Cover Image: The Broken Girls

The Broken Girls

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Member Reviews

Love me some Simone St. James! This book was everything I was hoping it would be and more. I absolutely love spooky ghost stories in general, and then add in a great mystery along with them and I am set. The characters were so well-written and the pace was perfect. Can’t wait to read more from her!
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I liked the ghost story (and freely admit I'm a lightweight when it comes to being creeped out) until the very end, when I was just kind of confused. Lots of convenient coincidences that helped the plot along, but I enjoyed it anyway.
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Fun, interesting take on the boarding school mystery. Starts off pretty slow though, so it took me a while to get into it. But then it ramped up and I couldn't put it down.
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Simone St. James writes a good ghost story.  And The Broken Girls is no exception.  The characters, even (or especially?) the ones no longer living, are captivating and the reader is pulled into their stories.  This particular book is timely with respect to historic refugee populations in the USA as well as the current refugee situation.  As is generally true for her books, Ms. St. James also leads the reader to ask about the value society puts on women.  I strongly recommend this book for anyone who's looking for a good ghost story.  I also give it kudos for being a social commentary that doesn't punch you in the face; instead, the reader is presented with thought-provoking situations and left to ruminate.
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This novel has all the great gothic elements; ghosts, boarding school,  and murder,  The pacing kept me reading non-stop.  The story switched between the current time period and the past at the boarding school.   I loved the ghost element which made this really spooky.   I loved the writing style.
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Really enjoyed this! It was interesting a creepy. I was left guessing quite a bit. I didn’t really get to a point where I didn’t want to put it down, but I enjoyed the duel timeline and how everything played out. The writing was also fantastic.
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This was October's Girlybookclub choice and it ended up being a nice change from what we have read the last few months. I'll be the first to admit I am a bit of a wimp when it comes to ghost stuff so this one nearly did me in a couple times. This turned out to be one of those books you don't want to put down. I read it fairly quickly as it isn't too long but I needed to know what was going to happen. In the end I was not exactly impressed with how it wrapped up so neatly or how rushed the last few chapters felt but I would still recommend the book.
Our book club meeting had the 2nd biggest turnout this year and the majority rated the book 4-5. As always happens after talking it through some of those ratings dropped a bit. It was agreed that while the two storylines were weaved together one could have been dropped without really affecting the story...but then you wouldn't have that ghost creep factor!
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At the beginning of the book I wasn't sure if I wasn't going to get through, ghost stories aren't a favourite genre of mine.  I was happy that the few startling scenes didn't carry through the rest of the book.  There were a few good plot twists through the book and few predictable twists.
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3.5 rounded up to 4. This book was engaging. I couldn’t put it down because I liked the pace and wanted to know how the story unravelled. However, I was underwhelmed by the ending. I was looking for a strong linkage between the story of Mary Hand and the murders at Idlewald, but they were almost two different stories being discussed together.
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A fun read that kept my interest and kept me guessing how it would end. This was different from the books I typically read, but I really enjoyed it!
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This booked failed to truly connect with me on any level. First off, the plot devices used were lazy. Anytime the lead character hit a dead end, a new witness appeared out of nowhere, suddenly eager to talk, A Google search showed her the identity of the killer. Documents that have been lost for 60 years? They were in this woman's shed all along, and she would love the lead character to have them! The second thing that made this a dull read was the repetition. First we hear a theory in the 2014 timeline, then we watch it unfold in the 1950 timeline, and then we watch the lead character confirm her theory again in the 2014 timeline. Then we hear it a few more times while she shares it with others or re-tells it during an interview. There were really no plot twists or surprises anywhere in this book. The language used by the author brought nothing new to the table - a few cliches sprinkled here and there, but very little creativity. The descriptions of the surrounding environment did not land, and could have been done so much better. I did not feel the creepy atmosphere that other readers praise this book for. Overall this was sub-par, and I had very little investment in this story.
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The Broken Girls was a great mix of mystery, historical fiction, looking at friendships and romance all tied into one book.  I cared about all of the characters (including the spooky Mary Hand) and could not put this book down once I picked it up.  Simone St James did a great job of jumping back and forth between the time periods and the dual story lines really played well off each other.  I read enough mystery and psychological thrillers that I can often smell the twist at the end coming from a mile away, but with this book, I was utterly surprised at the twist.  I highly recommend this book.
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Am I sorry I didn't read this sooner! What a fantastic spooky mystery/thriller!

Told through two separate (or are they?) stories, one in 1950 and one in 2014, we see the lives of the girls of Idlewild Hall and the surrounding town in Vermont.  

