Historical Fiction · Mystery

Book Review – The Broken Girls by Simone St. James

Goodreads Synopsis:

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.

My Opinion:

This is a dark, creepy, atmospheric story!

This story’s synopsis is perfect. It doesn’t offer too much or too little information. So in an effort to not be repetitive I will spare you my own synopsis. I was first drawn to the cover of this book and was looking forward to a creepy mystery. Throw in a bit of historical fiction and I was darn right excited to read this book!

This story follows the famous alternating time period layout. As this story progresses in each time period, 1950 and 2014, the mystery thickens and becomes increasingly more complicated.

I found the friendship of Idlewild Hall roommates CeCe, Katie, Sonia, and Roberta quite fascinating. It is 1950 and these four girls were all send away to boarding school, they have been discarded and labeled as uncontrollable troublemakers. Were these girls actually troublemakers or when things got tough did their families decide to just send them away rather than working through their troubles? Of course my modern day thinking is quite different than the 1950’s. Things were not talked about like they are now, so I find it quite disheartening that these girls were sent away and slapped with a label so easily.

I thought it was particularly clever that the textbooks used at Idlewild Hall were the only textbooks the school has ever had. They made the perfect vessel for past and present students to tell the stories of the school’s past within those pages, really aiding to the mystery and intrigue of this story.

I enjoyed the modern day, 2014 storyline, with girlfriend/boyfriend Fiona and Jamie. I thought her being a journalist and him a cop created the right amount of tension between them. There are always trust issues when it comes to the law and the press and this relationship is no exception, as hard as they tried to not let it affect their relationship.

The vivid descriptions pulled my right into the cover of this book and brought this story to life!

*Thank you NetGalley, Berkley Publishing Group, and Simone St. James for the opportunity to read and review this book for my honest opinion.

Book Details:

My Rating: 4/5
Genre: Historical Fiction/Mystery
Series: None
Publisher: Berkley Publishing Group
Publication Date: 3/20/2018
Pages: 336 (eBook)

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29 thoughts on “Book Review – The Broken Girls by Simone St. James

  1. Great review! I’ve added this book to my list after seeing it all over the blogosphere. I do like the dual timelines in a story, and since I was young in the 1950s, I can speak to how things were not very open or accepting back then. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great review! I really enjoyed this story too! It had a lot of different elements in it, but it all worked perfectly and made the story more interesting. I like that you mentioned the textbooks! That was a really cool part of the story. -Ashley

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m very interested to read this one! I adore that cover and the author is Canadian, so those are two selling points for me. And I love a good creepy story – this one sounds perfect! And I adore books that alternate time periods between the present and past. I’ll be reading this one for sure.

    Liked by 1 person

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