The Broken Girls by Simone St. James

March 20th, 2018 Kimberly Review 60 Comments

20th Mar
The Broken Girls by Simone St. James
The Broken Girls
by Simone St. James
Genres: Suspense Thriller
Source: Publisher
Purchase*: Amazon | Audible *affiliate
Rating: One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

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. . . .

2018 Fave MURDERMYSTERY SUSPENSE thriller well written

Mix a little paranormal woo-woo with a murder-mystery and you’ll hook me. The Broken Girls by Simone St. James did just that.  But the icing on the cake was Idlewild Hall, a gothic, menacing looking boarding school that once was home to troubled girls in the 1900’s. Hells yes!  Turn on the light and grab a cup of cocoa before settling into this story.

The Broken Girls is the first novel I have read by St. James, but I fully intend to read her again. The story opens with a young woman being chased in the woods. The reader doesn’t know who is chasing her but I was hooked.

The story takes place in a small town of Barrons, Vermont and centers around Idlewild Hall and is told from multiple perspectives in both the past and the present. This gothic suspense will sink its claws into you.

Present Day 2014: Idlewild Hall sits abandoned in a state of decay but for Fiona Sheridan, it is a place of nightmares. Her older sister was left on the grounds after being strangled by her boyfriend Tim, who now sits behind bars. Fiona now in her thirties is plagued by questions and often ends up on the old road leading to the hall. On one such early morning, a trek through the woods to the field where her sister was found brings a surprise. Someone has purchased Idewild Hall. What begins as a quest for answers, disguised as a journalist piece for the local paper soon has her caught up in a decades-old murder-mystery and seeing ghosts. Her investigations also stir up trouble in the small town where some feel things should be left well enough alone.

I liked Fiona. She is tenacious, clever and driven by her need for answers. With the help of her boyfriend James, a local police officer who just happens to be the son of the police chief involved in her sister’s case, she begins interviewing the new owners when a grizzly discovery is made.

Idlewild Hall 1950: St. James take us into the hall and introduces us to four young girls. Katie, CeCe, Roberta, and Sonia. The four are roommates in 3C and although very different they open up and lean on each other. I thought the changing POVs was brilliantly done.  It allowed us to hear each girl’s reason for being a student at Idlewild. Katie is the pretty one. She is smart, clever and the leader of their little group. CeCe is the bastard daughter of a wealthy man who sometimes sends her gifts. Roberta finds peace playing field hockey. Sonia is the smallest of the girls and suffers from what would be called PTSD today. Her story weaves in the horrors of WWII and was cleverly done.

“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… 
Do not let her in again!” 

Both past and present share a ghost story and it was creeptasic. I got chills each time this spirt made an appearance and St. James wove her brilliantly into the tales. I will not share more, as I do not want to diminish the suspense, terror, and chills for you dear reader. Just know it is one of the most chilling hauntings I have ever encountered.

I originally thought I would give this 4.5 cups of coffee, but as I sit here days later I realized just how fantastic the story as a whole was. Fiona’s sister’s murder, the events that took place at Idlewild Hall, the friends, and the freakin’ ghost. It was all rather clever how St. James allowed this tale to unfold, weaving history, politics, and originality into the story.

Fans of gothic page-turners will want to grab a copy of The Broken Sisters for their bookshelf.

Do you love Gothic page-turners? Murder? Ghosts and old boarding schools? Grab The Broken Girls by Simone St. James. #mustread #suspense #murder #paranormal Click To Tweet
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About Kimberly
Kimberly is a coffee loving book addict who reads and listens to fictional stories in all genres. Whovian, Ravenclaw, Howler and proud Nonna. She owns and manages Caffeinated PR. The coffee is always on and she is ready to chat. Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

60 Responses to “The Broken Girls by Simone St. James”

  1. verushka

    I don’t love gothic horror stories, but a book like this which has srsly only got good reviews, I have to wonder if I should try…

  2. Karen

    I am so glad to see you enjoyed this read. I also gave it 5 stars. Fantastic review, you always manage to sum up a book so well.

  3. Bookworm Brandee

    You had me at gothic. 😉 Oh, and the paranormal woowoo! LOL I had never heard of St. James but she’s being added to my tbr. This sounds very well done and I love the dual timeline element. I just finished The Alice Network which is told with a dual timeline and I loved it!

  4. Suzanne

    Oh wow, this sounds even better than I hoped it would.. I love dual time line stories and I also seem to have a thing for books set in boarding schools so this sounds like a great fit for me.. Wonderful review, Kim!

  5. Debbie Haupt

    holy heck Kim what a premise and you hooked me with your first line. Fantastic review. I’ve seen this around and am adding it right now.

  6. ShootingStarsMag

    Fantastic review! I am so curious about this one, and I’m even more excited to check it out now. It sounds like the perfect read for me. 🙂


  7. Lily

    a lot of people love this one, I’m hoping to read it soon myself o.o it looks super creepy

  8. Tyler H. Jolley

    This sounds awesome! I love a thriller with all the creepy feels.

  9. Sophia Rose

    Oh man! This does sound like a great chiller. Gothic setting and a place with secrets that come to light. Oh yes!

  10. Jennrenee

    This sounds so amazing. I haven’t read this author before either. Always looking for creepy reads. I am adding this right now.

  11. Ann Marie

    Great review! I don’t think I’ve seen one review that’s less than 4 1/2 stars. I was a little unsure because I don’t normally read paranormal but I think I’m going to have to go for it.

    • Kimberly

      While it has paranormal aspects (ghost) I think the fact that this is heavy on the mystery and suspense will make this an easy step out of your comfort zone.

  12. Lorna

    You had me at ghost, gothic and murder mystery! I went and got it to listen to just now. Thank you for the recommendation

    • Kimberly

      Sweet! I imagine this is excellent for audio. I try to keep track of audio requests since some months I have only 3 books and the rest are

      • Lorna

        Some months I’d be happy to listen rather than read, but since 95% of the time I have to buy them(except romance package ones)that doesn’t happen. When RR closes in April, I may have more opportunities to request them. Hopefully.

  13. Angela Adams

    I’m still trying to get an image of “paranormal woo-woo” (LOL). But in the meantime, I gotta read this book!!! Thanks for the post.

    • Kimberly

      Author Kat Richardson used that expression to describe elements in her Greywalker series and it stuck with me.

  14. Daniela Ark

    oh Glad to see you loved this one as much as I did! I agree this was creeptasic. I got chills too! My review is coming up tomorrow! Great review Kim!

  15. Ethan

    This one was completely off my radar until I started reading reviews. Like you, I love the mix of horror and mystery, so this one has shot to the top of my TBR list!

  16. Stefanie

    Sounds like an interesting premise. Imagine all the girls who were shipped off somewhere because they didn’t fit the family mold, especially in the olden days.

  17. kindlemom1

    Yay! So glad you loved this as well Kim, it really was good. I love all the elements to this story, well, all her stories really. Such a great blend of genres.