Cover Image: The Broken Girls

The Broken Girls

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Member Reviews

Simone St. James is a new to me author. I found The Broken Girls to be a thrilling story and so much more than I expected.
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Thanks so much to the publisher and to NetGalley for giving me access to this book. This book fits right into my love for gothic mysteries. If your readers love spooky ghost stories this is the book for them. I will be recommending this book to my gothic loving patrons. Thanks again for the opportunity to read this book.
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Good pacing. Loved Fiona and her goal to learn about the girls who had attended Idlewild Hall.  My favorite parts were the back stories of the students at the school  Heartbreaking and so many thrown away girls, I wanted to save them all.  I wasn't afraid of the mention of ghosts, and in the end the story of her life was also sad.  
I liked the ending and resolution of what had bought all these characters together.
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Thank you NetGalley for the ARC! Wow! This is different from Simone St. James's other stories in that it wasn't pure historical fiction, but it does keep the creepy paranormal elements and a mystery to be solved.
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Wow, I really loved this book! It had everything I love in a book, amazing characters, creepy setting, layers of mystery, and a touch of paranormal. I really enjoyed the split POV between different timelines where we see what is happening and then what is perceived as to what happened. It was an interesting way to see the story.

The pace was face and I was never bored, I read this in one sitting because I needed to know how it ends, I really didn’t want to stop reading. The conclusion of the book was something I both saw coming and didn't think would happen. 

This book is perfect for readers how love thrillers with a touch of spookiness and paranormal elements.
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This story takes place at a girls' boarding school in 1950 and Vermont in 2014 as we follow a journalist revisiting the events surrounding her sister's death. I read this book in October, which was perfect because it was a spooky murder investigation. I loved watching the young girls seek love and find it in one another at a pretty unlikely place. The ending was wrapped up quickly but still a good story overall. Recommend!
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what i like most about Simone St. James is that the story can be told in one book and not dragged out in a series like most authors think they need to do.
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Simone St. James has shot to my favorite authors list after reading and loving two of her books.  I picked up The Broken Girls from my shelves because I felt sort of slumpy.  I was looking for a five star read - it felt like I had been enjoying the books that I had been reading but had been too long since the last time one truly wow-ed me.  Happily, this book was exactly what I was looking for.  I loved how this book was told in two different timelines similar to The Sun Down Motel.  In the past, we got to see the lives of four young girls who lived at the boarding school for unwanted girls.  In the present, we were brought into Fiona Sheridan's life and the struggles she was still facing to get over her sister's death.  Both storylines were compelling and completely sucked me in.  I was so intrigued and just had such a hard time setting this book down.  And I cannot help but appreciate the way that this author looks at violence against women in different ways.  In this book, she made a point of really looking at how little society cares about when certain types of women/girls go missing.  It's a refreshing change from just reading about the constant violence against women that you see in other mysteries and thrillers.  I also really enjoyed the ghostly aspects that were present in this story.  It's funny because they weren't the focus but they gave the book a spooky edge that I really enjoyed.  

Books like this are exactly why I read and love it so much!  At this point, I plan on reading everything/anything that this author writes.  The best part as that I have a decent amount of her backlist to look forward to plus she has a new book releasing in 2022 that I am highly anticipating!  Readers who enjoy suspenseful mysteries with just a slight edge of horror (she reminds me a bit of Jennifer McMahon who is another favorite author of mine), those who enjoy thrilling reads, and those readers who just want a page turning read that they cannot put down should pick this book up and give this author a try.  She really is one of my best finds from last year and I'm so glad that I didn't let this book continue to linger on my shelves.  Highly recommended!

Bottom Line:  My second five star read by this author - that should tell you everything that you need to know.

Disclosure:  I purchased the copy of this book that I read but I did receive a copy of this book originally from NetGalley and the publisher that I never got to.  Honest thoughts are my own.
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Wow the creepy factor is HIGH with this book. I was immediately hit with a spooky, gloomy, and desperate atmosphere that absolutely did not let up for the entire book.  This book is a dual POV between present tense Fiona's story and past tense in 1950.  The whole story circles around Idlewild Hall - one of the depressing and creepiest places I've read about - there is something about an abandoned school that just has the perfect vibe for a ghost story. And yes, there is a ghost and that ghost flits between stories and she is always felt in the background, even when she isn't being discussed. I loved the contrast between Fiona's obsession with figuring out her sister's murder and the story of four girls from the past, who have seen absolute horrors and are brought together at a school because no one else understands them. They may all be broken girls, but they are strong and make such a compelling unit together. I don't want to give anything away, but this gripped me from the first and never let go, even until the very last page.
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I DNFed The Broken Girls by Simone St. James at 20% because the story just wasn't grabbing me, and I heard from a few friends that a really scary part was coming up in the future and I just couldn't handle that fear and anticipation! The writing was great, as are all Simone St. James's books, but this one just wasn't the best fit for me.
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The setting of this story was so creepy, and it was the perfect backdrop for this mystery. I wasn't wowed by the story, but it was still engaging and I'm forever a fan of anything Simone St. James writes.
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This book was so good. My second by this author.  I want to devour everything she’s ever written.  This book kept me intrigued and guessing the whole way through.
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This whole book is a VIBE. I actually didn't know if I'd enjoy it going in and I'm so happy to say I loved it! Just the perfect book if you're in need of something a little moody.
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I really enjoyed reading this book.  I had a hard time putting it down and read it very quickly.  I enjoyed the current and the historical mysteries and the way they were intertwined.  There is paranormal subplot that adds to the creepy mysteries.  Fiona, a present day journalist, solves both mysteries.  I really liked the rural Vermont setting and the characters.  The mysteries are good and the solutions make sense. Enjoy this page turner.
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Wow! I can’t believe I’ve put off reading The Broken Girls for so long. It seemed like something always came up when I would get ready to read this book. She does an excellent job combining supernatural/gothic elements with contemporary settings. I will definitely be checking into more books by Miss St. James!

