Penguin Publishing Group | March 2013 | 368 pgs
Source: Library

This is my third Simone St. James book and my love for her books continues to grow the more I read them.

London, 1924. Jillian Leigh, an Oxford student, is required to take a short leave after receiving news from a lawyer that her uncle Toby had passed and that she is to travel to a seaside village of Rothewell to pack up his belongings since her parents are tied up with their work. The coroner had ruled Toby's death as an accident as there wasn't any evidence that there was foul play; plus Toby was a renowned ghost hunter and he travelled to places for his ghost hunting assignments. It is likely that he'd fallen to his death from a cliff while he was pursuing something in the dark and lost his footing. 

When Jillian settles in the boarding house where Toby used to stay, she begins to encounter a few unsettling incidents which convince her that an angry spirit might be the cause of those terrifying experiences. Known as Walking John to the Rothewell residents, the two-hundred-year-old ghost is believed to haunt Blood Moon Bay and no one dares to roam the woods or anywhere near the sea once darkness falls. Walking John may seem frightening but in fact his story was a sad one. John Barrow was a smuggler and had lost his beloved son to a drowning accident. Filled with grief, he shot himself after shooting one of his crew when the latter tried to move his son's body from him. This probably explains why his spirit roams and haunts Rothewell. Jillian knew Uncle Toby came to this place because of it. 

As Jillian ponders over her uncle's mysterious death, Scotland Yard inspector and former RAF pilot Drew Merriken has a few queries over the case and during the course of investigations the two of them found themselves attracted to each other. As they begin to search for answers surrounding Toby's purpose and his visit to Rothewell as well as the legendary resident ghost, they soon learn that Rothewell harbours some spine-chilling secrets which have nothing to do with the supernatural and most of all the reason Jillian is connected to the case. 

Once again I found myself engrossed in Simone St. James's wonderful storytelling and her skillful writing in this atmospheric read with a combination between the dark of the World War and the superstition of a creepy seaside village. While there isn't any war scenarios, the horror of it still lies in the minds who'd gone through the battles; like inspector Drew Merriken who rarely mention it but still evoked many emotions in him whenever the topic is brought up. The setting was well written and gave off that creepiness vibe with the tales of Walking John. What I enjoyed about this story is aside from the writing and the characterisations, the author leave her readers in suspense as one couldn't tell if Toby's death is the act of a vengeful ghost or a flesh and blood murderer until the truth hit you towards the end. I also loved it that there is romance element amid this dark, suspenseful tale but I found the attraction between Jillian and Drew happened a bit too quickly. That said, I still found myself rooting for them as they raced through their investigations. A perfect book to read especially on a stormy night. 

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10 Responses
  1. Jenny Says:

    I love the cover of this one and the story sounds good too. I’ll have to try this author.

  2. I look forward to trying this author. I am glad you enjoy her books, Melody! I love the London setting and the time period this one takes place in.

  3. Lark Says:

    I think this one is my favorite of her books! :)

  4. jenclair Says:

    It is fun to find an author you enjoy, isn't it? I keep saying I'm going to try another one by St. James, but haven't yet!

  5. Melody Says:

    Jenny - I love that cover, too. I hope you'll give her books a try one day.

  6. Melody Says:

    Wendy - Yes, I absolutely love the settings and the various time period of each of Simone's books. I think you might love her books, Wendy.

  7. Melody Says:

    Lark - I still have to read her other three books and then we'll see which one is my favourite. ;)

  8. Melody Says:

    Jenclair - Yes, I'm glad to have found this author and it's all thanks to having the opportunity of reading an advance copy of The Broken Girls. It's that book that pushes me to finding her older books. :)

  9. Iliana Says:

    I'm missing out - I need to start this series! So glad to hear you are enjoying these!

  10. Melody Says:

    Iliana - I think you might enjoy this series, Iliana. :)

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