20 Books Of Summer – Books 6 and 7 – The Broken Girls and Fantastic Mr Fox

That’s right fellow bookworms I am not just reviewing one book but two today, one of which I managed to finish just in time to bring my books read to 4 in July! I’m starting to think this challenge might be more achievable. Lets get on with the reviews….


A 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. . . .

This is the first book by Simone St James that I have read. I like a good historical fiction book so thought why not give this one a go, you never know I might find a new author to add to my reading list.

Flipping between 1950 and 2014 St James takes us through a story about love, mystery, family and murder but what made this book slightly different was the ghost element. I’m not usually one for reading ghost stories, they just don’t appeal to me, but this was done in such a way that without it the story wouldn’t be the same. It wasn’t over the top it was atmospheric and chilling.

When I got to 50% through the book I started to explain the storyline to my husband and his response was “How have you followed that? The story line sounds very complicated and confusing.” When I thought about it I hadn’t realised how much was going on. This book is woven with sub stories within stories but I never felt lost, I guess that is a sign of a great writer. There is a perfect balance with past and present and each story runs parallel with each other. The sub stories inject more depth into the chapters but they don’t over power them.

If I had one niggle it would probably be the ending. I’m not going to spoil it but I felt that the character of Rose was thrown in about 70% through and ten ends dup being a key player, for me I prefer any key characters to be introduced a lot earlier on. It didn’t ruin the book and I would definitely pick up another of St James’s in future.

Now onto my second review. Although this book wasn’t on my original reading list for this challenge I happened to pick it up and thought why not include it. I still plan to read the others but fancied something short and sweet for a change.


Fantastic Mr. Fox is on the run! The three meanest farmers around are out to get him. Fat Boggis, squat Bunce, and skinny Bean have joined forces, and they have Mr. Fox and his family surrounded. What they don’t know is that they’re not dealing with just any fox–Mr. Fox would never surrender. But only the most fantastic plan ever can save him now.

Roald Dahl is one of my neglected authors. I have read some of his books in the past but I’m ashamed to say I haven’t read all of them.

As with all of Dahl’s books I love the illustrations, Quentin Blake is an exceptional illustrator. As this book is quite small there is only so much that I can say hence why I have added this on the end of another review.

I wouldn’t say this was one of my favourites by Roald Dahl, at points I found it a little boring. There’s nothing wrong with it I just wasn’t captivated by his writing like I was with Matilda. I’m glad that is was a short story, there is only so much of reading about hiding animals that one can do. Maybe I will like some of the others better.



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