The Burning Girls – CJ Tudor

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 her 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

Book Information: Print Length: 388 pages. Publisher: Penguin. Publication Date: 21 Jan 2021

C. J. Tudor

About the Author:

C. J. Tudor lives with her partner and young daughter. Her 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.

My Review:

I’m a huge fan of CJ Tudor’s previous standalone books and having heard so many glowing reviews for her latest book The Burning Girls I saved it for a 7 hour plane journey, popped my seat back, snuggled under the airlines blanket and started the book.

CJ’s books cross over several genres of fiction, they are always creepy with an element of supernatural, a dash of horror with a large dose of mystery and suspense and The Burning Girls is no exception.

Set in a small village steeped in history and legend, Jack Brooks is a Vicar who has been sent to Chapel Croft from Nottingham after a tragic event with a parishioner to escape the press and start afresh. The saying “out of the frying pan, into the fire” springs to mind as this sleepy village has so many secrets, unexplained deaths and spooky going ons.

What I particularly loved about this book is CJ’s ability to shock me and keep me on my toes and despite reading lots of books, there were several moments during this story that made me stop and think “aha” or “ooooh” or “WTAF?”.

The fictional village of Chapel Croft is described so vividly and in such detail that it was easy to visualise and the historical elements based on the true story of the Sussex Martyrs gives the reader plenty of goosebumps and cold shivers.

If you love a good scare, a story with enough ghosts and supernatural elements to give you the heebie-jeebies, characters that you care about and characters that you can despise, several gory murders, a number of unexplained deaths and a 30 year old mystery to solve, then I can highly recommend The Burning Girls.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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