The Broken Girls is a book that straddles two timelines. Usually books like this leave me confused at least a time or two but not this one. They’ll often leave me frustrated too because I typically find one timeline far more interesting than the other but that didn’t happen this time around either. I think what it all breaks down to is the characters. Too many murder mystery thrillers focus on the murders and the police procedural aspects and all the dynamics that go along with that and though this book has some of that stuff it wasn’t the main focus so I never drifted away. The main focus is on the characters and their emotional ties either to each other or to getting to the truth at whatever cost for deeply personal reasons. I read for character, for the most part, so that’s why I dug this story. If you’re that type of reader I think you might like it a lot too.
There is a lot of stuff going on here and none of it is boring. There wasn’t a single moment when I felt the need to drift away or long to pick up something else. There’s a murder or two or maybe more. . . I’m not saying. Some murder takes place in the past, one in the not too distant past and the ramifications are a big source of motivation for the modern day character. My favorite part of this story was the friendship that was so skillfully and carefully developed between a group of misfits and misbehaving girls in the 1950’s who are carted off to Idlewild Hall and are mostly forgotten by their families. Their friendship and the terrible thing that happens (and no I am NOT telling you what it is) had me glued to the book. These girls and their day to day troubles came to life. But besides being a house for wayward girls, Idlewild Hall may also be inhabited by a ghost or two!
I loved all of it and I am so afraid of spoiling anything that I’m not going to say anything else. Instead I will leave you with this bookwormy quote that made me forever a fan of Sonia.
“Sonia envied her, the way she could turn her brain off, think about absolutely nothing. It was a trick Sonia herself had never learned. That was what books did - they turned off your thinking for you, put their thoughts in your head so you wouldn't have your own.”