The Broken Girls, by Simone St. James

Idlewild Hall was once a boarding school for wayward girls. Haunted by the ghost of Mary Hand, the school is plagued with troubles and eventually closes for good. Now, however, someone has bought the property with the intent to restore the Hall and reopen the school, and the ghosts begin to reemerge. Fiona Sheridan, whose sister was murdered and left on the grounds of the school two decades back, intends to get to the bottom of the new owner’s intentions. She ends up uncovering 65-year-old murder in the process.

I enjoyed The Sun Down Motel so much that I decided to try out one of the author’s other books. I’ve been told this one was good and also contained the haunted/ghost story elements, so I checked it out from the library’s digital catalog. Let me start by saying that The Broken Girls, while having a paranormal element, is very different from The Sun Down Motel. The latter is faster-paced, with a lot of creeping chills and terrifying moments. It has less character development and more emphasis on atmospheric setting. The Broken Girls is a thicker, deeper, slower book with fewer chills and less emphasis on the ghost aspect. Neither are necessarily better than the other – they are both good, just very different books that use the paranormal in very different ways.

Personally, I preferred The Sun Down Motel simply because that’s the mood I’m currently in. However, I can say that The Broken Girls feels like a better-written novel. The characters are far more fleshed out and believable (except one, whose personality twist seemed to come out of nowhere). Everything except the ghost aspect is richer. It felt more permanent and less transient as a story. Most of the time, I think it would be the story I’d prefer. It was a really great book, beautifully written, with very few flaws (the only one I saw being that the twist relied on that one character with the undeveloped personality). I highly recommend it. Just don’t go into it expecting it to be more like a campfire ghost story. It’s far more literary than that.

About Amanda

Agender empty-nester filling my time with cats, books, fitness, and photography. She/they.
This entry was posted in 2020, Adult, Prose and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The Broken Girls, by Simone St. James

  1. Michelle says:

    I am SO glad you at least enjoyed it. I still get so damn nervous when I recommend books to others. However, I too think this would have been your favorite had times been different. I really liked that the ghost element wasn’t so obvious and in-your-face. I loved the closed atmosphere in this one as well.


    • Amanda says:

      I did quite enjoy it. It felt far better written than the other. I’m just in such a weird reading mood right now, hardly reading a thing these days, unable to settle. The ebook thing isn’t helping with that – it’s not my favorite medium. I far prefer in-person books and I really miss the library!


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