Cover Image: The Burning Girls

The Burning Girls

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Member Reviews

(Hmm, still mulling over this one. I have to preface this with the caveat that I don’t tend to read many mysteries/thrillers, let alone enjoy them. I like branching out into other genres beyond my comfort zone, though, and this was a solid thriller-y read.)

Reverend Jack Brooks and her teenage daughter Flo arrive in a small village in Sussex that has long been haunted by deaths and disappearances. They both become embroiled in the local lore, which involves 500 year old martyrs reappearing as ghosts, the previous vicar’s suspicious death, and the decades-old unsolved case of missing teenage girls. Jack’s relationship with Flo is at the center of this story, which fuels much of the action. The two get along well, but sometimes struggle with truth and honesty. I enjoyed their dynamic, especially as we get to see events unfold from both of their perspectives as the book carries on. Some of the other village residents are intriguing — the local journalists were my personal favorites. 

This was a twist-filled story, which may have had a stronger impact on me if I hadn’t guessed many of them along the way. But even after solving some of the mysteries, I kept reading, as I was interested and invested in the story and (especially) the characters. However, I wanted to know how the pieces I thought I had figured out fit together, and yet the resolution wasn’t entirely satisfying to me.

2.5/5: A small-town English mystery with some intense religious (Anglican) themes and an interesting cast of characters. Mystery fans should enjoy this one; it didn’t connect to me as much as I wanted it to, but I can see this being a popular pick. If nothing else, it is compulsively readable!

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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"The greatest gift the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist." - The Usual Suspects

This book started slowly for me, and I found myself wondering what all the hype was about, but as I kept reading, I quickly realized what all the hype was about. This book will slowly creep up on you, tap you on the shoulder, and grab your attention and give you the creeps all at the same time. So, what I am saying is, if this book begins slowly for you, hang in there because the proverbial you-know-what is about to hit the fan.

Five hundred years ago in Chapel Croft, eight protestant martyrs were burned at the stake. Thirty years ago, in Chapel Croft, two teenage girls vanished without a trace. Two months ago, the local vicar killed himself.

Vicar Jack Brooks, a single mother of a fourteen-year-old daughter arrives in Chapel Croft hoping to make a fresh start. She is welcomed by an old exorcism kit and an interesting bunch of parishioners. Some welcoming, some guarded, some are downright hostile. Soon Jack's daughter Flo begins to have sightings...

If you think you know where this book is heading, think again. I love that I couldn't quite figure this book out but looking back there were several red herrings that upon finishing, I thought "of course" but hindsight is 20/20 as they say.

I really enjoyed how this book unfolded. She slowly built her story which was multilayered and then when the end was near, she had me on a roller coaster ride of twists, turns, and revelations. Notice I said revelations as there was more than one big reveal. Whew! C.J. Tudor has done it again and proved that she is a master storyteller.

Well written, well thought out, creepy with mounting tension and suspense. The Burning Girls does not disappoint.

Thank you to Random House - Ballantine and NetGalley who provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All the thoughts and opinions are my own.
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C.J. Tudor has been on my auto-read list since The Chalk Man, so I was delighted to read this new novel early. Tudor knows how to write a fantastic thriller and this book is no different. If you liked Tudor with The Chalk Man, you'll definitely love this one.
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Well, now.......

The Burning Girls is like a leather sack filled with crinkled, numbered envelopes. You follow along tearing into each one, number by number, only to have your head spinning in a completely different direction than the previous envelope's reveal. Maddening mayhem of the best kind.

C.J. Tudor introduces us to Reverend Jack Brooks, a vicar currently residing in a Nottingham parish with her teenage daughter Flo. (Flo is gonna steal your heart away in this one.) Bishop Durkin calls Jack in and informs her that she will serve as the interim vicar at Chapel Croft in Sussex. Juast as she begins to object, the bishop reminds her of some unfortunate business in Jack's former parish at St. Anne's. She concedes quickly to the move. Hmmm.......(I can hear that first envelop ripping open.)

