting its memories and ghosts from the outside world, its most recent claim to fame being the general location of where Fiona Sheridan’s sister was found dead over twenty years ago.

    Now, in present day, 2014, someone has taken an interest in Idlewood, determined to restore the old boarding house, which only intensifies Fiona’s obsession over her sister’s death. She convinces her boss to allow her to do a story about the school's restoration for the magazine she works for. While she barely manages to conceal her ulterior motives, the restoration efforts inadvertently led to a shocking discovery, and sends her down a rabbit hole, as she searches, not only for peace of mind concerning her sister’s death, but for the answers to a decades old mystery.

    This gloomy, atmospheric thriller enveloped me in its Gothic fog, keeping me utterly riveted and on the edge of my seat from the beginning to end.

    The creepy aura surrounding Fiona’s investigation into her sister’s death is nail biting suspense at its finest. This is a crime drama, thriller, and chiller all rolled into one. While the haunting of Idlewood adds a deliciously spooky element to the story, what is truly haunting is the heavy toll that losing a daughter and sister had on Fiona and her family, as well as the ever present feeling of impending doom.

    But, the mystery of the disappearance of one of Idlewood’s boarders during the fifties was a story that goes beyond the ghostly rumors. It is poignantly sad and infuriating tale, that slowly morphs into an inspirational and touching story of friendship and long overdue closure.

    I have always been a sucker for a good ghost story, mainly because contrary to the creepy, spooky, chilling aspects of hauntings, more often than not, ghosts are quite often helpful, or asking for help from the living, to give them long sought after peace, which is a not at all frightening when you look at it from that angle. This story is no exception, but I have to tell you, this ghost story packs a powerful punch and is incredibly edgy!!

    But, mostly, this story is about solving all the mysteries surrounding two very different types of crimes, with two entirely separate circumstances. The author manages to connect the past to the present fluidly, despite the stark differences in themes and urgency. While the location and Idlewood provide a physical link, it is really the power of familial love and the enduring bonds of friendship, with a little help from beyond, that brings everyone and everything together in the end.

    This story is evenly paced, giving the well timed twists a great deal of power. It is very well written, and embodies everything I love about a good thriller. Overall, this was an immensely satisfying read.

    Pulling out all the stars for this one! 5 stars!!

  • Mary Beth *Traveling Sister*

    The setting is in Vermont. There are rumors that the boarding school Idlewild Hall is haunted. This is a place where girls go who are troublemakers, illegitimate and too smart for their own good. Their parents rarely visit them. Four roommates are friends and they bond very well until one of them disappears.

    Fiona Sheridan is a journal

    The setting is in Vermont. There are rumors that the boarding school Idlewild Hall is haunted. This is a place where girls go who are troublemakers, illegitimate and too smart for their own good. Their parents rarely visit them. Four roommates are friends and they bond very well until one of them disappears.

    Fiona Sheridan is a journalist. Twenty years ago her sister's body was found lying in the overgrown fields, near the ruins of Idlewood. Her sister's boyfriend was tried and convicted of murder. She keeps revisiting the events surrounding her sister's death. Fiona has a strong suspicion that the case isn't what it was made out to be. Fiona then finds out that Idlewild Hall is being restored and decides to write a story about it.

    Shockingly she discovers that the renovations link to secrets that were meant to stay hidden in the past.

    This is an awesome spooky ghost story plus a great mystery. It is so much more than your average ghost story. If you usually don't like ghost stories, I still think you would like this one. It is a Gothic suspense novel and I could just feel the Gothic atmosphere brewing. It is more of a mystery than horror. It didn't really scare me but the secrets were frightening but more suspenseful. It was also very chilling.

    It hooked me in straight from the beginning and didn't let go until the very end. The suspense kept me turning the pages and kept me reading into the earl hours of the morning. The story goes back and forth from the past to the present. From 1950 to 2014, two stories merge into one. There are several twist and turns that gave me surprises that I didn't see coming with a great murder plot.

    The book is very well written and is a character driven novel. I just loved some of the characters. I recommend this to those who like a Gothic suspense novel.

    I got this arc on Edelweiss.

  • Meredith

    There’s something sinister at work in Barrons, Vermont at the abandoned Idlewild Hall. Ghosts have been seen, bodies have been found, and secrets have been long buried. When a journalist begins digging into the dark, dismal history of Idlewild, she exposes a web of corruption and hidden crimes.

    In the 1950’s four girls were roommates and the best of friends at Idlewild Hall, a boarding school for “troubled” gir

    There’s something sinister at work in Barrons, Vermont at the abandoned Idlewild Hall. Ghosts have been seen, bodies have been found, and secrets have been long buried. When a journalist begins digging into the dark, dismal history of Idlewild, she exposes a web of corruption and hidden crimes.