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley to allow me to read and review this book!
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I don’t usually like books that have ghosts or a supernatural element to them, but oddly, that didn’t bother me in this book. I’m really not sure why, but I was pleasantly surprised. It may be because I just enjoyed the story and didn’t really focus a lot on that portion. What I did enjoy about the book is the mystery portion, and how Fiona went about trying to solve the mystery about not only her sister’s death but the mystery about the discovery at Idlewild Hall. I found the book kept my attention, and I was interested in the storylines from both time periods. I thought St. James did a fine job blending the two storylines.
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Simone St. James' The Broken Girls is a suspense novel that is set in a small town in Barron's, Vermont. The story alternates between the years 1950 and 2014. The centerpiece of the story is Idlewood Hall. Idlewild was the boarding school of last resort where parents stashed their embarrassments, their failures, and their recalcitrant girls. Hidden in the backwoods of Vermont, it had only 120 students: illegitimate daughters, first wives’ daughters, servants’ daughters, immigrant girls, girls who misbehaved.

Idlewild Hall has a dark and haunted vibe you look for in a Gothic novel. Lingering shadows, chilling encounters, and the feeling that something is trying to reveal itself. In 1950, the girls all believed that the school was haunted by a girl named Mary Hand. They also believe that she was buried somewhere on the grounds.

“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!”

The main characters are Kate Winthrop, Roberta Greene, Sonia Gallipeau, and CeCe Frank. Katie, Ce-Ce, Roberta, and Sonia are roommates at Idlewild Hall. Katie is the free spirit, Sonia came to the US from Europe, CeCe is the bastard daughter of a man who doesn’t want her, and Roberta who saw something that ended up with her being sent away, is the one who plays field hockey even though they never travel to compete against other schools. Readers are given insight into why each “broken” girl is at Idlewild though chapters from their perspective.

We learn about their lives and what they’ve been through and about the mystery surrounding them all. But there is also a mystery as to what happened to Sonia on the day she disappeared without a trace after allegedly visiting people who were responsible for bringing her to the US. After Sonia’s disappearance, the remaining girls make plans to get the hell out of dodge before they come another lost girl.

In 2014, Idlewild is a decayed, decrepit, abandoned building but it appears someone is trying to revitalize the school. The mysterious benefactor chooses to remain anonymous leading Fiona to about the restoration for the local Pennysaver. She has strange feelings whenever she is near the property. Could the rumors be true that Mary Hand really does haunt the grounds? Fiona discovers something that links her sister’s death to other secrets...and something you’d never expect. As the work on the school continues, a startling discovery is revealed.

A young girl is found long dead. 20 years ago, Fiona Sheridan’s sister Deb was found murdered on the grounds of the school. The alleged killer is behind bars, but that doesn’t stop Fiona from digging into what really happened, and if others may have been involved. As a freelance journalist, Fiona knows that things just don’t add up. She knows that if she does find out more than has been revealed, it will likely shatter her father’s life. The closer Fiona gets to the truth, the more danger she is in. The more danger she is in, the more the past catches up with the present.

The Broken Girls is part mystery, part occult, part paranormal. It took me way too long to actually read this book, but I have vowed to use November and December to catch up on books that I have been eager to read. This book didn’t disappoint. I do like a bit of a ghost story now and then. The 1950’s story was better than the present. I liked that there is a constant flow that allows one to easily breeze through the story in a sitting or two. I was eager to find out the truth about Mary Hand and wasn’t surprised when the author finally reveals the truth. Holy cats.
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While I deeply enjoyed unraveling the mystery of Idlewild Hall in the past and the present, I found myself let down by the supernatural elements of the story. The characters felt full and dynamic and the story fascinated me, but the ghost/haunting aspects of the story that arose again and again never managed to appear in frightening ways. It made me wish there was never a ghost, and the mystery was only centered around a murder and a missing girl. I’d say read if you must, but when you hit the “I Will Survive” part, don’t say I didn’t warn you.
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Traveling With T’s Thoughts:

SO many people have been telling me to read this book for EVER and I kept meaning to. And then after absolutely LOVING The Sun Down Motel,I vowed 2020 would be the year I read The Broken Girls.

What I Liked:

The cover- although not as eye catching as The Sun Down Motel- still a good cover.

Fiona. I loved her character- also I loved how she was a reporter dating a cop- talk about some conflicts of interest.

The ending- I loved how this story was wrapped up.


Bottom line: For me, I did enjoy The Sun Down Motel a bit more- but The Broken Girls is def a good book.


*This book was sent to Traveling With T for review consideration. All thoughts and opinions are mine alone.*
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This novel is one of those ones where you pick it up and you will not put it down until the last page. I'm always a big fan of books that have multiple timelines and this one executed that very well! In a lot of ways, it reminded me of a modern day gothic style novel. There was enough spookiness too it but it wasn't over-the-top. There were quite a few twists and turns throughout the novel that it kept me on my toes and wanting me to keep reading because I just had to know what was going to happen. I'm not usually one to pick up horror or ghost stories but I'm really glad I took the chance on this one! I'm looking forward to reading more by Simone St. James in the future!
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