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The Broken Girls

Written by: Simone St. James
Narrated by: Rebecca Lowman
Length: 11 hrs and 12 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (80 ratings)

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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 the critics say

“[The Broken Girls] mixes a creepy supernatural tale with a gripping mystery. It also works well as a story about unshakeable friendship, parenting issues, obsession and sexism folded into a satisfying plot that straddles two eras of time.” (Associated Press)

“An intense, genuinely creepy novel that links the ghostly, gothic strands of a 60-year-old murder with secrets about to be unearthed in the present day.... With a ghostly setting and an addictive plot, St. James’ story is as haunting as it gets - poignant, evocative and difficult to forget.” (BookPage

The Broken Girls is equal parts captivating and disturbing.” (HelloGiggles)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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

Great story.

Both the author and the narrator kept me listening all the way to the unpredictable end.

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It just kept me wanting to know more!

I have to say that I really enjoyed this story. The characters were easy to follow. I liked the reader as she made each character come alive with her various voice changes. The story plot itself was awesome. I have had difficulty with other books flipping back and forth from one year to another, I had no problems following the story line here. I actually listened to this book twice. Loved it!! Going to enjoy discussing it at my book club!

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Stick with it...

At first I wasn’t too interested in the book and purchased it without knowing it contained a ghost story. However, as I read I was pulled in and finished the book in two days. It was well worth the binge!

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An exceptional story. Haunting & endearing!

This is a fantastic book. It had great twists and a well thoughtout storyline. I loved it and you will too

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I really enjoyed this story.

if it wasn't for my favorite narrator, (Rebecca Lowman,) I wouldn't have bought this audio book. I am happy I did, very good story and as always, Rebecca Lowman did an amazing job!!! I will definitely be purchasing more books by Simone St. James.

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engaging

I was surprised at just how much I enjoyed this book. I wasn't sure about the girls' school setting (having gone to one, maybe I'm a little overly critical), but it was refreshingly uncliched. The characters were well written and interesting, and both central mysteries were very engaging, with unexpected and tidy conclusions. Even the ghost subplot was good- not over-done or hokey. (Unfortunately, the police corruption subplot definitely was overdone and unbelievable, though. It was the only disappointing part of an otherwise satisfying listen.)

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    3 out of 5 stars

started out strong

Started out really strong and then it began to lagged near the middle/end. I still liked it but the ending was kind of eh. Enjoyed the ghost story. Overall was worth the read.

#Audible1

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    3 out of 5 stars

Starts off strong; spooky in parts; peters off a bit at the end.

I overall enjoyed the Broken Girls, it started off really strong, had some spooky bits, and I enjoyed the alternating points of view. The narrator did an excellent job. However, I found myself losing interest near the end and didn’t really care about the characters anymore. The ending felt expository rather than climactic.

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Great ghost/crime story

If you like crime stories with a tinge of ghost this is for you! Well narrated, it grips you from the start.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Alexis
  • 2018-03-21

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.

79 people found this helpful

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  • Anna Landry
  • 2018-04-13

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!

94 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • mia sherrill
  • 2018-12-22

Good plot but cardboard characters

The narrator is amazing. The plot, especially with the supernatural addition, was good. However, the characters are cringeworthy cliché. The motives of most of the characters are unclear because there’s no depth. Cops versus journalists sums up the whole good vs bad power struggle. The end seemed far- reached because the characters never had enough personality to have true motives for their actions. Don’t waste your credit. You will be disappointed.

14 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Chana Goanna
  • 2018-03-23

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.

65 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Melissa Kindt
  • 2018-06-27

It's Ok ... Not great

The supernatural piece of the story could have been completely left out. I have no idea why or how it was supposed to tie into the story.

The narrator is great, Rebecca's voice is soothing and animated. The story was ok. It's not my favorite , but it was worth the 10hours and helped ease my commute for a week.

This was my first Simone St. James book. I may give another book a try.

17 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • L. Miller
  • 2018-06-25

Definitely slow

I read the reviews and thought it still had possibility. The story took way to long to fill out the characters and get to anything riveting before I gave up on it.

The story had some interesting aspects. Don’t read this one for thrills and chills. Read it if you appreciate justice. At first I was determined to get a refund, now I will just call it a draw.

4 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Michelle Harder
  • 2018-10-14

Decent Story, But Quit Reading Because...

I'm a picky reader, and because I read so much, I may pick up on and be more annoyed by cliches and worn out tropes and devices than the casual reader. I decided a while back that it didn't matter how decent the story, I would stop reading any murder mystery in which an author used this one tactic, which is a MAJOR pet peeve of mine: the bad guy manages to trap the main character and gets a chance to explain themselves in some long, painfully unrealistic diatribe: why and how they did it, detail by agonizing detail. It's such a tired, worn out device in mystery stories; it is flat out lazy, and I can't believe that as many times as it has been used, writers still have not figured out that it's unrealistic and annoying. Almost NO ONE speaks the way authors voiced their villains in this scenario.

The bad guy always has the same tone, same attitude: smug disdain, defiant justification for their crimes, and overly obvious feigned regret for what they're about to have to do to the person they're spilling it all to. I've heard it so often that I know how it plays out the moment it begins. Let me know if this sounds familiar: Main character, close to the end of the story, is right on the edge of figuring out whodunnit. They manage to somehow trust the person who did it just before they have the epiphany that they are in the same room with the bad guy. So they say "It was you, all along" and the bad guy goes into his diatribe "I had to do it because...and here is how I did it...and this is why I did it this way...and this is what is up with"... (ties up every loose end the author was too lazy to tie up some other way or didn't give the reader enough credit to figure it out on their own with the information provided). And finally, "I would have managed to get away with it had it not been for your meddling, so as much as it pains me, I'm going to have to kill you now so you don't foil my whole dastardly plan."

I stopped reading at that point, so I don't know if it gave the hero/heroine the time they needed to figure out how to escape or to be rescued, but if this worn out device continued in the same pattern as they usually do, that's what happened next. The villain spilling their guts gives their intended victim just enough time to manage to escape somehow. Lazy, sloppy writing is what it is now. It reads like the end of a gosh dang Scooby Doo episode.

The story, up to that point, was tolerable, though not the 4 and 5 star writing that this book is rated -- not by a long shot. To be honest, I found myself tuning in and out, being drawn in and semi sympathetic to a character in some part to the point of almost caring what happened to them and why, but never really GOT THERE. My rule that I always stop a book when I discover the author is too lazy to wrap it up in a fresh way has, once in a while, been difficult to follow, because I at least sorta cared what happened to the characters. Not so much this time. In short, I've stopped reading much more well written stories before they end.

41 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • TCD
  • 2018-03-27

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.

12 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2018-03-25

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.

16 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Kindle Customer
  • 2019-08-15

Girls helping Girls

This was an amazing book, i already loved this author and all of her previous novels but this one is vastly different than the rest. While most of the other books are romance novels mixed with intense and believable depictions of ghosts. Broken Girls focused more on the relationships between women and girls and the bonds that last forever even in death. Between sisters and the girls that we adopt as sisters. All this while highlighting how history tried its very best time and time again to forget the women and girls who inhabit it. Simone St.James had so much to say and she said it all eloquently while being perfectly spooky and wonderful!

2 people found this helpful