    In the 1950’s four girls were roommates and the best of friends at Idlewild Hall, a boarding school for “troubled” girls. The girls are the closest of friends and rely on each other to survive living in the repressive, gloomy, world of Idlewild. When of them goes mysteriously missing, the school believes she has run away, but the friends believe that she was murdered.

    Switch to 2014: When journalist Fiona Sheridan learns that Idlewild, which had been shut down and abandoned, is going to be restored she is determined to find out more, as Fiona has an inherent interest in Idlewild as it is the spot which her murdered sister’s body was found 20 years ago. The more and more Fiona digs up about Idlewild, the more she puts herself in danger.

    is an intelligent, well-written creepy, atmospheric read that I could not put down! There’s something about Simone St. James’ writing style that sucked me in--I honestly had to force myself to put this book down. The characters voices are compelling, and their stories equally interesting. I loved the eerie, gothic like atmosphere, and of course Mary Hand’s presence kept me on edge. There are some paranormal elements, which I normally would have rolled my eyes at, but they serve a purpose and really work in this book.

    I cannot say enough good things about

    ! I might just have to go reread and experience it all over again!

  • Deanna

    My reviews can also be seen at:

    4.5 Stars!!

    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.

    My reviews can also be seen at:

    4.5 Stars!!

    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.

  • Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader

    🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟

    The Broken Girls started off with a bang with a dynamically engaging prologue! Was there a ghost right from the start?

    If you think you do not enjoy ghost stories, I have to say, this one is executed well. Spooky is done with a light hand, not overdone, even feasible if that’s possible for a ghost story?! The atmosphere is perfectly staged with an old school building featuring “tooth-shaped windows.”

    Told in dual story lines, past and present,

    🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟

    The Broken Girls started off with a bang with a dynamically engaging prologue! Was there a ghost right from the start?

    If you think you do not enjoy ghost stories, I have to say, this one is executed well. Spooky is done with a light hand, not overdone, even feasible if that’s possible for a ghost story?! The atmosphere is perfectly staged with an old school building featuring “tooth-shaped windows.”

    Told in dual story lines, past and present, that later converge, I found the past timeline more interesting, which featured a boarding school in Vermont for “wayward” girls in the 1950s. I enjoyed the present storyline with Fiona, a journalist; but it was not as intriguing for me. The girls in the school were each so interesting and likeable, but I had a hard time telling them apart from one another, and I am really not sure why?

    Overall, this was a well-written, atmospheric, spooky ghost story, and one I enjoyed immensely.

    I read this with my Traveling Sisters, and as always, the discussion added so much to my experience with this book! Please see Norma and Brenda’s blog for all of the combined sister reviews and more:

    Thank you to Simone St. James, Berkley, and Edelweiss for the complimentary copy.

  • Melisa

    I am not one for supernatural books, but this one was SO well done, it had me believing in ghosts by the time I was finished. So well done, in fact, that I went and bought this author’s entire back catalogue of titles. Mary Hand is a fascinating character and her powers are definitely unique. I loved her storyline, and would have en

    I am not one for supernatural books, but this one was SO well done, it had me believing in ghosts by the time I was finished. So well done, in fact, that I went and bought this author’s entire back catalogue of titles. Mary Hand is a fascinating character and her powers are definitely unique. I loved her storyline, and would have enjoyed learning more about her history.

    I thoroughly enjoyed this dual timeline story, I think this structure worked really well for this book. I was totally invested in these characters and couldn’t wait to find out what happened to them.

    On a side note, I was in the car while waiting to pick up my kiddos from school, and a dear friend banged on my window to scare me, and I just happened to be reading this book. Let’s just say I screamed like crazy!😆

    This was a Traveling Sisters read and I thoroughly enjoyed the thoughts brought to the table by my friends. A very enjoyable experience!

    Advance copy provided by Edelweiss - thank you.

  • Kaceey - Traveling Sister

    A dark, haunting novel that includes a whopper of a ghost story. When I first sought out this book I had no idea the plotline involved a supernatural element. Had I known, I probably would have just passed on it. And boy, what a shame that would’ve been. In fact, the supernatural slant ended up being my favorite part of the book!

    So even if ghosts tend to scare, (like they do for me👻) don’t run! It blends perfectly into the story.

    The book is split into two timelines. Past and present. Intere

    A dark, haunting novel that includes a whopper of a ghost story. When I first sought out this book I had no idea the plotline involved a supernatural element. Had I known, I probably would have just passed on it. And boy, what a shame that would’ve been. In fact, the supernatural slant ended up being my favorite part of the book!

