By: Gabi Rutherford
In Vermont in 1950, Idlewild Hall is a boarding school for the girls no one wants: the ones labeled troublemakers, the illegitimate, and the ones who are “too smart for their own good.” There are rumors the place is haunted, and the girls there know it is true. In this horrible place, four roommates build a friendship over their secrets and fears. Then, one of them disappears.
In 2014, a journalist named Fiona Sheridan becomes obsessed with Idlewild Hall when she hears it is being renovated by an anonymous benefactor. This feels personal to Fiona, as her sister’s dead body was found on Idlewild Hall’s field. Fiona decides to write about the renovation, and in doing so, she learns more about her sister’s death, the disappearance of the girl from 1950, and the truth about the hauntings that go on at Idlewild Hall.
Simone St. James crafted a wonderfully intricate story. She gives the readers a first person perspective of both timelines by alternating the speaker of the story, leaving the reader holding on for more. Fiona is a stubborn character, but she is very interesting, as are the girls who attended Idlewild Hall. The characters in this story connect in both their experiences and their interactions, which ties the whole plot together nicely. St. James is also able to add a bit of a spooky element with the stories of the hauntings. Overall, St. James was able to create a unique and interesting story that many readers can appreciate.
I really enjoyed this story. While the story is slightly spooky, it is not necessarily scary, which I appreciated, as I am not one who likes to be scared. This plot had many different aspects to it. There is mystery and spookiness, friendship and loyalty, and an understanding of a different time. I had a hard time putting this book down, and I definitely did not want this story to end. I would suggest this novel to anyone, especially those who enjoy mysteries.