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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 stak 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.


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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 stak 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.

30 review for The Burning Girls

  1. 5 out of 5

    Nilufer Ozmekik

    Nail bitingly irritating, soul crushingly blood freezing, terrifyingly heart throbbing. Horror, thriller, whodunnit murder mystery genres captivatingly blend each other. And final unexpected twist seals the deal: take my five billion stars and give me more magnificent books like this! What an unputdownable, bumpy, jumpy ride! A badass, smart, quick witted female vicar Jack and her artistically talented, loner, smart daughter Flo move into one of the eeriest, creepiest and most haunted place name Nail bitingly irritating, soul crushingly blood freezing, terrifyingly heart throbbing. Horror, thriller, whodunnit murder mystery genres captivatingly blend each other. And final unexpected twist seals the deal: take my five billion stars and give me more magnificent books like this! What an unputdownable, bumpy, jumpy ride! A badass, smart, quick witted female vicar Jack and her artistically talented, loner, smart daughter Flo move into one of the eeriest, creepiest and most haunted place named Chapel Croft where 8 Protestant martyrs were burned at the stake nearly 50 decades ago and two teenage girls vaporized into thin air 30 years ago. And let’s not forget what happened to her predecessor: last vicar on charge killed himself before they arrive. A dangerous man who was recently released from the prison is coming for them. The ghosts of burning girls start to appear in front of mother and daughter in the middle of nowhere to warn them spiritually and all the town’s people act suspicious as if they’re keeping a big secret from them. As vicar Jack Brooks (short for Jacquline, don’t get fooled MC is man, I made that mistake at first two or three pages and I’m still ashamed of myself! ) digs out more and gets closer to find the truth, she realizes she drags herself and daughter into one of the most dangerous place to look into the eyes of pure evil! Yeap, I love this author’s works! She knows how to make me scare shitless and keep me in my toes! Especially her last surprising twist was another sucker punch against my face. I even wrote an emotional eulogy for my dying spidey senses. As an ultra lucky cow I’m so grateful for this reviewer copy and special thanks to NetGalley, dear Kathleen Quinlan, Random House Publishing Group/ Ballantine Books to send it to me in exchange my honest thoughts. I loved it soooo much!

  2. 4 out of 5

    MarilynW

    The Burning Girls by C.J. Tudor What a horrifying title, especially because it's referring to two young girls being burned, after being tortured, all in the name of religion. This happened 500 years ago, when eight protestant martyrs were burned at the stake, in Chapel Croft. Now, Reverend Jack Brooks and her fifteen year old daughter are in Chapel Croft so that Jack can tend to the parish, after the last reverend hung himself. Although the location might have some slight resemblance to the TV s The Burning Girls by C.J. Tudor What a horrifying title, especially because it's referring to two young girls being burned, after being tortured, all in the name of religion. This happened 500 years ago, when eight protestant martyrs were burned at the stake, in Chapel Croft. Now, Reverend Jack Brooks and her fifteen year old daughter are in Chapel Croft so that Jack can tend to the parish, after the last reverend hung himself. Although the location might have some slight resemblance to the TV show Midsomer Murders, as Jack will mention, things run much deeper and darker in Chapel Croft. Jack has her own murky path, covered in controversy, blood, and death and there is a violent stalker, who has just been released from prison.  Things immediately go badly when Jack and Flo arrive at their new home, with a bloody child arriving at the chapel, stories of sightings of the two burning martyred girls, and secretive and unwelcoming parishioners. Flo becomes friends with a strange, awkward boy, Jack is having terrible nightmares of the past and present, and few people want to discuss what has happened in the past. There is also the parish history of two teenage girls disappearing thirty years ago. And Jack is left a box that contains an exorcism kit and a scriptural warning. Jack is leaving a bloody controversy behind but seems to have landed in even more trouble than she has left.  I really enjoyed this story a lot although the teenage vicious bullying was more horrifying to me than the legends and sightings of the burning girls. But the bullying isn't just from teenagers, there are parishioners that are bullies, too. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree...parents need to beware of behavior that they may be passing on to their children. This is a complex tale with several timelines and with lots of characters to follow. After I finished the story, I had to think about what I'd read to figure out everything that had happened. It was less scary in a ghostly way but instead in real life "humans are cruel" way.  Publication: February 9, 2021 Thank you to Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine Books and NetGalley for this ARC.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Meredith ( on Semi-Hiatus until February)