    So even if ghosts tend to scare, (like they do for me👻) don’t run! It blends perfectly into the story.

    The book is split into two timelines. Past and present. Interestingly, I was completely captivated by the past timeline and left wanting more. Versus the present storyline, that I found more difficult to stay connected to and felt it just didn’t mesh with the feel of the rest of the book.

    Overall I found it to an enjoyable read and would recommend!

    This was a very large and engaging Traveling Sister read!

    Thank you to Edelweiss for an ARC to review.

    For this review and our full Traveling Sister review please visit Brenda and Norma's fabulous blog:

  • Navidad Thelamour

    proved to be a breezy and exciting read in all of the best ways. The hooks were there, pulling me further and further into the story until I became one with it. Until the hou

    proved to be a breezy and exciting read in all of the best ways. The hooks were there, pulling me further and further into the story until I became one with it. Until the hours and pages flew by alike and I realized I’d finished it all in one sitting. Who isn’t intrigued by the thought of “throw away” girls from a time long ago? Simone St. James makes her own literary footsteps in shoes she fills well, for

    is most definitely Ruth Ware meets Fiona Barton with an American Northeast twist.

    If that line wasn’t enough to tell you

    what to expect here, I’ll elaborate. This novel reminded me of an equal cross between and

    and

    from the very start. The writing style is very similar—fluid and paced so that the read flies by breezily, tinged with intrigue. Even the theme of camaraderie among boarding school girls—their mischief, their backstories, their own haunting pasts—investigated in present-day scenes by a character who also has skin in the game, is the same. Here, you can even cozy up to the same scenery: wide open fields ringed with thickets of trees and old dirt gravel roads of the past. These novels were all cut from the same cloth, though they all told their stories in a way of their own.

    While so many thrillers suffer from too many ideas in the plot,

    weaves together a handful of story lines with just the right recipe. A chase here, a haunt there—a thrilling journey to the end—all brought to a boil and served up heartily leaving me full and satisfied in the end. None of the story lines felt overpowering or underdeveloped; they all fit together hand in hand, seamlessly drawing me back and forth between two periods of time over sixty years apart. Because of this skillful flow, St. James’

    read at a quick pace, allowing me to immerse myself in the story without interruption. That’s half the battle with a thriller, right? I was most impressed with the handling of the ghost story here in this novel. It was brilliantly done, haunting me as it haunted those four girls—never overdone or melodramatic, relying on parlor tricks like flashing lights and other theatrics; this ghost was a leading lady all her own and deserving of the space she occupied with those pages.

    As is sometimes a danger with thrillers, I will say that there were a few areas that were obviously formulaic, plucked straight out of the “thriller-with-a-villain” motif and those couple of sections in the novel made me cringe enough to warrant shaving off a star. BUT, the rest of St. James’ The Broken Girls was deftly handled and intricately woven in a way that made me want to come back for more. I highly recommend this novel for anyone in need of a cozy thriller and for absolutely anyone who has read and loved Ruth Ware or Fiona Barton, because these

    served up more twists than I’d expected and more intrigue than so many novels of the same genre, scoring an easy and strong 4 stars. ****

    **Thanks to the publicity department at Berkley / Penguin Random House for reaching out to me to review this book!**

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  • (Bern) Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas

    4 Haunting Stars for

    is part paranormal story, part mystery and I enjoyed how Simone St. James blended the two together. I was actually surprised by how much I enjoyed the ghost aspect of the story.

    The story unfolds via two separate storylines, set decades apart.

    In 1950, a girl gets off a bus and goes missing. The only people who are convinced something is wrong are her roommates.

    4 Haunting Stars for

    is part paranormal story, part mystery and I enjoyed how Simone St. James blended the two together. I was actually surprised by how much I enjoyed the ghost aspect of the story.

    The story unfolds via two separate storylines, set decades apart.

    In 1950, a girl gets off a bus and goes missing. The only people who are convinced something is wrong are her roommates. Fellow troubled girls, Katie, CeCe and Roberta, know Sonia didn't just run away but no one cares enough to really investigate.

    Years later in 2014, Idlewild is set to be reopened. Journalist, Fiona Sheridan is drawn to the land as it is where her older sister was found murdered 20 years before. She decides to write about the restoration for a local paper and uncovers so much more than she bargained for.

    I was engrossed by the storyline and all its secrets. The mysteries of the deaths of these two girls with the added layer of a ghost haunting Idlewild kept me turning the pages. I really enjoyed the 1950's storyline and found each of the girls' backstory interesting. Their bond was touching and I appreciated their friendship in light of all the hardship they suffered.

    There were several plot twists here and some I definitely didn't see coming!

    was a suspenseful and haunting read that I thoroughly enjoyed.

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