1950 Vermont is the story of a group of girls that their families and society have deemed disposable and sent to live in the depressing conditions of their boarding school, Idlewild.  A vengeful ghost roams the grounds and one of the girls goes missing. Did she run away? Was it murder? Did the ghost kill her?

In 2014 Vermont, we meet journalist Fiona Sheridan obsessed with her sister's death years ago.  She is literally haunted by the memories and the mystery surrounding the case.  Her sister's body was found on the old grounds of Idlewild and Fiona can't help but be drawn to it.  With renovations beginning on the old boarding school, Fiona starts to investigate the mystery of the missing girl in 1950 and her sister's own death. 

This mystery/thriller was fantastic! The supernatural parts were atmospheric and creepy. The mystery of both 1950/2014 unfolded so well and let the reader figure it out as they read.  I stayed up way too late to get to the satisfying conclusion! Highly recommend!
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The Broken Girls was such a unique and twisted novel. The story goes back and forth between 1950 and 2014 but it wasn’t hard to keep up with the storyline overall. It flowed really well and it really sets the stage on what all is happening. The author really put a lot of work into the research of this book and it shows quite well. 

I was captivated from the very start of this book and as the book progressed it really consumed me. Some parts were disturbing but I felt as if it was necessary to the story. Overall, this is a very well rounded story with lots of intrigue, mystery, and suspense. 

I would definitely read more from Simone St. James
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The story is set in a boarding school for wayward girls in Vermont. There are rumors that the school is haunted. Four roommates make friends and are doing well until one disappears.
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I've read a couple of mystery/suspense books in my lifetime and this is one of the few books that really gave me goosebumps and a good scare from page one. This was an exciting read, especially reading it lights off at night in the bedroom! Unputdownable and intriguing!
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I would highly recommend this novel. It's chock-full of interesting and likable characters, history, a delightfully scary ghost, and three intriguing mysteries. Everything gets wrapped up into a satisfying ending. (I can't help it. I love books with a proper ending and despise those with sad or incomplete endings) There ARE some sad themes and of course murder, but these are introduced early and are the plot of the book.
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The Broken Girls was an interesting mystery with a bit of a paranormal twist that I wasn't expecting. While I love paranormal stories, I don't usually like them mixed into a murder investigation like this, but for whatever reason, it seemed to work without being tacky.  When rumours that an old, run-down boarding house about to be renovated actually become reality, it can't be helped that an old murder from twenty years ago is brought up in the media drawing further attention to the project because the old murder happened on the house's grounds.  Naturally, being old and run-down, stories persist about it being haunted. Now this is definitely my kind of thing to read. 

The story actually alternates between two time periods, 2014 and 1950.  The first is told from Fiona's point of view, which is kind of the one I found the most interesting simply because Fiona's sister was the one murdered twenty years ago and I found her story fascinating.  I liked how her grief wasn't pushed aside but rather acknowledged as real even though it's been so long. I also liked how it's woven throughout her friendships and in her relationship with her dad, a famous journalist himself.  The moments when they confront their grief as they discover new clues in their hunt for the truth are well-written.  I liked how the author doesn't just gloss over how difficult it was for everyone and how life was like when something like that happens.

The other story line, in 1950, was told from multiple perspectives, but it was woven quite seamlessly into the first which made the jump back and forth quite easy.  And while I found the first story line more interesting, that isn't saying much because I pretty much devoured this book in several hours. You were able to understand the points of view of the four girls who were friends and roommates and of course, their secrets were revealed as the story progressed, woven into the first story line, as clues were discovered.  Quite well done actually.  And there are a lot of secrets to discover, some of which I figured out and one main one which I didn't.  I still love that element of surprise, makes the reading experience so much richer.

Interesting enough, the paranormal aspect to this story actually became my favourite part of the book.  It definitely gave it a gothic feel, making the whole thing feel spooky.  The atmosphere kept me immersed in the book and I loved the mystery feel of it.  However, I will have to say that I was kind of disappointed in the end  as I felt too many coincidences were happening, and it felt like the author was losing control of the story, like a runaway train with you trying to jump on.  I'm all for coincidences, but when too many are used as plot points, it gets old, fast, and then the writing gets all mixed up and confused.  

The Broken Girls is a good, entertaining story with a gothic feel. I enjoyed the characters and thought the story flowed quite nicely, until the end, with a nice paranormal aspect thrown in for good measure.  Definitely recommend this book for those of you who like dual story lines, good writing, interesting mystery, and an intriguing mystery.
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Not what I wanted, not what i asked for. Dnfed after 40 pages. ..........................not for me at all. Thanks.
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I was disappointed by this one. I was excited by the synopsis and the dual timelines because that usually works to build upends in such an exciting way. Unfortunately it seemed to drag the story out to the point that I lost interest and no longer really cared about the big plot points.
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