Saturday, 26 May 2018

The Broken Girls by Simone St. James

I like stories that happen on two levels, or rather two periods, especially when the two periods are necessary to one another to better understand the plot or that one can solve the other. That's why I chose this book on NetGalley. 

In this case, from the first pages, I also knew that there would be more to the reading, what with the bit of supernatural and it was not to displease me. So I was thrilled! 

And did I find everything I expected from this book? Yes, in part. The two eras are not necessary to each other, except to give an excuse to Fiona to investigate this famous school for girls with multiple secrets and the two stories could have been written apart. And as for the supernatural side, although it serves to create a particular mood, it's also not useful to the story or the resolution of the two stories. But, aside from this little setback, I enjoyed every page of this book! 

1950, Idlewild Hall is not really the school you want to go to. Families send their daughters there because they are turbulent or because they have experienced trauma they'd rather hide / shut up. The teachers are like kapos and a really dismal atmosphere reigns in the school. A group of four girls, with very different stories, share a room and create a united family... until one of them disappears into general indifference. 

In 2014, Fiona hasn't still recover from the murder of her sister 20 years ago on Idlewild Hall grounds and discovers that the cursed school is to be renovated. She tries to find out why and by whom. Fortunately, between her father, a famous journalist who opens all the doors and her boyfriend, a policeman, she conducts her investigation masterfully. But then Fiona discovers secrets that some people would prefer to stay hidden. 

Simone St. James immerses us in the atmosphere of those stifling little towns where everyone knows each other, where labels hinder the search of truth and where a former police chief and his good old method can reign supreme. This novel talks about the pain of losing a loved one and the silence that can sometimes govern the lives of those affected, of unspoken ones within a family, within a city and a police force that must find ways to do better. She speaks of courage, to find the truth, to confront ones demons, to survive, and the means that some people take to survive.

What's the story?

The “clever and wonderfully chilling” (Fiona Barton) suspense novel from the award-winning author of The Haunting of Maddy Clare...

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...

In a nutshell

A good book with well written and intelligent characters. Three stories that could have been written separately, but that allow the author to address interesting topics. It's a 4/5 for me.

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