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  • Writer's pictureAshley Mongrain

The Burning Girls | Review


Rating - ⭐⭐


"Welcome to Keeper's Croft. Five hundred years ago, protestant martyrs were burned at the stake. Forty years ago, two teenaged girls disappeared without a trace. And two months ago, the vicar of the local parish killed himself.


Reverend Alex Brooks, a single mother with a fourteen-year-old daughter and a heavy conscience, arrives in the village hoping to make a fresh start and find some peace. She left Nottingham after a vulnerable child died. It's a death she could have prevented, one that still haunts her. But Alex discovers that peace is the last thing she will find in Keeper's Croft.


Instead, the previous vicar has left a message. An old exorcism kit and a suicide note instruct Alex to search for the truth about the village's history and the girls' disappearance. And when both Alex and her daughter Flo are troubled by strange sightings in the old chapel--apparitions that seem all too real--it becomes apparent that there are ghosts here that refuse to be laid to rest.


But discovering the truth is hard in a village where everyone has something to protect, everyone has links with the village's bloody past and no one trusts an outsider."


 

The Burning Girls is a standalone mystery thriller novel by C.J. Tudor.


There was a lot of missed potential here because there were elements that could have been great that ended up not being utilized well. And, what I ended up getting instead was something that was a bit of a mess.


Let's get into the details.

 

WRITING


While it was decent enough to get me through due to the number of short sentences, I did have one minor issue with the writing. The chapters don't indicate which character you are following, so it does take a second to figure out what is going on.



PLOT


This story had the bones to make a great story. I liked the idea of the burning girls, which were dolls used to commemorate the burning of six martyrs during Queen Mary's purge. Part of me enjoyed this concept because I did learn about Queen Mary, and the other half, as I said, thought that this concept could have really worked well.


Unfortunately, it wasn't really used well and the story ended up becoming bigger than this which I thought was a waste of potential. There ended up being five different focuses:

  • The Burning Girls

  • What happened to Merry and Jo

  • Jack's brother Jacob

  • Wrigley

  • Rosie and Tom vs. Flo and Wrigley


Only one of these plotlines I liked, and it was the one that fell to the wayside. While these plotlines mostly came together, I didn't like how they came together in the end. I thought that the direction the story went in wasn't the best course of action and it ended up failing to pack any punch. I got to the end and thought to myself, 'well that was stupid' because the plot twists missed entirely.



CHARACTERS


Not one single character had any impact on me, or at least not a positive one. I didn't care about any of them, and I didn't think that Jack was the right choice for the main character.


Jack is a vicar, which was already a misstep for me because I don't enjoy reading books with Catholicism as a main focus. It would have made a lot more sense for Jack to be a cop since a vicar running around trying to figure out what is going on was odd. Not only that, a lot of her actions and choices throughout the book did not line up with her profession.



CONCLUDING THOUGHTS


If this book took different a direction, I probably would have enjoyed it more. But it didn't, so there's nothing I can do about that other than say that I wasn't a fan of this book.


If you are thinking of picking this up, keep in mind that there are trigger warnings for child abuse, death, and the use of homophobic language.



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