The Broken Girls

Written by Simone St. James
Review by Arleigh Ordoyne

In 1950, four roommates from Idlewild Hall, a New England boarding school for wayward girls, bond over the one thing they have in common—they are each unwanted by their family. Katie was deemed unruly and promiscuous, Roberta was recovering from a traumatic incident, CeCe was simply illegitimate, and Sonia was orphaned by the war and passed off by her great-uncle and aunt. Personal woes were not the only complaint, however. Written in textbooks handed down from each generation were notes from previous girls about a terrifying ghost—a girl who’d died on the grounds decades before. When one of the roommates goes missing, their worst fears are realized.

Meanwhile, a parallel story set in 2014 is told by Fiona Sheridan—daughter of a once-famous but now reclusive journalist. Her sister had been murdered 20 years before, her body found on the abandoned grounds of Idlewild. Fiona and her boyfriend, policeman Jamie Creel, begin digging into files and interviewing people of interest, angering those who want to keep the past buried. They find not only clues to several crimes, but the whispered rumors of the ghost girl who seems to be central to the tangle of deaths and disappearances.

This book delves into several heavy subjects, including murder, domestic violence, police corruption, PTSD, drug addiction, and child abuse. The author handles the plot-weaving and time-hopping phenomenally, giving just enough information to keep the reader on edge and hungry for more. The protagonist, Fiona, is an instantly likeable character, as are the Idlewild girls in their various narrations. Historical mystery fans or those looking for a chilling ghost story will devour this book! Highly recommended.