I’ve read a few novels by Simone St. James so when I saw this novella on Amazon, I just had to buy it. Of the novels by this author that I have read, “The Broken Girls” is probably my favorite.
Set in Upstate New York, the title would suggest it is a ghost story, and it is… yet really it is more a story of a women who is mentally ill. The protagonist was a twenty-nine year old actress who suffered a breakdown. At her doctor’s insistence she has moved away from New York City to recover. Yet after she moves in to 19 Howard Avenue, she goes downhill. She begins to exhibit signs of full-blown agoraphobia and is unable to leave the house. She hears noises in the house and is afraid of the upstairs and of the basement. She spends her time gazing out the window and watching the neighbors. Then, she thinks she witnesses a murder and calls the police. From then on, things take a turn for the worst.
The time period is integral to the story. It is 1959 and back then doctors often dismissed serious women’s concerns as them being ‘excitable’, or ‘hysterical’ and prescribing them sedatives – which only exacerbated their problems.
Ginette Cox was a woman afraid for her life in the story. A woman who was afraid to enter her kitchen, so she went without food… yet she continued to paint her nails? She continued to flirt with the policeman? These factors just didn’t ring true for me.
Simone St. James is an author who is famous for her ghost stories and she usually does it well, yet this time I think perhaps the short format of the story didn’t serve her well.
I purchased this novella for my own reading enjoyment.
Published January 3, 2023 by Berkley/Penguin Random House
Simone St. James‘ debut novel, THE HAUNTING OF MADDY CLARE, won two RITA Awards from Romance Writers of America and an Arthur Ellis Award from Crime Writers of Canada. AN INQUIRY INTO LOVE AND DEATH was nominated for another Arthur Ellis Award, and SILENCE FOR THE DEAD was shortlisted for a Goodreads Choice Award.
Simone spent twenty years behind the scenes in the television business before leaving to write full-time. She lives just outside Toronto, Canada, with her husband and a spoiled rescue cat. You can find her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads, and Pinterest (though not all at once).
Pingback: Fictionophile’s JANUARY 2023 Reading Wrap-Up #bookblogger #MonthlyWrapUp | Fictionophile
Too bad this didn’t work for you Lynne.
LikeLiked by 1 person