The Broken Girls

The Broken Girls

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...

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Title:The Broken Girls
Author:Simone St. James
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The Broken Girls Reviews

  • Lori Lamothe

    Superb Gothic Suspense - Highly Recommended

    Simone St. James’ latest novel is indeed about the broken. The abandoned Vermont girls school where the book is set is a crumbling echo chamber, an ominous place rumored to be haunted. Fiona Sheridan, the freelance journalist writing a story about Idlewild’s renovation, is in no better shape. After police discover her sister’s body on school grounds in the 1990s, Fiona spends the next 20 years grieving. Then there are the four girls who attended Idlewi

    Superb Gothic Suspense - Highly Recommended

    Simone St. James’ latest novel is indeed about the broken. The abandoned Vermont girls school where the book is set is a crumbling echo chamber, an ominous place rumored to be haunted. Fiona Sheridan, the freelance journalist writing a story about Idlewild’s renovation, is in no better shape. After police discover her sister’s body on school grounds in the 1990s, Fiona spends the next 20 years grieving. Then there are the four girls who attended Idlewild in the fifties, one of whom vanishes and leaves only her suitcase behind. A beautiful 15-year-old whose parents send her away after a boy tries to rape her. An illegitimate daughter no one wants. An athlete whose uncle’s PTSD causes her to stop speaking. A Holocaust survivor who has no one besides her friends. Last but by no means least, there is the original “broken girl,” a ghost clad all in black who shows people what they least want to see.

    As the novel unfolds Fiona’s research leads her to discover secrets not only about the girl who was murdered in 1950, but about her sister’s death as well. Told from alternating viewpoints that shift between 1950 and 2014, "The Broken Girls" is a gothic page-turner that I could not put down (there is even a scene reminiscent of one in "Wuthering Heights," my all-time favorite book). The plot is extremely well done and the Idlewild girls were compellingly believable. In one way or another, they are all a source of shame for those who know them. After their roommate disappears, the remaining three friends learn the most important “lesson” of all: nobody really cares what happens to a broken girl. Or at least no one but another damaged girl haunted by death. Not surprisingly, Fiona’s efforts to solve both cases put in her danger—with both earthly and supernatural forces. What does it take to fix the broken--or is that even possible? Those are two secrets I'm not going to reveal.

    "The Broken Girls" is the first Simone St. James novel I’ve read so I don’t know if all her books are this good. What I do know is that if you’re looking for a riveting ghost story that will keep you up until you finish it, this is the book for you.

    Much thanks to Berkley Publishing and NetGalley for an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

  • Kendall

    "Mary Hand, Mary Hand, dead and buried under land.... Faster, faster. Don't let her catch you. She'll say she wants to be your friend...."

    What a bloody brilliant story! The Broken Girls by Simone St. James is a creepy, chilling, and BOLD ghost story. Oh my gosh... I absolutely loved how Simone created a mystery within a paranormal/ghost story. I have read previous novels where authors have tried to create a paranormal feel to the mystery/thriller and it failed miserably but wow... I am utterly

    "Mary Hand, Mary Hand, dead and buried under land.... Faster, faster. Don't let her catch you. She'll say she wants to be your friend...."

    What a bloody brilliant story! The Broken Girls by Simone St. James is a creepy, chilling, and BOLD ghost story. Oh my gosh... I absolutely loved how Simone created a mystery within a paranormal/ghost story. I have read previous novels where authors have tried to create a paranormal feel to the mystery/thriller and it failed miserably but wow... I am utterly impressed with Simone's talent.

    What can I say about this novel? Plain and simple... READ it!

    Idlewild Hall is a boarding school for girls that are troublemakers or as you can say the "leftovers". Idlewild is located in Vermont and is rumored to be haunted by a woman in a black veiled dress.

    Katie, Sonia, Cece, and Roberta are roommates at Idlewild Hall who bond over this mysterious lady in black and the strange things that start happening at Idlewild until Sonia mysteriously vanishes without a trace in 1950.

