The Broken Girls by Simone St. James

DO NOT READ THIS BOOK RIGHT BEFORE BED! I mean it, I did this for two nights in a row and actually had sleepless nights The pace of the book was a little slow at the start. But Fiona’s journey began at the Old Barrons Road, and with each page, it compelled me within the story Simone St James was trying to tell.

Published in 2018, the book’s synopsis talks about two incidents – one that happened in 1950, and one a few decades later in Barrons, Vermont. Fiona, a journalist, is trying to find the truth behind her sister’s death and how her body was mysteriously dumped on the wide open field of the Idlewild Hall – a boarding school for girls who the world wanted to forget about. Back in 1950, there were a couple of incidences that happened that shook the entire institution; those incidences’ cause pinned down to an entity called Mary Hand, a ghost who roams the halls of Idlewild Hall.

While one would like to believe that the ghost is the cause of all deaths and disappearances and mishaps that have happened in this boarding school, why then, was a girl found decades later on the same ground, with absolutely no connection to the now-shut boarding school?

Not just another paranormal tale

The murders that happen in the book are all under rather suspenseful, unsettling circumstances. What drew me in was the supernatural edge that it promised in the synopsis. What kept me in was the story of the girls – who grew up to be such resilient, persistent, fierce and loyal ones. This is a sei-spoiler, not a full one, so you do not have to worry. There is no way in the world that I’m letting you guys in on the whole story’s plot right here.

You HAVE to read this book to believe the kind of power it displays – making the ‘hell hath no fury..’ phrase true, but what happens when that fury has no body to be channeled in? The Broken Girls talks about how fury can take any form – physical, emotional, metaphysical. The kind of impact heartbreaks have, and each kind of heartbreak is a different one. It makes me wonder, how a simple road, that is known to be haunted, that people do not even bother to frequent often – rumours of such things we hear in real life as well – and perhaps forget to acknowledge them.

This book is about pain. This book is about grief. This book is about tragedy. This book is about friendship. This book is about undying love – that comes in any form if you’re willing to go deep enough to see it, acknowledge it, heal it. This book is my first one by this author, and I intend to read The Sun Down Motel soon as I can. I complained about the pace before – because the story is told in two timelines, and sometimes it takes a lot of my patience to persist through. But this book took care of that. I suppose, after the first 50 pages, I belonged to Fiona. I was as obsessed with her motive as she was. Not many authors can do it with such conviction and finesse. Simone St. James is easily one of my most favourite authors after reading this book – and it is a brilliant one to begin with.

Themes

The book has various themes – paranormal is just one of them. There’s a lot of other underlying subtexts that address the vociferous natures of teenage girls, survival, and the coming-of-age understanding in every character’s life in here. While the reasons why I have loved this book are one too many, there’s a reason this one will hold a special place in my heart – the book has all central characters as women – each more different than the other, each one’s journey as heart-wrenching to read as the other. This book talks about how grief can undo one’s life, even after death. And how the right answers to find justice can be found anywhere – if you have the willingness to walk through that path to find it.

This book is a solid 5/5 and I suggest anyone looking for a wholesome suspense with a supernatural edge is going to have their minds blown!

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