Title: The Burning Girls
Author: C.J. Tudor
Publisher: Michael Joseph
A dark history lingers in Chapel Croft. Five hundred years ago, Protestant martyrs were betrayed — then burned. Thirty years ago, two teenage girls disappeared without a trace. And a few weeks ago, the vicar of the local parish hanged himself in the nave of the church.
Reverend Jack Brooks, a single parent with a 14-year-old daughter and a heavy conscience, arrives in the village hoping for a fresh start. Instead, Jack finds a town rife with conspiracies and secrets, and is greeted with a strange welcome package: an exorcism kit and a note that warns, “But there is nothing covered up that will not be revealed and hidden that will not be known.”
The more Jack and daughter, Flo, explore the town and get to know its strange denizens, the deeper they are drawn into the age-old rifts, mysteries, and suspicions. And when Flo begins to see specters of girls ablaze, it becomes apparent there are ghosts here that refuse to be laid to rest.
Uncovering the truth can be deadly in a village with a bloody past, where everyone has something to hide and no one trusts an outsider.
The Burning Girls was everything I expected a new release from C.J. Tudor to be: addictive, punchy, eerie and very gripping!
There’s plenty of atmosphere packed into this read, told largely from two point of views – Jack, the new vicar in a quiet rural town, and Flo, her daughter. They’ve moved from inner city Nottingham and are finding getting used to their new home quite an adjustment! We also see some chapters from other characters, which add to the story a little but aren’t necessary in my opinion. From these, however, we know there’s someone linked to Jack’s past who is coming to find them, and this adds an extra element of tension to the story.
The story starts off fairly slowly, but really builds up as it goes, and I found myself feeling quite chilled at times. At times I was shouting (internally) at the characters for their stupidity, but couldn’t put the book down even if I wanted to! It’s very readable and the story flows really well.
I loved the sense of atmosphere and the characters Jack and Flo were really likable. Add to this some surprising, fun twists and you have a great read! It was hard to put this novel down and I’m already looking forward to future releases by C.J. Tudor.
Many thanks to Michael Joseph for providing a copy of this novel on which I chose to write an honest and unbiased review.