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review 2020-05-04 20:46
The Broken Girls
The Broken Girls - Simone St. James

I'm so bored.
It reads like YA.
Also, I've lost which story line I am supposed to be interested in.
Bugger this.
I'm out.

 

DNF @ 57%

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review 2020-01-17 22:43
The Broken Girls by Simone St. James
The Broken Girls - Simone St. James

An excellent murder mystery/ghost story centered around the ruins of a former school for unwanted girls known as Idlewild Hall. The mystery is engaging, moving between the 1950s and the present, and the ghost story has a marvelously creepy urban legend vibe.

Highly recommended.

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review 2019-09-14 14:59
The Broken Girls
The Broken Girls - Simone St. James

The Broken Girls is set during two timelines, one being set in the 1950s in a boarding school for troubled girls and the other one being set in 2014, where a journalist starts to look into the murder of her sister, whose body has been found 20 years prior on the grounds of the aforementioned boarding school.

 

This was such a great story, wonderfully told. Often dual timelines don´t work for me and I end up liking one of the stories more than the other one. I didn´t have this problem with The Broken Girls and Simone St. James did a splendid job at bringing everything together in the end. And I was really surprised that this is more of a straight up mystery novel, interspersed with some supernatural aspects, who didn´t feel forced within the story. Everything just worked very well together.

 

What I didn´t like about the authors writing is the following:

 

He was there. She hadn´t expected him, but somehow when she saw him, she wasn´t surprised. Jamie, sitting on the floor, next to her closed apartment door, his back against the wall, his knees up. Out of uniform, wearing jeans and a T-shirt with a flannel shirt unbuttoned over it and work boots, his hair mussed. 

 

Why does she tell me what the characters are wearing? It´s not important to the story at all. Just tell me that he is out of uniform, it´s enough information to know that he is off from work. I´m perfectly capable of assuming that he isn´t sitting in the nude in front of her front door.

Simone St. James does this a few times within the book and every time I´ve become incredibly annoyed by this. If I want to read about the clothes of people, I will buy the Vogue. I most certainly don´t want to have my books cluttered up by this. I know, it´s ridiculous, but just bear with me.

 

 

 

 

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review 2019-07-19 17:53
BEST BOOK IVE READ IN AGES!!
The Broken Girls - Simone St. James

I loved this book - St. James set this tale in the perfect location, and it is both mysterious and horrifying. It is probably something I would imagine would one day become a film because it is up there with "Kiss the Girls," as far as contemporary suspense goes. The story does flash a bit back to older memories, but the way that Fiona researches her family history and that of Idlewild and the Girls of Dorm 3C makes for a great and captivating story that sunk its claws into me from page one. I normally do not have a lot of time to speed read these days, but this book actually clutched me so hard I read it all in one sitting within five hours. IT IS SO GOOD and such a page-turner that I am now intent on finding more books by Ms. St. James because of her skillset. She is a phenomenal storyteller and this story is fantastic.

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review 2019-06-24 19:59
Review: The Broken Girls
The Broken Girls - Simone St. James

I received a copy from Netgalley.

 

I love boarding school mysteries. Especially ones where there is a mix of past and present. The mystery of this one was what caught my interest in the synopsis. A journalist who can’t get over the murder of her older sister at an exclusive boarding school is still haunted by the brutal crime. Still stalking the grounds of the now closed school.

 

And discovers a body in a well. On the same grounds. To make things worse…the school is reopening.

 

The present chapters are the main character Fiona investigating, still troubled by her sister’s death, despite the fact that the culprit was caught and imprisoned and remains in prison. She seems to think there was something more to it. Despite being told to let it go. Of course, she won’t. Her police officer boyfriend seems to be slowly losing patience with her obsessiveness into this murder.

 

The past chapters tell the stories of a group of girls who all attended the boarding school in the 1950s. The school was a stowaway place for unwanted girls – from a mix of poor families and wealthy ones with secret daughters they wanted to keep hidden. The teachers were all cruel, the rules were strict, and there were frightening stories of a ghost haunting the grounds and the buildings. There was at atmosphere of mystery, gloom and unpleasantness. The girls in one dorm all around the same age, were all very different yet managed to bond and eventually share secrets.

 

One of them disappears.

 

Fast forward to modern times and Fiona’s investigation. She’s a journalist and convinces her boss to let her write a story on the upcoming revival and reopening of the school, allowing her more freedom to dig into the events surrounding her sister’s death and subsequently the discovery of the dead girl in the well.

 

To be perfectly honest I really didn’t care much about Fiona or her side of the story. She was likeable enough, but everything felt just a bit bland and cardboard cut-out. She reminded me of the same sort of journalist I’ve seen in TV movies – strong willed and independent, smart in some circumstances but irritating in others. Obsessive where she doesn’t need to be which of course leads to discovering secrets that dangerous people want to keep hidden and will go to any lengths to make sure things stay that way.

 

What really interested me was the 1950s story of the girls at the school, their histories and secrets and how they came together, the mystery when one of them disappeared. There were no obvious suspects which didn’t help matters. And the body went undiscovered for so many years.  The more Fiona digs in the more unanswered questions she finds. What leads to the truth is was really surprising.

 

There was a good sense of atmosphere and mystery, and the plot was fairly fast paced and made for a pretty good page turner. The writing was good, and made the story flow really well and easy to picture and disappear into the narrative. While I’ve already said I didn’t care for the main character, I still really enjoyed the book. I always find it a mark of a really good book when I don’t like half the characters but still really enjoy the story. I would definitely pick up something else by the same author.

 

Thank you to Netgalley and Headline for approving my request to view the title.

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