Chapel Croft is in deplorable condition and Jack and Flo's cottage is seedy beyond words. We meet Reverend Rushton who fills them in on the history of the parish. It seems that Queen Mary in 1556 had a penchant for purging the land of Protestants by having them burned at the stake. There were six martyrs burned on the church grounds with two being young girls. The parish built a monument to them and continues to leave strange little twig figures in commemoration. If you see the girls, you may be in danger. Shuffling another envelope.

Now Reverend Jack is not your typical vicar bursting into Bible verses and sacred hymns. She's down-to-earth, painfully human, made a lot of mistakes kind of clergywoman. She exists in the uncertain world of raising a fifteen year old who is strong-willed and filled with wanderlust. But as we shuffle those envelopes, we will slowly come to realize that Jack has some deeply held secrets that she wills not to come to the surface.

And Chapel Croft is infused with its own secrets held for centuries and some more in line with the present. There were two young girls who disappeared in 1990 from the village never to be found. And the vicar who preceded Jack met with an awful fate. Jack is now caught between a rock and a hard place. Not much wiggle room here for her as we squirm while the storyline will take on quite a macabre tone leaning in on some darkly painted horror. 

C.J. Tudor's style is changing more into a Stephen Kingish (Is that a word?) flavor than her original books. Her talent allows her to dip a toe into different genres. She's really hit a high note with her mother/daughter relationship in The Burning Girls. The dialogue is genuine and filled with snappy comebacks and humor. C.J. Tudor is a pro when it comes to her characterizations. As we've come to learn in general, if a storyline is not peopled with the right people, it goes nowhere. Never a problem in the hands of the superb C.J. Tudor.

I received a copy of The Burning Girls through NetGalley for an honest review. My thanks to Random House (Ballantine Books) and to the talented C.J. Tudor for the opportunity.
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What happens when the new priest takes over a parish that might be haunted? This was a good one. Anything by CJ Tudor is something I want to read. This one was creepy and twisty with a true surprise ending. Completely didn't see it coming.
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Tudor's best yet! 

The Burning Girls holds a hint of historical fiction while blending in some horror, thriller, and even paranormal elements.  I loved it. 

There were plenty of unexpected twists in the story.  Though I picked up on one of the major mysteries pretty early on, it was interesting enough to see how the discovery would play out with the other characters.
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It the most wonderful time of the year! CJ Tudor and her amazing publishers have begun to bless this hellish world with none other than ARCs for a 2021 release. And I am one lucky DOB (SOB but with daughter) because these publishers offer me Read Now rights since I’ve been hooked on this beautiful broad since her debut. While I absolutely am taken with her writing and storytelling, I can admit that not all have been as top tier as The Chalk Man. Yet I’ve never finished one of her stories disappointed or outright guessed the storyline. For that, I have to give all the praise because thrillers can be down right predictable. But my girl keeps it fresh with her twists and a pinch of super natural.

First, I don’t even bother reading synopsis for Tudor’s books because why? If this woman is producing words, I am reading them. Therefore, if you chumps want a rundown of this story, read it by the best woman for the job: CJ Tudor.

So let’s now get into the good and the bad of this story.

The Good. Lately, I’ve not been jiving well with my narrators and or protagonists. I was happy to find that I could easily connect with Jack (Mom) and Flo (teenage daughter). They are both likable. Jack being a vicar gives a fresh perspective to the career with a side of sass. But she is a Godly woman so she keeps the sarcasm to herself. Which was incredibly relatable. Flo on the other hand is a teenager which I find can be hit and miss when it comes to my level of patience with the age range. But Flo was incredibly likable. She was written well without the extra angst and whine that go along with the teenage stereotypes readers encounter.

Tudor also did readers a service by including a variety of characters. One of the greatest mistakes thriller writers can make is not including a range wide enough to keep readers guessing as to “whodunit?” This is something that I really appreciate simply because knowing the culprit takes away the fun of the twist. Speaking of twist. I truly enjoyed the ending. I saw parts of the first big omission coming but the further unload was quite a treat.

The Meh. I am going to shoot you straight right now. This story was never boring to me. I felt entertained and invested. But I also could say I felt a bit meh about it until the end. It was hard to tell a bit where the focus was heading initially. We get a true thriller taste with our third narrator and other little tidbits. But the super natural element was included pretty early on in numerous ways. But that just sort of faded with a brief explanation in the end.