    Deceptive “Who says the devil has to be a man?” The Burning Girls is a creepy, atmospheric psychological thriller about an insular village with a dark past comprised of religious martyrs, missing girls, and exorcisms. In response to a scandal, Vicar Jack Brooks and her 15-year-old daughter Flo move from urban Nottingham to a small village in the countryside. As the new Vicar of Chapel Croft, Jack does not find a warm welcome, to say the least. The village is filled with eccentric residents who a Deceptive “Who says the devil has to be a man?” The Burning Girls is a creepy, atmospheric psychological thriller about an insular village with a dark past comprised of religious martyrs, missing girls, and exorcisms. In response to a scandal, Vicar Jack Brooks and her 15-year-old daughter Flo move from urban Nottingham to a small village in the countryside. As the new Vicar of Chapel Croft, Jack does not find a warm welcome, to say the least. The village is filled with eccentric residents who are covering up scandals from the past, many leading directly back to Chapel Croft. As Flo and Jack make their way in this strange town, their lives are put in imminent danger. The narrative alternates between Jack and Flo's POV's, but there are some chapters told from voices of the missing girls and other chapters from some other characters' POV's. I enjoyed Jack and Flo’s chapters, but I found the chapters from the missing girls and Jacob confusing, and in the end, they didn’t really add much overall. Tudor sets up an eerie and tense atmosphere, with some paranormal events woven in. The atmosphere of the small cottage coupled with the crumbling chapel, had me freaked out and yelling at the characters for going into crumbling basements and other scary places alone. I was shaking my head often. I enjoyed Flo and Jack’s banter and their inner dialogue, especially when they were making stupid decisions. Lots of pop culture and film references added some much-needed humor. “You may not be able to judge a book by its cover, but you can certainly judge a person by their books.” There are some surprising twists and turns. Although, some GIANT clues are given early on, and if one catches on, not much will be surprising. Thankfully, I read right past these clues! The beginning was a little slow, but once the events started coming together, the suspense ramps up, and this book becomes hard to put down. The last 20% was making me nervous. I was left with some questions, and I found the ending a little messy. Also, the epilogue was LAME! However, in the end, entertainment and intrigue won out, and I was left wanting to read another C.J. Tudor book! “History is written by the ruthless.” I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

  4. 5 out of 5

    daph pink ♡

    "The greatest gift the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist."  I am so happy to announce my first 5 star mystery-thriller of the year. This is exactly how a PERFECT atmospheric , engrossing, riveting, page turner, gripping , taut, unputdownable, nail-biter, well thought out ,pacy mystery thriller with plenty of creepy, spine-chilling moments is created. Some authors should take notes ( RS ) ! 🔥 Plot In short ⤵ ancient superstition + a decade old disappearance + some pr "The greatest gift the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist."  I am so happy to announce my first 5 star mystery-thriller of the year. This is exactly how a PERFECT atmospheric , engrossing, riveting, page turner, gripping , taut, unputdownable, nail-biter, well thought out ,pacy mystery thriller with plenty of creepy, spine-chilling moments is created. Some authors should take notes ( RS ) ! 🔥 Plot In short ⤵ ancient superstition + a decade old disappearance + some present sinister going on I can't summarise it better, without giving too much away and spoiling everything. I loved the way Tudor weaved the different strands together created a complex multi-layered story.The reader is left guessing until the last few chapters how these elements of the story relate and come together. Some excellent folk horror spills over into horror which was so perfectly woven I can't help but appreciate. I also loved the different perspectives of characters at times and the jumping from past to present. It made you understand the book more as well as understanding the characters. 🔥 Characters -The two main characters, Jack and Flo, are well-drawn and likeable. Jack is immensely appealing: She curses and smokes, and her faith, which she explores throughout, is complicated.Flo is not what I would call your typical teenager but I really liked her as a Character and the chapters that were from her point of view. The relationship between mother and daughter was depicted truthfully without any sugarcoating. Apart from them there were so many small characters and I loved how no one is innocent and everyone has a past however much they think it is dead and buried. 🔥 Writing - The writing flows well and is a quick and easy read. There is great tension, compelling atmosphere and unease. Overall it was engaging and gripped me. 🔥 Atmosphere - The whole sinister, unsettling atmosphere of a small and remote village in the Countryside where the residents all pull together and have deep dark secrets that they have kept for hundreds of years was so refreshing to me . Yess call it weird , I live for dark and atmospheric things. 🔥 Twists and turns -The twists and turns come thick and fast, the pace never letting up with short chapters, usually ending with a cliffhanger so leading the reader deeper into the story.The ending was electrifying, i couldn’t sleep post reading the book. Yet so worth reading at midnight. And that very last twist. You think you have it all figured it and then BAM! DIDN’T SEE THAT COMING, DID YA???? Bottom line ⤵ It is absolutely worth being exhausted from staying up so late. Trust me . Pick it up.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Maureen