    20 years later journalist Fiona Sheridan can't stop thinking about her older sister's death. Twenty years ago, Fiona's sister's body was found lying in the field of Idlewild Hall. Her sister's boyfriend has been found guilty and is serving time in prison. But, Fiona can't let her sister's case go and something isn't adding up.

    Is the death of her sister somehow linked to the missing girl Sonia in 1950? What secrets are being hidden about Idlewild Hall? Is Vermont hiding something more sinister about these mysterious girls that keep going missing?

    Simone does an amazing job with characterization and depth of illustration in this novel. I could not get enough of the beautiful writing and details in this creepy and chilling ghost story. I highly recommend this novel!

    Overall, 4.5 stars for this addicting read. Thank you to Netgalley and Berkley for an advanced arc in exchange for an honest review.

    Expected publication date: 3/20/18.

  • 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.

  • Chloe

    In 1950 Idlewild Hall is a place for unwanted, troubled girls. Four roommates Sonia, Katie, CeCe and Roberta form an unlikely strong bond over a mysterious ghost that haunts Idlewild Hall and preys on your fears till one of them disappears without leaving a clue about her whereabouts.

    In 2014 Fiona Sheridan, a freelance journalist, cannot let go of her sister’s death which happened 20 years ago on the grounds of Idlewild Hall. Even though her sister’s boyfriend was convicted of the crime Fiona al

    In 1950 Idlewild Hall is a place for unwanted, troubled girls. Four roommates Sonia, Katie, CeCe and Roberta form an unlikely strong bond over a mysterious ghost that haunts Idlewild Hall and preys on your fears till one of them disappears without leaving a clue about her whereabouts.

    In 2014 Fiona Sheridan, a freelance journalist, cannot let go of her sister’s death which happened 20 years ago on the grounds of Idlewild Hall. Even though her sister’s boyfriend was convicted of the crime Fiona always felt there was something amiss. When a mysterious buyer starts the project of restoring the abandoned building and a body is found on the grounds Fiona starts investigating the past and what actually happened the night of her sister’s death.

    The Broken Girls is my first read by Simone St. James and definitely won’t be my last. Written in alternating timelines she keeps the story flowing seamlessly. The friendship between the girls and Fiona’s love for her sister was portrayed beautifully with suspense and a ghost story added in the mix. A clever, well written book that I would definitely recommend for all mystery, suspense lovers.

    I would like to thank the author, Berkley Publishing Group & NetGalley for providing me an ARC of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

    This and more reviews at

  • Theresa Alan

    I don't believe in ghosts in real life, but I absolutely believed in the ghost of Mary Hand haunting a girls' boarding school, even after it was shut down in 1979. The writing of Broken Girls is wonderful and unique.

    The story is told during two diferent periods in history. In 2014, journalist Fiona Sheridan, daughter of a famous journalist, is still looking for more solid information on the murder of her sister twenty years earlier, even though Deb's boyfriend was convicted and has been imprison

    I don't believe in ghosts in real life, but I absolutely believed in the ghost of Mary Hand haunting a girls' boarding school, even after it was shut down in 1979. The writing of Broken Girls is wonderful and unique.

    The story is told during two diferent periods in history. In 2014, journalist Fiona Sheridan, daughter of a famous journalist, is still looking for more solid information on the murder of her sister twenty years earlier, even though Deb's boyfriend was convicted and has been imprisoned since her body was found in a field at Idlewood Hall in a remote part of Vermont.

    In 1950, we get to meet four roommates, girls abanoned because they were born outside of marriage or they're orphans or their parents just didn't know how to deal with the challenges of raising a spirited daughter, especially at a time when we don't have the knowledge about mental health that we do now (and therefore it was shameful to not be sunny and agreeable at all times if you were female). I loved these four fifteen-year-old girls. When one of them goes missing, neither the police nor the teachers do much to investigate. She's a throwaway girl. Her friends, however, know that she was murdered because she'd never run away.

    Fiona's search for the truth makes for an intriguing and enjoyable mystery. I really liked this book, which RELEASES MARCH 20, 2018.

    Thanks to NetGalley and Berkley Publishing for the opportunity to review this book.

