I don’t remember who recommended The Broken Girls by Simone St. James, but who ever you are, I was supposed to be packing the house, instead I had to read this in one day. No, seriously, I had to. Amazing. So, I guess, thank you.
Basic Summary (Courtesy of Goodreads):
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. . . .
I loved this book. It balances that careful line where the prose is easy read and comprehend but the plot is so complicated you have to turn the pages faster to unravel it. St. James brings the reader along for each discovery in the three mysteries that are solved in this one 326 page book. Nothing is kept from reader, there is no “woosh, I let the main character find this out back in chapter 20 but kept it from you.” there.
The characters were believable and relatable. I liked Fiona despite not wanting to be her friend. I adored Katie, CeCe, Roberta, and Sonia. I want to say so much more about why the 1950 girls are so captivating but it would give too much away. Who they are, how they cope, is wrapped up into so much of the solutions. Another sign of a well written book.
Do not pass this one up.