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The Broken Girls
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January 2020: Thriller > The Broken Girls - St. James - 4 stars

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message 1: by Jgrace (last edited Jan 18, 2020 10:49AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jgrace | 2938 comments I wanted to get to this one for Fall Flurries. It's a ghost story and it does start at the beginning of November.


The Broken Girls - St. James
Audio performance by Rebecca Lowman
4 stars

Two murdered girls, two suspenseful timelines, the gothic ruins of a 20th century girls boarding school and a ghost who dates from before the turn of the 20th century. It’s often annoying when a book bounces back and forth between 2 or more time settings, but it worked very well in this book.

In the contemporary, 2014 timeline, Fiona Sheldon, freelance journalist, continues to be obsessed with her sister’s murder, 20 years previously. Fiona is an interesting character with a detailed back story. She’s single, in her mid-thirties, and the only thing she’s got going for her is an affair with a hot younger guy. But, it’s complicated. He’s a cop, and the son of the local, small town, retired chief of police. The same chief who investigated her sister’s murder, the one who found her body dumped on the grounds of the abandoned girl’s school.

Renovations to the school provides Fiona with a journalist’s excuse to do some historical investigation, especially when a very old corpse turns up in an abandoned well on the school grounds.The story cuts to the mid-century timeline. A 15 year old student goes missing on her way back to the boarding school. It’s a boarding school for throw-away girls. The missing girl has stalwart friends, but this school isn’t Hogwarts and its resident ghost is malicious.

There are so many different strings to this story that I am amazed that it didn’t turn into a tangled mess. Two murders, and a ghost story that’s tied to both of them. There’s a post WW2 historical link to a concentration camp. The ghost creates a scream-in-the-dark atmosphere in both timelines. There’s a definite theme of the underdog fighting small town corruption. There are women who take care of each other to fight the system.

The audio performance was adequate, nothing special, but it was all that I had. I have a hardback of St. James’ newest book, The Sun Down Hotel. I think that may be a better way to go.


message 2: by Joanne (new)

Joanne (joabroda1) | 7860 comments Sounds good!-Going to keep it in mind for this years Fall Flurries. Great review!


Jgrace | 2938 comments Joanne wrote: "Sounds good!-Going to keep it in mind for this years Fall Flurries. Great review!"

She has a formula: dangerous real criminals operating in a creepy haunted environment, usually with a hot love affair for the female protagonist. I've read several of her earlier books that were set post WW1. This is the first one that's had a 21st century setting. Her books are dependable entertainment.


message 4: by Joanne (new)

Joanne (joabroda1) | 7860 comments Jgrace wrote: "Joanne wrote: "Sounds good!-Going to keep it in mind for this years Fall Flurries. Great review!"

She has a formula: dangerous real criminals operating in a creepy haunted environment, usually wit..."

😁
A steamy affair in November sounds just about right


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