I also feel like CJ Tudor brushed off some other explanations. We very briefly figure out our third narrator at the end. But I will admit that I wasn’t completely satisfied with the explanation. It felt breezed through and incomplete to me. I would call it a half-ass explanation. I know more than I did but it feels like some huge chunks are still missing and I desperately need to understand. Additionally, I’ve felt like Tudor did this in her last novel The Other People. She is telling these stories with small stories on the side. While it is entertaining, I feel as if I wanted that smaller story more than the story told. Does that make sense?

Overall, I am going to give this story a 3.5 star rating rounded down to 3 stars.

I am straight up going to admit that I felt so strongly about her debut that I secretly feel as if I’ll never get that high again. But I am here for her mind and writing. She is a talent that is here to stay and made a name for herself from the get. My kind of gal.

Thank you NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group for the read!
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C. J. Tudor is officially one of my favorite authors. This book had more twists and turns than ever, and almost all of them surprised me. There’s a robust plot in place that has several characters. Somehow, though, Tudor managed to give all of them an ending that was appropriate.

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing an ARC. This review contains my honest, unbiased opinion.
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Part thriller, part horrifically ominous in its feel, C.J Tudor once again creates a magnetic, jagged tale that is nearly impossible to put down. THE BURNING GIRLS is raw, dark and gritty and it all takes place in the remote English countryside where young girls have been dying for centuries and no one who knows will admit why. Is the devil at work or has an over-zealous community allowed those of faith to become demons of death, themselves?

C.J. Tudor pulls no punches in creating an atmosphere of darkness and characters with a dark side to them all. Often hard to read, yet always strangely magnetic, once again, this author boldly tosses out the rule books and writes from the gut!

I received a complimentary ARC edition from Ballantine Books! This is my honest and voluntary review.
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Ok, so this was quite different from the past two I've read by C.J. 
We begin with a badass, smart, quick witted female vicar Jack and her artistically talented, loner, smart daughter Flo . After an incident at her parish, involving an exorcism gone very wrong, she is assigned a position in a small town, Chapel Cross, where the 16th century burning of martyrs occurred. Jack is not really happy with the placement but she goes along with it. Her daughter would have preferred a larger city.

The congregation is pretty small and upon arriving, Jack finds out some things about her predecessor that are very disturbing. She’s also been left a box from him which includes an exorcism kit, of all things. In addition, there is also a mystery of two teenage girls who went missing 30 years ago. Jack and Flo begin to realize that the town is full of strange ways, mysteries, and suspicions. Flo is troubled by strange sightings in the old chapel and it becomes obvious that there are ghosts here that refuse to be laid to rest. Everyone has secrets and links to the village's bloody past and is keen to protect them so no one trusts an outsider. I did not see this ending coming. I did not expect the level of bullying and relational aggression. I thought it was all well done and wrapped up well.
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This book was absolutely fantastic! I could not put it down. Creepy, engaging, flawed characters that I actually cared about. I literally had to go back to the last two chapters to re-read, I was stunned! More twists than a pretzel! My new favorite by CJ Tudor, thank you so much for letting me read this!
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Another knockout novel by CJ Tudor. I have become quite the fan of her works. 

Jack is assigned to be the new vicar in a small village, Chapel Croft. Packing up their past secret, Reverend Jack and daughter, Flo, head to the small town to make their new life. Immediately upon their arrival, the history of Chapel Croft and the people who reside there come to light. Famous for the ancient history of the martyrs and the burning girls, this quaint town may be small, but hides large secrets and Jack and Flo find themselves caught into the thick of it. 

