Idlewild, a boarding school for ‘troubled’ girls, is haunted by the mysterious Mary Hand. Idlewild is isolated from the rest of the world. It houses girls from several different backgrounds. Some are illegitimate children of prominent social figures, others have dealt with traumatic experiences. These girls, along with the teachers, live in fear of the ghost.
Sixty years later, Idlewild has been abandoned and is only a site where kids hang out. A stranger has bought Idlewild for restoration, and Fiona Sheridan wants to do a story about it. For Fiona, Idlewild means more to her than most. It is where the body of her older sister was found.
While touring Idlewild with the owner’s son, the restoration crew discovers another body. Fiona and her policeman boyfriend Jamie, dig into Idlewild’s past to discover who she is and what happened to her.
Town secrets run deep, and it is up to Fiona to bring them to the surface.
The Broken Girls has been the best mystery thriller I’ve read in a long time. I used it as my ‘book on the night stand’ to read before bed and from the beginning I was creeped out. Mary Hand was truly terrifying. At several parts in the book, my heart was pounding in my chest. I haven’t read a book like this in years.
The book goes back and forth between present day and the 1960s. We get a glimpse of life at Idlewild with a group of close knit girls. We know why they are sent to Idlewild, and the experiences each of them have with Mary Hand. We follow Fiona as she tries to put the pieces together and she even has her own experiences with the ghost that haunts the property.
My favorite thing about The Broken Girls (besides the thrill) is the relationships. The close relationship that the girls have with each other is touching. They are in a place they don’t really want to be, but find comfort with each other. Fiona and Jamie’s relationship is unusual in that she’s a journalist and he’s a cop. The two don’t normally mix. But they have an interesting, easy going relationship that is refreshing to read about.
The Broken Girls by Simone St. James receives 5 stars.
I received a free eARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.