The Broken Girls by Simone St. James

Setting: Vermont
Genre: Mystery/Suspense
Publisher: Berkley
Author: Simone St. James
Release Date: March 20, 2018

Set in 2014 and the 1950s, The Broken Girls is a haunting mystery that's both endearing and spooky. Journalist Fiona Sheridan is still haunted by her sister's murder. She's convinced that her sister's popular boyfriend was to blame, but she also feels there are things that aren't quite right about the case. When new owners purchase a long-abandoned school for troubled girls, Fiona dives in with plans to cover the story of the school's past and future.

Things end up dragging Fiona own a road she's not ready for. A body of a girl is found in a well on the property. It brings memories of her sister's murder. Fiona makes it a goal to uncover the truth about this former student who was believed to have run away. The more Fiona digs, the more she realizes that her instincts into her sister's murder may have been right all along.

I always love books that have a very familiar setting. While I had my guesses as to where Idlewild Hall and it's surrounding town was supposed to be located, Burlington was spot on. As the main character walked down South Winooski Avenue, I knew exactly where she was. I've walked down that street and past those stores many times.

In The Broken Girls, the story bounces back and forth between past and present. The main focus is on the disappearance of the young girl in the 1950s. Fiona's sister's murder is secondary to that. The story, at times, delves into the supernatural. I found myself feeling chills, wanting to know what would happen with these girls in the 1950s, and even delving farther back into the history of the area.

It's an enjoyable story that never truly proved perplexing. It was finely tuned into the atmosphere of the times and area. When a big revelation is made, I wasn't shocked. Yet, despite having an instinct as to where the sister's murder was heading, I found myself thoroughly enjoying the ride.


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