Week three of January, and I think we all deserve a huge round of applause for making it this far. The last three weeks have been like an extract from The Hunger Games itself, but thankfully I’ve had some amazing books to get me through. I mentioned The Burning Girls in my January TBR and I read it in two days, I enjoyed it so much. Thank you so much to Gaby at Michael J Books for my copy of the book.
An unconventional vicar moves to a remote corner of the English countryside, only to discover a community haunted by death and disappearances both past and present–and intent on keeping its dark secrets–in this explosive, unsettling thriller from acclaimed author C. J. Tudor.
Welcome to Chapel Croft. Five hundred years ago, eight protestant martyrs were burned at the stake here. Thirty years ago, two teenage girls disappeared without a trace. And two months ago, the vicar of the local parish killed himself.
Reverend Jack Brooks, a single parent with a fourteen-year-old daughter and a heavy conscience, arrives in the village hoping to make a fresh start and find some peace. Instead, Jack finds a town mired in secrecy and a strange welcome package: an old exorcism kit and a note quoting scripture. “But there is nothing covered up that will not be revealed and hidden that will not be known.”
The more Jack and daughter Flo get acquainted with the town and its strange denizens, the deeper they are drawn into their rifts, mysteries, and suspicions. And when Flo is troubled by strange sightings in the old chapel, it becomes apparent that there are ghosts here that refuse to be laid to rest.
But uncovering the truth can be deadly in a village where everyone has something to protect, everyone has links with the village’s bloody past, and no one trusts an outsider.
I was taken aback by just how much I enjoyed this book. Right from the start, I felt connected to Jack and to Flo. It was evident they had both been through a lot in their previous lives in Nottingham, and were hoping for a fresh start in so many ways in a quiet village of Sussex. Being from Sussex myself, I felt more connected and drawn in to the novel, and it was even easier to become lost in the myths that surrounded the village and the chapel itself.
The book is told from multiple perspectives, some we know, and some we don’t. Between this, and between the mission that the vicar can’t help but undertake, gathering information as the book progresses, we find ourselves swept away in complete terror as myths and martyrs collide. Within pages of the book beginning, we see ghostly apprehensions and lights in locked rooms.
If you’re looking for something that is brilliantly written, easy to engage with, and will utterly terrify you long after you’ve finished it, look no further.
Content warning for talk of child abuse, suicide, old fashioned beliefs of mental illness and sexuality from minor characters, bullying, ableism and religious abuse.
My thanks again to Michael J Books for my copy.