    For more of my reviews, please visit:

  • Mary Beth

    The setting is in Vermont. There are rumors that the boarding school Idlewood 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 Idlewood 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.

  • Dennis

    What a marvelous and unexpected on-the-edge-of-your-seat kind of read! Simon St. James's

    is set in Barrons, Vermont, during two different time periods and ultimately merging into one storyline.

    1950- In a generation of people affected by the aftermath of World War II and the beginning of the Cold War, there is a boarding school in rural Vermont called Idlewild Hall. This all girls boarding school is home to many of society's "degenerates", trouble-makers, family secrets, and

    What a marvelous and unexpected on-the-edge-of-your-seat kind of read! Simon St. James's

    is set in Barrons, Vermont, during two different time periods and ultimately merging into one storyline.

    1950- In a generation of people affected by the aftermath of World War II and the beginning of the Cold War, there is a boarding school in rural Vermont called Idlewild Hall. This all girls boarding school is home to many of society's "degenerates", trouble-makers, family secrets, and

    . A group of outcasts, Katie, CeCe, Sonia, and Roberta are the best of friends, forging their time at Idlewild with their own sisterhood, showing each other that they can handle anything life throws at them, as long as they have each other.

    2014- After decades of Idlewild Hall being shutdown, a mysterious buyer decides to reopen the boarding school under suspicious circumstances. Journalist Fiona Sheridan decides to pick up the story because it is near and dear to her heart. Idlewild's operations ceased after her sister was tragically murdered by the facility owner's son. Why is Idlewild being restored? Why now, after all this time? And... who or what is looming over the property? As time progresses, secrets start unraveling at the seams. Not everything in Barrons is what it seems.

    really kept me engaged from the moment the storyline was established. It was my first read by Simone St. James and I will definitely be interested in seeing what else she has in her pocket in the future. Usually I don't like stories that follow two or more different timelines, as I feel like it becomes an over-zealous attempt at creating an in depth story, but St. James really has a good handle on weaving in the past to the present here. Slowly, each puzzle piece locks in for an epic conclusion.

  • ❀⊱Rory⊰❀

    4 Stars.

    This is a top notch dual time-line mystery, taking place in 1950 and 2014.

    It's been twenty years since Fiona Sheridan's sister Deb was murdered; her body dumped on the playing field of a now closed girls boarding school. Haunted by the tragedy, it affects every aspect of Fiona's life and unanswered questions about the murder won't let her move forward. Now, someone has decided to restore the school and a horrible discovery by construction workers on the project spurs Fiona to find answe

    4 Stars.

    This is a top notch dual time-line mystery, taking place in 1950 and 2014.

    It's been twenty years since Fiona Sheridan's sister Deb was murdered; her body dumped on the playing field of a now closed girls boarding school. Haunted by the tragedy, it affects every aspect of Fiona's life and unanswered questions about the murder won't let her move forward. Now, someone has decided to restore the school and a horrible discovery by construction workers on the project spurs Fiona to find answers to her questions about Deb's death and solve a mystery that has waited more than sixty years to be uncovered.

    St. James' talent for atmospheric settings and Gothic touches is perfect for an abandoned boarding school formerly used as a convenient place for parents or guardians to stash troublesome girls and allegedly haunted by the terrifying ghost of a woman all in black, face covered by a black veil. What's interesting is that she's used two types of haunting. Firstly, in the sense that past events can haunt the victims of abuse and terror in the form of post traumatic stress and secondly, in the traditional sense where actual ghosts may walk among us. The broken girls asks us to examine how we decide which girls or women are worthy of our pity and which just got what they deserved. Riveting, chilling, beautifully plotted, with great characters that will make you wish you had friends like these women, The Broken Girls proves Simone St. James is a master of the Gothic mystery.

    Thank you Berkley for an ARC of this book.

  • Lori

    First, I have to say how much I love this cover... it reflects the atmosphere of this novel perfectly. What could be better than a murder mystery with an interwoven ghost story. It was well paced and kept me interested the entire time. Only complaint- the ending was a bit tidy. I’ll be looking into reading more by St James. 4 stars.

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