February 22, 2021

The Burning Girls

The Burning Girls

by C.J. Tudor

Published February 9, 2021
by Random House Publishing Group/Ballantine Books

Rating: 4 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Genre: Mystery/Thriller/Horror

C.J. Tudor has quickly become an auto-read author me and The Burning Girls did not disappoint!

After essentially being forced out of her Nottingham church after a scandal, Jack and her daughter move to the country where Jack has been selected to be the new vicar (girl power!!).   Once in Chapel Croft, Jack and Flo are disheartened to find the church in disrepair and their lodgings in no better state.  Worse is the judgmental and backward thinking of many of the residents about newcomers and a female vicar.

Once settled, Jack begins learning of the eerie history of Chapel Croft, the unexpected suicide of the previous vicar, and the supposed hauntings by the burning girls – two girls who were burned as martyrs for the town ages ago and allegedly still haunt the church grounds.  When Flo and Jack start seeing the burning girls in the chapel and at the graveyard, they worry that the premonition that seeing the burning girls means that they are in trouble may be more than a town legend.  Fearing for their safety and curious about Chapel Croft, Jack goes against her better judgment and starts researching the history of the town and church.

This was a twisty and fun mystery with horror elements scattered throughout, though not overdone.  Tudor does a great job of setting the scene and building the suspense with the decrepit chapel, abandoned and vandalized home, the creepy cemetery, and the overall off-putting vibe of the Chapel Croft residents.  My spidey sense was going off the whole book and I was eager to find out who I could trust, what secrets people were keeping, and what mysteries lay beneath it all.

I liked that the book wove together various histories of the town and Jack’s past to paint a more detailed picture of the characters and the setting.  Tudor expertly tied everything together with some really great wow moments, some of which may surprise even the most experienced thriller reader.

If you enjoy a great mystery with a bit of horror, religion, and an ominous setting, I absolutely recommend The Burning Girls!

Thank you to Random House Publishing Group and NetGalley for a copy of this novel.

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