    City based Reverend, Jack Brooks, has been assigned a new posting in the little hamlet of Chapel Croft in Sussex. It’s a temporary posting, and not exactly a welcome one, especially for 15 year old daughter Flo. Flo definitely isn’t happy at finding herself at the back end of nowhere after living in the bustling city of Nottingham, especially as it means leaving all her friends behind. Neither of them are happy actually, the chapel is a dump, and the house dilapidated, but serving the church has City based Reverend, Jack Brooks, has been assigned a new posting in the little hamlet of Chapel Croft in Sussex. It’s a temporary posting, and not exactly a welcome one, especially for 15 year old daughter Flo. Flo definitely isn’t happy at finding herself at the back end of nowhere after living in the bustling city of Nottingham, especially as it means leaving all her friends behind. Neither of them are happy actually, the chapel is a dump, and the house dilapidated, but serving the church has to come first. They soon discover that Chapel Croft has a strange tradition called the Burning Girls, which commemorates local martyrs who were burned at the stake in the 16th century. It all gets very creepy after that! In a community full of secrets, C J Tudor ever so slowly builds up the tension, to create a dark, creepy but thrilling mystery. Jack Brooks is a fantastic protagonist, not at all how you’d expect a Vicar to behave, and it adds a level of amusement to the proceedings. The plot was great too - twig dolls, eerie visions, strange goings on, and even stranger locals. A very compelling read! *Thank you to Netgalley and Penguin Michael Joseph for an ARC in exchange for an honest unbiased review *

  6. 5 out of 5

    Dorie - Cats&Books :)

    Oh this is a difficult review for me to write. I really enjoyed “The Chalkman” and “The Other People” but with this new book I think that Ms.Tudor has crossed that line between thriller and horror. This was a bit of a shock to me. I’m fine with ghosts and supernatural elements. The burning girls I knew were trying to warn them of bad things that were going to happen. The descriptions and stories of the Sussex Martyrs’ from the 16th century were appalling but those were different times. What felt s Oh this is a difficult review for me to write. I really enjoyed “The Chalkman” and “The Other People” but with this new book I think that Ms.Tudor has crossed that line between thriller and horror. This was a bit of a shock to me. I’m fine with ghosts and supernatural elements. The burning girls I knew were trying to warn them of bad things that were going to happen. The descriptions and stories of the Sussex Martyrs’ from the 16th century were appalling but those were different times. What felt so very evil and stomach churning to me were the descriptions of teenage bullying, to the point of harm. Physical violence with a “satanic feel” made the book uncomfortable for me to read. So those are some of the thoughts I wanted to share. As for a synopsis, this is a novel about a single priest, Jack, raising a 15 year old daughter, Flo. After an incident at her parish, involving an exorcism gone very wrong, she is assigned a position in a small town, Chapel Cross, where the 16th century burning of martyrs occurred. Jack is not really happy with the placement but she goes along with it. Her daughter would have preferred a larger city. The congregation is a small one. Upon arriving, Jack finds out some things about her predecessor that are very disturbing. She’s also been left a box from him which includes an exorcism kit. Aside from the dark history of the Sussex Martyrs’, there is also the mystery of two teenage girls missing for 30 years. The longer Jack and Flo are in the town the more secrets and lies they discover. Meanwhile Flo is spending the summer quite alone. She isn’t bothered by it at first because she loves to take photographs and developes them herself. She and her mom are trying to decide if the basement could be converted to a darkroom. Finally she meets a boy about her age. They have some great conversations and things are going well. Flo may be having her first teenage crush. As with most young girls in love, sometimes Flo dropped her defenses and did some dangerous things. There will be lessons to be learned. Rosie is another “friend” to watch, she’s a real charmer. There are so many twists in this one it will make your head spin. Unfortunately for me parts of this novel moved in the horror genre or mood and I didn’t enjoy that feeling. Obviously her writing is incredible if it can make me feel the horror, but I was sort of blindsided by it. There are many people who loved this book. Ms. Tudor is an amazing writer, this story just wasn’t one of my favorites. One thing I think it lacked was character development, and perhaps that was partly the intent (you’ll know what I mean when you read the book) I received an ARC of this novel from the publisher through NetGalley. The novel is set to publish on February 9, 2021

