Publication date: March 20, 2018 (Pre-order)
“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. . . .”
I LOVED it! A MUST Read!
Fan-FREAKY-tastic! This novel ensnared me from page one and I could not put it down until I finished it late into the night. Then, I’m mildly abashed to say I had to turn on the closet light because I just knew a black-veiled spirit was watching me from the darkness around my bed. I was wrapped up with the covers to my chin, waiting to hear her whispers in the space behind my ear… Because Mary knows.
“Mary Hand, Mary Hand, dead and buried under land… Faster, faster. Don’t let her catch you. She’ll say she wants to be your friend… Do not let her in again!”
The plot unfolds between two separate timelines, 1950 and 2014, in the same town of Barrons in Vermont. A place that holds Idlewild Hall, an all girls boarding school in the backwoods off a back road away from town. A place where people sent girls they wanted to forget. In the 1950s timeline, St. James introduces us to four very different, fifteen year old girls who were discarded at the Idlewild boarding school for girls. Katie, CeCe, Roberta and Sonia each have their own personal stories of despair but they are strengthened by each other and develop true love and friendship. However, something is not right about Idlewild and everyone there knows it, including the teachers. A black-veiled spirit roams the grounds and leaves a trail of fright in her wake. Then, one of the girls disappears suddenly and the other three are left trying to put together the pieces when the police and headmistress have written her off as a runaway.
Fast forward to the 2014 timeline. Fiona Sheridan, freelance journalist, has never recovered from her older sister, Deb, being murdered and then discarded on the old sports field at Idlewild Hall twenty years ago. The guy that did it, her sister’s boyfriend, Tim Christopher is behind bars but she always felt like there was more to that night then came out at the trial. She had let the case go mostly until the day somebody started renovating Idlewild and as new ground broke so did Fiona’s desire to uncover the secrets hidden there. But with the ground broke another mystery, a discovered body and a whole new slew of questions. Something sinister lurks in the woods around Barrons. Is it supernatural or something even worse? You are going to want to read to find out!
“Anthony,” Fiona managed as they crossed the field. “I think I saw–” But he tugged her, nearly unbalancing her, and suddenly she was so close her shoulder touched his. “Shh,” he said, his voiced lowered. “Please don’t say it. I think she listens.”
This novel was well written, clever and completely unnerving! St. James’ scattered the breadcrumbs of these mysteries in such a wonderful way to keep the reader completely enthralled and on the edge of their seats throughout. The two timelines blended together seamlessly and the characters were dynamic and intriguing. I do not have enough good things to say! This is my first novel read by Simone St. James but it most definitely will not be my last.
*I received this ARC from Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
*The quotes used in this review are from an advanced copy and may not be the same as the published copy.