The Broken Girls by Simone St. James is a mystery book with a paranormal element about an abandoned girls school and the not quite solved murder of the heroine’s sister.
The Broken Girls
Fiona Sheridan’s journalistic instincts keep taking her back to the abandoned girls school where her sister’s murdered body was found. Although the killer sits in jail, Fiona knows something is not right, and it keeps bringing her back. But when the unexpected renovation of the school uncovers another body, Fiona is in for a mystery she never thought she’d need to solve.
You know I love character-driven fiction, and I loved the cast of The Broken Girls. The story is told in parallel timelines between 1950 and 2014.
Fiona has all of the flaws I would expect someone touched by murder would have, but they are challenged by her journalistic tendencies. She’s strong but not perfect, and you just know she’s going to get into trouble.
The cast of girls in the school in 1950 each are carefully painted with their own flaws and challenges, but you can see them. More, you can feel why their bond was inevitable. Idlewild is where all of the broken girls were sent in a bygone time, and the reader can’t help but root for these girls who were never given a chance.
And then there’s Mary…
When a Ghost Asks to Be Let In…
The Broken Girls is a chiller, and Mary is its ghost. Mary haunts the school in a particularly terrifying way. Any time she can get one of the girls alone she haunts them by plaguing their weaknesses. She targets exactly where she knows they are most vulnerable.
For CeCe, it’s holding her under the bathwater just like her mother held under the ocean waves when she tried to drown her.
You get the picture. I was thoroughly, delicious, happily terrified. St. James applies the exact amount of pressure where you want it most.
I freaking loved the relationship between Fiona and her boyfriend, Jamie. It was so satisfyingly realistic. They fought, they made up, they struggled. No drama. No flat and steady lovey dovey nonsense. These were two honest people with challenges that clashed, and it was such a breath of fresh air. Further, it added a lovely dimension to the plot that was entirely unexpected.
Like The Lost Village by Camilla Sten, I ate this book up. The setting is an abandoned, decrepit and obviously haunted girls school in the wilds of Vermont. Do I even need to say more?
This was my first Simone St. James book, and I am already eagerly working my way through her back list. If you want mystery with a paranormal element that will scare the socks off of you, be sure to check out all of her books.