  7. 4 out of 5

    Debra (having surgery will be back in a few days)

    "The greatest gift the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist." - The Usual Suspects This book started slowly for me, and I found myself wondering what all the hype was about, but as I kept reading, I quickly realized what all the hype was about. This book will slowly creep up on you, tap you on the shoulder, and grab your attention and give you the creeps all at the same time. So, what I am saying is, if this book begins slowly for you, hang in there because the proverbia "The greatest gift the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist." - The Usual Suspects This book started slowly for me, and I found myself wondering what all the hype was about, but as I kept reading, I quickly realized what all the hype was about. This book will slowly creep up on you, tap you on the shoulder, and grab your attention and give you the creeps all at the same time. So, what I am saying is, if this book begins slowly for you, hang in there because the proverbial you-know-what is about to hit the fan. Five hundred years ago in Chapel Croft, eight protestant martyrs were burned at the stake. Thirty years ago, in Chapel Croft, two teenage girls vanished without a trace. Two months ago, the local vicar killed himself. Vicar Jack Brooks, a single mother of a fourteen-year-old daughter arrives in Chapel Croft hoping to make a fresh start. She is welcomed by an old exorcism kit and an interesting bunch of parishioners. Some welcoming, some guarded, some are downright hostile. Soon Jack's daughter Flo begins to have sightings... If you think you know where this book is heading, think again. I love that I couldn't quite figure this book out but looking back there were several red herrings that upon finishing, I thought "of course" but hindsight is 20/20 as they say. I really enjoyed how this book unfolded. She slowly built her story which was multilayered and then when the end was near, she had me on a roller coaster ride of twists, turns, and revelations. Notice I said revelations as there was more than one big reveal. Whew! C.J. Tudor has done it again and proved that she is a master storyteller. Well written, well thought out, creepy with mounting tension and suspense. The Burning Girls does not disappoint. Thank you to Random House - Ballantine and NetGalley who provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All the thoughts and opinions are my own.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Paromjit

    CJ Tudor's latest offering is an atmospheric psychological thriller shot through with elements of horror and the supernatural, set in the Sussex hamlet of Chapel Croft, defined by its 500 year old history where 2 young girls, the burning girls, were amongst a group of burned martyrs, an event still commemorated with the burning of twig girls. 30 years ago, two 15 year old girls, Merry Lane and Joy Harris went missing, assumed to have run away. More recently, the Reverend Fletcher committed suici CJ Tudor's latest offering is an atmospheric psychological thriller shot through with elements of horror and the supernatural, set in the Sussex hamlet of Chapel Croft, defined by its 500 year old history where 2 young girls, the burning girls, were amongst a group of burned martyrs, an event still commemorated with the burning of twig girls. 30 years ago, two 15 year old girls, Merry Lane and Joy Harris went missing, assumed to have run away. More recently, the Reverend Fletcher committed suicide by hanging himself, leaving a vacancy that is filled temporarily by the widowed Reverend Jacqueline 'Jack' Brooks, a single mother with a 15 year old daughter, Flo, neither of whom are happy to be moving from Nottingham to a rural backwater after Jack's notoriety over the fate of young Ruby. Jack is not your traditional vicar, a woman with vices and the common touch, with a troubling and traumatic personal history, and a close and tender relationship with her photography mad Flo, a bond strengthened by their outlier personalities, and the love of the underdog. Jack is greeted with the strange and creepy exorcism box and lines from the scriptures, on her arrival, and her worries are increased when Flo begins to see apparitions of the burning girls, one of whom is headless and armless, an ominous portent according to local folklore. Their baptism of fire continues with cruel and bullying teenagers, locals sent notes alluding to Jack's troubles in Nottingham, and Flo meets the bullied and shunned Lucas Wrigley suffering from dystonia. A troubled Jack can't identify why Flo's developing relationship with Wrigley makes her feels unsettled, although she admits any boy getting close to Flo would not be welcome. As accidents, exorcisms, abuse, historical untruths, blackmail, missing knives, ancient skeletons, and murders, old and new, and much more come to light, not to mention the release of a prison inmate showing an inordinate interest in Jack, the narrative becomes loaded with tension and suspense, as grave dangers from numerous directions start to close in on Jack and Flo. Tudor excels in building an ever growing sense of dread and terror, in this compulsive and intense novel, her characterisation is so good, particularly of Jack, Flo and Wriggly. This will appeal to those who love their crime and thrillers on the darkest side of life and packed with twists and turns. Many thanks to Penguin Michael Joseph for an ARC.

