The Broken Girls
Author: Simone St. James
Narrator: Rebecca Lowman
Publication Date: March 20, 2018
Publisher: Penguin Audio
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Historical Fiction
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
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…
Last year, I read The Sun Down Motel. I enjoyed that book so much that I knew I wanted to read some of Simone St. James’s back list. I decided to start with the audiobook of The Broken Girls. I was intrigued by the blurb and loved the cover. By the time I finally got it from my library, I had completely forgotten what it was about. That made this listen very interesting because I had no idea where the story was going or how the two timelines were connected at first.
The Broken Girls didn’t quite captivate me the way The Sun Down Motel did. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy The Broken Girls. I did. Rebecca Lowman brought the story to life in a great way. I love her voice and narration. I enjoyed Fiona’s POV and the mysteries she was trying to solve. Her POV was especially interesting considering her thoughts and opinions were skewed by the untimely murder of her sister. I loved the ghost aspect of the story and was curious as to why Mary was haunting the halls of Idlewild. Plus, there were some great twists.
All of these good things being said, there were still a couple things that prevented this book from wowing me. First, the two timelines didn’t mesh as well as I wanted them to. I think part of the issue was the past timeline. It was in four different POVs and it took me a while to keep the girls and their stories straight. It was too distracting. I get why the four were used, but I also think it might have been better to just have it be Katie’s POV. Second, I loved the ghost aspect, but it also ended up feeling a little anticlimactic at the end. I wanted there to be a better tie in or timeline all of its own.
Despite those two things, I did end up enjoying listening to this book. It moved at a good pace and kept my curiosity going. It was a good mystery.