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Publisher's Summary

The "clever and wonderfully chilling" (Fiona Barton) suspense novel from the award-winning author of The Haunting of Maddy Clare....

Vermont, 1950. There's a place for the girls whom no one wants - the troublemakers, the illegitimate, the too smart for their own good. It's called Idlewild Hall. And in the small town where it's located, there are rumors that the boarding school is haunted. Four roommates bond over their whispered fears, their budding friendship blossoming - until one of them mysteriously disappears....

Vermont, 2014. As much as she's tried, journalist Fiona Sheridan cannot stop revisiting the events surrounding her older sister's death. Twenty years ago, her body was found lying in the overgrown fields near the ruins of Idlewild Hall. And though her sister's boyfriend was tried and convicted of murder, Fiona can't shake the suspicion that something was never right about the case.

When Fiona discovers that Idlewild Hall is being restored by an anonymous benefactor, she decides to write a story about it. But a shocking discovery during the renovations will link the loss of her sister to secrets that were meant to stay hidden in the past - and a voice that won't be silenced....

©2018 Simone St. James (P)2018 Penguin Audio

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Drama, Suspense, Intrigue and a Ghost

I just finished The Broken Girls after a marathon listen and am sorry to see it end. I am really impressed with this book and enjoyed it immensely. At first, I found it was a little hard to get into, but I pressed on and am so glad I did. After the first few chapters, I was completely drawn into the story, which alternates points of view between November 1950 and a group of friends at Idlewild Boarding School, a repository for troubled teenage girls in small-town Vermont; and November 2014, where Fiona Sheridan, a freelance journalist, has devastating connections to the now abandoned property, and begins an investigation into the past when a mysterious investor buys Idlewild with the goal to renovate and restore the school.
The stories of the girls as students were riveting and heartfelt. Fiona's character grew on me as she latched on doggedly to a crime long in the past that others wanted to forget, and wouldn't let go. Then, there are moments that are genuinely creepy and haunting that I will let the reader discover for themselves.
Overall, a fine novel with good narration, excellent characters and a propensity to grab you and not let go. Very enjoyable and I highly recommend!

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Alexis
  • S.F. Bay Area, United States
  • 03-21-18

Outstanding in Every Way!

The Broken Girls is a superb ghost story, perhaps the best and most suspenseful of all Ms. St. James’ novels. Every character springs instantly to life and held my imagination and focus throughout. The settings are equally well drawn and vivid. This is just truly a wonderful listen, well performed. WARNING: Listener beware. I downloaded and started The Broken Girls late in the evening, and it was so compelling that I didn’t sleep a wink all night long! Thank you, Simone St. James. It was a long wait for this novel, but well worth every minute.

16 of 17 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Interesting premise, awful writing. Can't finish.

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

Fans of romance novels, maybe. The writing is too much about "his gorgeous mouth" and "his sleek muscles" for me.

Has The Broken Girls turned you off from other books in this genre?

Mysteries and thrillers are my favorite genre, so no.

How could the performance have been better?

The narrator delivers terrible, amateurish writing in a monotone. A couple of chapters in, I'm giving up.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

Again, the premise seemed interesting, and the parts about the girls seeing the ghost at the old boarding school was intriguing, but not so much that I can continue.

11 of 12 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Loved it!

What did you love best about The Broken Girls?

It was a storyline I didn't see coming. I normally don't read anything remotely supernatural but it was done well and wasn't the overwhelming story.

What did you like best about this story?

The twist of who each character turned out to be.

What does Rebecca Lowman bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

It was like listening to the tv. It was smooth and I was able to easily picture the whole story happening in a different way than if I read it myself.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

When we learn who Margaret Eden is.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Brilliant characters, story keeps you guessing

I was skeptical at first with the opening narrative, but ultimately the supernatural element is not cheesy. The story is intricate and surprising and the characters are vivid.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

O.K

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

It had the makings of a good ghost story. I'm still trying to figure out why it didn't grab me and pull me in. I nearly gave up about halfway through because I was so bored, but it did get a bit better.

What did you like best about this story?

The premise was intriguing.

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Rebecca Lowman?

Anyone. I don't know why so many American narrators have to sound like a snarky, angsty teenager. (Sorry for being politically incorrect, but especially women narrators) I think perhaps this might have been a big reason why I wasn't fond of this listen. With another narrator, it might have been more enjoyable. Yes, I realize a few of the characters "were" teenagers, but it seemed like she never changed her tone no matter who she was narrating.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Not at all.

Any additional comments?

Overall disappointing. I was looking forward to another Simone St James book, but the past couple works of hers have fallen flat for me.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Good gothic mystery

Great voice work great writing. Enjoyed the audio book. Great setting and good use of “them and now” with distinguishable characters

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Beautifully narrated and a Very nice story

Would you listen to The Broken Girls again? Why?

I don't listen to the same book again but I certainly enjoyed this one. Very nicely written story.

Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

The story has a little bit of everything. Drama, Suspense and the sad story that ties back and present

What does Rebecca Lowman bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

She has a soft voice very appropriate for this kind of literature.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

I don't know but this would be a good film

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great book

I really liked this book the story was gripping BUT at first I didn’t really like the narrator. I stuck with it and it was well worth it.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

struggled to finish

the narrator had a very montone voice so it was hard for me to get into it. story line picked up towards the middle but was a little anticlimactic..