Saturday, March 24, 2018

The Broken Girls - Book Review

Thank you to Berkley for providing a free copy of The Broken Girls.

Twenty years ago, Fiona's sister was found dead on the grounds of the abandoned girls school and Fiona has never been sure that the right person went to jail for the murder. Now, journalist Fiona is writing about the restoration of Idlewild Hall and she's on site when the body of another girl is found in the well. Fiona's story is now about much more than the restoration of a few old spooky buildings as she searches for the girl's identity, history and killer. Perhaps as she investigates, she will also find what really happened to her sister.

In 1950, four misfit girls at Idlewild Hall were put together as roommates. They've heard the rumors that the school is haunted but become more convinced as they each have experiences to confirm the presence of a ghost. They resolve to protect one another until the day one of the girls disappears.

It was fun to read another ghost story so soon. I read The Broken Girls by Simone St. James late a night after the house was quiet and the kids had gone to bed. The blend of an eerie ghost story with a contemporary crime drama was one that really did appeal at the end of the day and I felt like it worked well in this novel. St. James pulls the reader right in with freaky prologue. The setting of Idlewild Hall draws on the very unsettling nature of boarding schools and their long established function in literature as a scary place. Make that boarding school abandoned, and it's that much more spooky. St. James uses the setting and the haunting to keep her characters and the reader off balance and it works well.

The Broken Girls goes back and forth between Fiona's investigation and the girls at Idlewild. It does so seamlessly and keeps the plot lines going at a steady and dramatic pace. There is a constant threat of looming danger and it is successful for a thriller. I really enjoyed The Broken Girls. It's a quick read that I didn't want to put down once I started.

The Broken Girls by Simone St. James is published by Berkley and released on March 20, 2018.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Let Me Lie - Book Review

Though he had shown no signs of depression, Clare's father jumped to his death at Beachy Head. Seven months later, overwhelmed with grief, Clare's mother copied his suicide to a T and jumped from the same point. Now, a year later Clare is struggling to understand how her parents would choose to leave her in such a traumatic way. It doesn't feel right so when a Happy Anniversary card arrives through the mail slot on the first anniversary of her mother's death with only the cryptic message "Suicide? Think Again." Clare becomes convinced that her parents were murdered. She takes the card to the police where she meets Murray, a retired detective who works the desk as a civilian now. Murray is sure the detectives won't give the card much consideration but is moved with compassion toward Clare and decides to look into the case of the double suicides himself.

It becomes clear that someone doesn't want Clare looking into the suicides. It's too dangerous. Though she loved them dearly, Clare had no idea the secrets her parents were keeping.

Let Me Lie by Clare Mackintosh is a thriller that kept me up late at night. It's one of those books where I would tell Rand "just let me finish this chapter" but then I couldn't help but start the next one and soon he was snoring. Mackintosh keeps the action flowing while creating intriguing characters. She's skilled at throwing suspicion on everyone and throwing plot twists just at the moment I thought I'd figured it out. It's ominous and scary without being gruesome or horrific.

Mackintosh combines her experience on the police force with her skills as a storyteller to create a gripping thriller that is actually plausible. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Let Me Lie by Clare Mackintosh is published by Berkley Books and released March 13, 2018.

**I received a complimentary copy. This review reflects my honest opinions. No compensation was received.**

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

The Silent Companions - Book Review

Elsie's new husband went ahead to prepare his neglected family estate for her arrival. He wanted it to be perfect for her and their expected baby. But Rupert died suddenly and now Elsie and Rupert's cousin Sarah must travel to the estate for the funeral instead of the grand welcome. The house is crumbling and there are disturbing noises coming from the locked garret. When they finally get into the garret to try to clean out the rodents surely making a nest, Elsie and Sarah discover a painted wooden figure, so life-like it gave them a fright. Sarah also finds a diary that belonged to an ancestor. Sure, that the wooden figure is also representing an ancestor, Sarah insists on moving it out of the garret.

The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell is reminiscent of the ghostly gothic novels that I adore. There's just nothing more creepy than a dilapidated and isolated estate with an unfriendly staff and a nervous community that whispers the rumors of hauntings and death. Purcell works in all the elements in this homage to the period. While it's not flawless in delivery, I found it to be spooky fun. It maybe crosses the line into just plain creepy by the end but I couldn't stop reading late into the night.

If you love a sinister, ghost story, The Silent Companions will hit the spot. Stoke up the fire, stay clear of the deer head mounted on the wall and curl up with this eerie novel.

The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell is published by Penguin Books and released March 6, 2018.

**I received a complimentary copy of the book. This review reflects my honest opinions. No compensation was received.**