The Burning Girls @cjtudor @ballantinebooks #fictionfriends #duoreiews @janbelisle @absltmom

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First of all Jan and I would like to wish all our fellow bloggers and their families a Merry Christmas and a wonderful 2021. We are all hoping for a better year where we can all get together and enjoy the company of family and friends. A world of thanks goes out to all those who worked through this virus and to those who so helped all of us get through this. To all of the medical people, the essential workers who kept our food stores stocked and our packages coming much gratitude is given.

and now to our reviews….

The Burning Girls

Jan’s review

Single mom Rev. Jack Brooks and her teenage daughter Flo  move to a small village in the English countryside, where Jack will be the new Vicar. But it soon becomes clear Chapel Croft is far from the idyllic peaceful village they were expecting. The town’s inhabitants are a quirky bunch and don’t give them the warmest of welcomes.

The village has a dark history involving the Sussex martyrs who were burned at the stake, the unsolved disappearance of two young girls 30 years ago, and the unexpected death of the previous Vicar. The spooky church and an exorcism kit complete with a dire warning complete the picture. Things turn even more ominous when Jack begins to experience strange dreams and Flo sees visions of the burning girls, said to be a harbinger of bad things to come. When the story takes off, the twists and revelations come fast and furious.  

But what I loved the most about this story were the characters. Jack is a bit of an unconventional vicar, with a unique viewpoint for a woman of the cloth. and lends out practical advice and wisdom to the villagers, along with acceptance and understanding. But not in a  ‘holier-than-thou’ way, more of a ‘aren’t you a cool vicar’ way. 

Tudor also nails the mother-daughter relationship. Flo is a good kid, an amateur photographer, but also a normal teenager, meaning she sometimes makes stupid decisions, and Jack handles it with love & skill.

If I have any complaints it’s that I would have preferred fewer points of view and chapter headings to indicate whose POV I was reading. The ending required a bit of suspension of disbelief but I expect that with this genre, and the journey to that point was so engaging I was able to look beyond it. This book ended a one month reading slump and is the first book I’ve finished in a month.

C.J. Tudor is a master storyteller who weaves a delicious tale with subtle humor and wisdom, and the usual nod to Stephen King. I highlighted. A lot. Kudos to the author for completely surprising me with her ending – I didn’t see it coming. But looking back through my highlights I realized the breadcrumbs were there all along. Well-done!

*I received a digital copy of the book via Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

* This was a buddy read with Marialyce, one we both enjoyed.

Marialyce’s review

As usual I was once again creeped out, scared, and thoroughly entertained by C.J. Tudor’s newest book, The Burning Girls. My goodness, that girl sure knows how to keep the spookiness going and creating a story that has all the things I love in my thrillers.

Welcome to Chapel Croft and interesting little town where their claim to fame is the killing of eight Protestant martyrs five hundred years ago. To this denizen of volatile happenings, comes Reverend Jack Brooks and her daughter Flo, assigned to Chapel Croft to fill a gap left by the suicide of the former reverend. They have their work cut out for them for they are the newbies in town, who themselves bear some dark secrets. To add to the mixture, there is also plus a creepy stalker out to find them having been just sprung from prison.
Things get spookier when facts present themselves. Two young girls went missing some thirty years ago, an exorcism kit turns up plus bloody girl “welcomes” them to the community. Who can forget the very strange young man cozying up to Flo, or the creepy suspicious parishioners who round out a team of chilling participants in a story that keeps the heat on until the last page is turned?

Jack’s life turns to the evil side as she is seeing things, burning girls that is, as well as having nightmares.  Flo seems also to be chased by the evil that seems to be prevalent in the town and the church. There are uncanny things afoot and though the theme is frightening, the actual cruelty of some of the young characters is what really is eerie.

There is a plethora for the reader to think about, and as usual Ms Tudor hits us with the one two punch, this reader has come to love. I was so looking forward to this book and happy to say, I was not disappointed in the presentation, the writing, and the aura that this author masterfully creates.

So grab this one when it comes out on February 9, 2021. You will not be disappointed.Thank you to C.J.Tudor, (keep them coming girl, Random House Publishing, and Netgalley for a copy of this stay up all night until your eyes bug out) thriller.

and here’s the author:

Bestselling author C.J. Tudor talks to PoetsIN about writing

C. J. Tudor was born in Salisbury and grew up in Nottingham, where she still lives with her partner and young daughter.

She left school at sixteen and has had a variety of jobs over the years, including trainee reporter, radio scriptwriter, shop assistant, ad agency copywriter and voiceover.

In the early nineties, she fell into a job as a television presenter for a show on Channel 4 called Moviewatch. Although a terrible presenter, she got to interview acting legends such as Sigourney Weaver, Michael Douglas, Emma Thompson and Robin Williams. She also annoyed Tim Robbins by asking a question about Susan Sarandon’s breasts and was extremely flattered when Robert Downey Junior showed her his chest.

While writing the Chalk Man she ran a dog-walking business, walking over twenty dogs a week as well as looking after her little girl.

She’s been writing since she was a child but only knuckled down to it properly in her thirties. Her English teacher once told her that if she ‘did not become Prime Minister or a best-selling author’ he would be ‘very disappointed.’

The Chalk Man was inspired by a tub of chalks a friend bought for her daughter’s second birthday. One afternoon they drew chalk figures all over the driveway. Later that night she opened the back door to be confronted by weird stick men everywhere. In the dark, they looked incredibly sinister. She called to her partner: ‘These chalk men look really creepy in the dark . . .’

She is never knowingly over-dressed. She has never owned a handbag and the last time she wore heels (twelve years ago) she broke a tooth.

She loves The Killers, Foo Fighters and Frank Turner. Her favourite venue is Rock City.
Her favourite films are Ghostbusters and The Lost Boys. Her favourite authors are Stephen King, Michael Marshall and Harlan Coben.
She is SO glad she was a teenager in the eighties.
She firmly believes that there are no finer meals than takeaway pizza and champagne, or chips with curry sauce after a night out.
Everyone calls her Caz.

As an aside……Jan and I love this author. She not only is a super talented author, but also is ever so grateful to her fans and people who review her stories. We are definitely an eager part of her fan club and would read anything she writes.

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14 thoughts on “The Burning Girls @cjtudor @ballantinebooks #fictionfriends #duoreiews @janbelisle @absltmom

  1. Excellent review Marialyce! Thanks for adding the aside…so true! I’m glad she became an author instead of Prime Minister 😉 Thanks for reading this with me and being the best reading buddy ever 💖

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  2. Loved your reviews, Jan and Marialyce! Sounds like a gripping story and if it helped Jan to get out of her reading slump, it must be really good. I always enjoy reading about the author and this one was so much fun 😁

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  3. Wonderful reviews, ladies. I am yet to read a book by Tudor but I hope to rectify that soon. I enjoyed reading ‘about the author’ section. The description about her dressing and how she came to write The Chalkman are so interesting, the former made me smile.

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  4. I agree with both of your thoughts on the book, ladies. I finally read this book and now I understand why Tudor is such an acclaimed author. Great reviews, Jan and Marialyce. If you don’t mind, can you change your blog background to your previous one?

    Liked by 1 person

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