I was a little wary getting into this novel with the creepy elements and ghostly history of Chapel Croft, but I found there to be the perfect mix of action, suspense, creepy, and thrill. What I especially liked is how there were so many characters whose stories intertwined in unexpected ways. There were so many moving parts, that I found it impossible to figure out how everything would come together in the end. There were also some surprising twists, I could not see coming. I thoroughly enjoyed the ending and how all pieces were neatly fit together.
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This book definitely kept me hooked the whole time! It was such a good blend of mystery, thriller, and supernatural elements in order to make a perfectly twisted story. I loved the development of the characters and the relationships in the book. The interactions between Jack and Flo were my favorite because the author was spot on with how mothers and their teenaged daughters work. The dark elements in the book kept me guessing about what was actually going on and shocking me at the end. While dark and heavy, it is a great read for anyone who loves to be pulled through a story.
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This is my 2nd novel by CJ Tudor, I am hooked and I want more! I was given an advanced ecopy from Random House Publishing through netgalley for an honest review.

Reverend Jack Brooks is called to Chapel Croft to temporarily serve as the Vicar. Her daughter, Flo isn’t too thrilled about leaving Nottingham for the English Countryside. As soon as they arrive, they are met with the mysterious history of this small village where 500 years ago, 8 Protestant martyrs were burned at the stake, 2 of which were young girls. And what of the 2 teenage girls that had gone missing 30 years ago? Did they run away? 

Flo experiences a couple strange sightings at the chapel and Jack receives a strange box with an exorcism kit inside. Jack & Flo find themselves thrust into the mystery & suspense of this small village. Will their quest to find the truth be deadly? Jack has many secrets herself. 

I really loved this book, a lot of twists & turns. I recommend it!
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A little bit of a slow start and I was a little thrown at points as to who was narrating a specific chapter but this was suspenseful and not too twisty....just a good solid story here.
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Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for the opportunity to read and review this book.  After not enjoying Tudor's last book "Other People" I was hesitant as to whether I would like this one or not.  She sure proved me wrong!  I absolutely loved this one!  It was creepy, fast paced, and kept my suspicions alert about every single person in the small creepy town of Chapel Croft.  The ending came down as fast as a landslide! Must read if you like creepy, spooky, suspenseful books.
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Initial Thoughts
This was really good! Reverend Jack and her teenage daughter, Flo, are sent to a church with a lot of history in a small town. They do their best to make things work and fit in but some things feel off. I loved the fact that this book kept me guessing from beginning to end with plenty of twists and turns. I really liked Jack and Flo and found myself worrying about them quite a bit over the course of this story. I will say that this story straddled the line between thriller and horror at times which is something that I appreciated.

ARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley. Full review to be posted soon.
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The Burning Girls is another amazing thriller written by C. J. Tudor.  A new vicar is sent to Chapel Croft, a small town in the English countryside.  This small community has many mysteries surrounding it, and the new vicar arrives hoping to make a fresh start.  However, things are not as they seem, and many secrets are revealed.  I highly recommend this book.  I'm not sure that all the secret reveals worked for me, but I still enjoyed the ride.  Thanks to NetGalley for the free digital review copy.  All opinions are my own.
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The Burning Girls is a really good book with a lot going on. There was so much going on that I had to skip to the end to read what happened (I find that helps me to focus) and it always does one of two things: I know the ending and don't care what happened in the book and I stop reading it, or I can not wait to find out how we got to the ending.

I could not wait to find out how we got to the ending.  Again this a proper story that is also a mystery.  The characters were interesting and flawed (but aren't we all)?  C.J. does not make you wait forever before the pieces start coming together and that always keeps me reading. There were several interesting revelations all through the book. I would love to read what happens next in the characters lives.

The only downside I found was the language (and one topic) that the teenagers used.  I did not feel that any of that was necessary, I do realize that in real life people do speak this way.

Another great book.  I'm looking forward to the next one.
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I loved The Other People last year and was excited to receive this one.  The Burning Girls did not dissapoint. A little bit thriller,  little bit horror and suspense.  The story follows an unconvential vicar and her daughter to a new village in the countryside and find themselves intangled in a mystery involving some missing girls.

 Interesting story that was completly different than anything i've read recently-check.  Characters I liked and was rooting for-check. Quick thrilling ride-check.   I had to suspend some disbelief  on some things but that is par for the course on some of these kind of books.  It wasn't to the point that it took away any of the enjoyment of the story.  

***Thank you to Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine Books and NetGalley for this ARC.***
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