Author: Simone St. James
Platform: Book of the Month
1950 – Mary Hand, a woman in a black veil and dress, haunts the grounds of Idlewild Hall – a place to stash away the unwanted and rebellious girls. Cece, Katie, Roberta, and Sonia are students living in fear at Idlewild. Their first-hand encounters with Mary Hand bring them closer together until their world is ripped apart by the disappearance of one of their friends.
2014 – In 1994, twenty-year-old Deb is found dead on the field of the now closed and dilapidated Idlewild Hall. She was dropped there like trash and left to be memorialized by a quaint town. Fiona, a journalist, is still haunted by the death of her sister. Something just feels off. And now, Idlewild Hall is being renovated?
The Broken Girls isn’t your average murder suspense novel. While the ingredients may seem commonplace – a journalist trying to find answers to a loved one’s murder – there is a haunting element to this novel that gives you the heeby-jeebys.
At first, the two timelines seem completely disjointed. The only connection that I felt was the location. Borrringgg! It felt like I was reading two different stories. The 1950 Idlewild, which had me captivated by the chilling moments with Mary Hand. And then the 2014 Idlewild that was rather dull. But after powering through half of the novel, the clues started falling into place. Questions started coming to mind. And now I’m hooked.
Unfortunately, there is a lot of lazy writing in this novel. Now, I’m not over here saying I’m perfect. I have typoes and I have a habit of writing “stream of consciousness style”. But some of the sentences in this book just ripped me out of the moment and had me seriously annoyed. No published book should ever have a sentence that says “she had had”.
That aside, If you can bring yourself to push through the first half of the novel and gloss over the writing snafus, I promise you won’t be disappointed. There are unexpected twists and unexpected un-twists in this novel that all left me surprised, entertained, and a little creeped out.