“We all have our hiding places. Not just physical ones. Places deep inside where we put away the things we don’t want others to see. The less palatable parts. Our St. Peter’s box, I call it. The one we pray he won’t find when we’re trying to sneak in through the pearly gates.”
THE BURNING GIRLS is a mystery-horror-thriller full twists and turns that started with a strong concept but lost it’s spark by the end for me.
The book opens with Reverend Jack Brooks relocating with her daughter Flo to the small rural town of Chapel Croft to replace the previous vicar who hanged himself in the church. Chapel Croft has a bloody history dating back to the Sussex Martyrs, a group of Protestants who were burned at the stake in the 16th century. As well, 30 years ago 2 teenage girls mysteriously vanished without a trace. Hoping for a fresh start, Jack and Flo are confronted by a village full of mystery, secrets, and ghostly visions of burning girls!
There is a lot that I enjoyed about THE BURNING GIRLS. I thought Jack was a really fun and complicated character; she a vicar but she sneaks cigarettes, swears, and openly struggles with her faith in interesting ways. I also liked her relationship with Flo, it felt like a very real single-mom and teenage-daughter relationship. I loved that the story incorporated English history as well as some supernatural elements though I wish there had been more! My biggest complaint is that there were too many side plots, misdirects, and plot twists. Though some of the surprises were really shocking and exciting, there were just too many narrative threads trying to come together that the ending felt muddled and rushed. As well, there were some pretty cringe-worthy stereotypes that bothered me and were unnecessary to the story.
Though I had a few issues overall with the story, THE BURNING GIRLS is an undeniably fast-paced read full of tension, eerie settings, and creepy scares!
** Ballantine Books provided the book for honest review
- Title: The Burning Girls
- Author: C. J. Tudor
- Published: February 9, 2021 (Ballantine Books)
- Genre: Fiction, Thriller, Mystery, Horror
- Booky Nooky Rating: * * *