Friday 29 January 2021

The Burning Girls by CJ Tudor @cjtudor @MichaelJBooks @GabyYoung #TheBurningGirls #BookReview


500 years ago: eight martyrs were burnt to death
30 years ago: two teenagers vanished without trace
Two months ago: the vicar committed suicide

Welcome to Chapel Croft.

For Rev Jack Brooks and teenage daughter Flo it's supposed to be a fresh start. New job, new home. But, as Jack knows, the past isn't easily forgotten.

And in a close-knit community where the residents seem as proud as they are haunted by Chapel Croft's history, Jack must tread carefully. Ancient superstitions as well as a mistrust of outsiders will be hard to overcome.

Yet right away Jack has more frightening concerns.

Why is Flo plagued by visions of burning girls?
Who's sending them sinister, threatening messages?
And why did no one mention that the last vicar killed himself?

Chapel Croft's secrets lie deep and dark as the tomb. Jack wouldn't touch them if not for Flo - anything to protect Flo.

But the past is catching up with Chapel Croft - and with Jack. For old ghosts with scores to settle will never rest . . .

The Burning Girls by C J Tudor was published in hardback on 21 January 2021 by Penguin Michael Joseph. The paperback will be published in August this year. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review. 

I have read and enjoyed all of this author's previous books, but have to say that The Burning Girls is my absolute favourite so far. I was totally spooked by this story. The author is so clever in her writing, the story develops with such an insidious feel and before you know it, you are entrenched in a world of hauntings and crimes and dark, hidden secrets. 

Reverend Jack Jones and her teenage daughter Flo have recently moved to Chapel Croft. Jack will be the temporary parish vicar, after the recent suicide of the last one in post. Chapel Croft appears to be a quiet, traditional, sleepy village, a far cry from their last home in the centre of the city of Nottingham. It's clear that Jack is leaving Nottingham under a cloud, and it's even clearer that her new parishioners have done their homework. Certainly there a few of them that are aware of her past.

Chapel Croft has a long and quite violent history. The Sussex Martyrs originated from there; eight villagers who were burnt at the stake during Queen Mary's purge of Protestants in the 1500s. Two of these martyrs were young girls and every year twigs formed into the shape of 'The Burning Girls' are set alight in a ceremony to recognise the anniversary.

More recently, in 1990, two teenage girls from the village went missing. It was assumed that they'd run away, they were never found.

This is a hell of a ride! From day one, Jack and Flo are uneasy about their new surroundings. Flo sees visions of burning girls, Jack receives strange and threatening notes and the most horrific 'welcome parcel'. Jack is also aware that someone from her past could possibly catch up with her very soon.  Combine this with trying to get to know your colleagues and your neighbours and it leads to a very stressful time indeed.

There are a whole lot of secrets laying hidden in the shadows of Chapel Croft, and it's not long before these start to be unearthed, and what a horrifying and quite terrifying mix of stories are revealed. People are not what they seem, but many of them are incredibly good at creating a facade. Jack and Flo find this out to their cost, and at times, both of them face the most intense and dangerous situations.

This is a thrilling and fabulously entertaining mix of the supernatural and crime fiction and Tudor writes incredibly well. She throws in the most unexpected curve balls, throwing the reader off course and casting doubts about everyone.

Maybe think about reading this in daylight .... and keeping the bedroom light on when you sleep! 

C. J. Tudor's love of writing, especially the dark and macabre, started young. When her peers were
reading Judy Blume, she was devouring Stephen King and James Herbert.

Over the years she has had a variety of jobs, including trainee reporter, radio scriptwriter, dog walker, voiceover artist, television presenter, copywriter and, now, author.

Her first novel, The Chalk Man, was a Sunday Times bestseller and has sold in over forty countries. Her second novel, The Taking of Annie Thorne, was also a Sunday Times bestseller as was her third novel The Other People.

She lives in Sussex with her family.

Twitter @CJTudor

Facebook @CJTudorOfficial

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