Book Review: The Broken Girls by Simone St. James

Broken Girls - Simone St. James

After seeing so many glowing reviews for The Broken Girls, my expectations for this one were sky high. After reading this book, I can tell you, my expectations were met!


1950 – At the crumbling Idlewild Hall school for unwanted girls, four room-mates begin to bond over dark secrets and whispered fears – until one of them mysteriously disappears . . .

2014 – Journalist Fiona Sheridan can’t get over the murder of her sister twenty years ago, near the ruins of Idlewild. And when another body is found during renovations of the school, she begins to uncover horrors that were meant to remain hidden – and a voice that won’t be silenced.

For fans of Lisa Jewell and S.K. Tremayne, The Broken Girls is a chilling story of murder, revenge, and secrets that refuse to stay buried . . .


I’m going to jump right in and start this review with the thing I loved most about this novel. I loved the 1950’s timeline, I love reading about any place people were sent in the olden days, hidden from the rest of the society. Idlewild Hall, a boarding school for wayward girls is a good a place as any. Not only is it interesting to see how these girls lived, but it’s a great location to create unsettlement in a reader. I found this storyline to be incredibly unsettling, and as the timeline switches back and forth, I’d just about recovered from the creepiness of it all, then I’d turn the page and I’d be right back there again listening to the girls recount their days.

“Mary Hand, Mary Hand, dead and buried under land…”

No thank you, not today, Mary, if you could just return under land and stay there, that’d be much appreciated! Yep, I, in equal measures, loved and was disturbed by, the paranormal aspects in this novel. When I wasn’t being tormented by Mary Hand, I loved the relationship between the four girls we hear from; Katie, Ce-ce, Roberta and Sonia, all shared a dorm at Idlewild Hall, and their friendship was a survival and an escape from the hellish way they were living.

In the present day, well 2014, Fiona is writing an article about Idlewild, like me, she was baffled by the notion that someone would want to restore that building. Still struggling to come to terms with her sister’s death, Fiona finds herself amidst another investigation when a body is found not far from where her sister was found, and Fiona is about to learn all about “the broken girls”. What also struck me in this timeline was that Fiona, a journalist, was dating a third-generation cop – if you know anything about crime novels – you just know that that’s going to cause some ripples!

The Broken Girls is a fantastic novel. The plot is super interesting, it’s eerie and gothic, with an unsettling atmosphere that never quite goes away. It reads fluidly; the two timelines come together for a brilliant conclusion to the mystery. This novel will have you hooked – enough paranormal horror to unsettle you, an old boarding school to deliver the gothic vibe, and enough suspense to keep you turning the pages well into the night!

This book is available to buy from: Amazon UK / Book Depository

Note: The Kindle edition is available to buy now, the paperback is published on 29/11/18

*My thanks to the publisher (Headline) for granting me access to a digital copy of this title via Netgalley*

19 thoughts on “Book Review: The Broken Girls by Simone St. James

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