  9. 5 out of 5

    JanB

    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 d 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 reading slump and is the first book I’ve finished in over 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. For our duo reviews please visit https://yayareadslotsofbooks.wordpres...

  10. 5 out of 5

    megs_bookrack

    **4.5-stars rounded up** After a scandal at her church leaves a child dead, unconventional vicar, Jack Brooks, and her teenage daughter, Flo, are relocated to the village of Chapel Croft. This is quite a shift from their life in Nottingham, but they are both determined to make the best of it. The location is peaceful, remote and feels a million miles from their old life. Upon arrival, they are surprised by the untidy condition of the old chapel and their new residence, but still determined to make **4.5-stars rounded up** After a scandal at her church leaves a child dead, unconventional vicar, Jack Brooks, and her teenage daughter, Flo, are relocated to the village of Chapel Croft. This is quite a shift from their life in Nottingham, but they are both determined to make the best of it. The location is peaceful, remote and feels a million miles from their old life. Upon arrival, they are surprised by the untidy condition of the old chapel and their new residence, but still determined to make it work; they really don't have much of a choice otherwise. They also discover that Chapel Croft, like many small towns, has a dark past buried not far from the surface. Five hundred years ago, eight Protestants, including two young girls, were burned at the stake for their beliefs. This incident has shaped the town in many ways and the descendants of these original martyrs are still held in high regard. They also have a slightly disturbing tradition of making little stick dolls in memory of The Burning Girls; a few of which Jack and Flo stumble upon shortly after arriving in town. More recently, the village has been plague by other unfortunate events, like the disappearance of two teen girls thirty-years earlier. In fact, just two months ago, the previous vicar took his own life. A fact Jack was unaware of when she accepted the position. The people of the village have been through a lot. Secrets and suspicions abound amongst the residents, and when outsiders move in, it tends to cause quite the stir. Flo unfortunately runs into the local bullies fairly soon after arriving in town and they latch on to her as their newest target. She also makes a friend, Lucas Wrigley, who because of a neurological disorder, finds himself bullied as well. For her part, Jack is doing her best to learn what she can about her new congregation and ingratiate herself to its people. Jack knows establishing strong personal relationships is key to her success there. She needs these people to trust her, if this placement is going to last. However, some folks are easier to appease than others and Jack happens to be hiding a few secrets of her own, including the circumstances surrounding her departure from her former church. The Burning Girls was such a fun read. It's a slow burn, but once Jack and Flo are settled in their new home, disturbing occurrences begin happening with more regularity. From there, the pace continues to increase through the jaw-dropping finale. There's some interesting subplots, where I wondered how it was all going to connect. Once the puzzle pieces fell into place, I was absolutely chilled. I loved how Tudor brought this all together and honestly, didn't see it coming! Additionally, I loved the overall atmosphere. Chapel Croft came to life within these pages. It felt ominous; that feeling where you know something is not right, but you can't quite put your finger on it. There was a tremendous cast of characters. It felt like Jack and Flo against the world, which really increased the intensity. I just wanted them to pack their bags and move! Thank you so much to the publisher, Ballantine Books, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review. I had an absolute blast with it and can't wait to pick up more of Tudor's work!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Kaceey

    I have been hit and miss with this author since day one. Her first two books left me cold and I thought we would be parting ways. But no so fast..... I took a chance with her last book The other People since the reviews were amazing and I finally saw what all the fuss was about. It was amazing. So with this latest release by C.J. Tudor’s I went in with a slight case of nerves. Not knowing which side I would fall on. And.... I loved it! I think it’s safe to say I am now on the C.J. Tudor bandwagon. I have been hit and miss with this author since day one. Her first two books left me cold and I thought we would be parting ways. But no so fast..... I took a chance with her last book The other People since the reviews were amazing and I finally saw what all the fuss was about. It was amazing. So with this latest release by C.J. Tudor’s I went in with a slight case of nerves. Not knowing which side I would fall on. And.... I loved it! I think it’s safe to say I am now on the C.J. Tudor bandwagon. Please move over everyone and make room for me to join you all! Vicar Jack Brooks has a new assignment. She is leaving Nottingham in a bit of well one could say a scandal. She is moved to a quiet village where the church hopes she can stay out of trouble. Ha! Apparently they don’t know this Jack Brooks very well. I loved Vicar Brooks she was presented in such a way that I had to remind myself she was a woman of the church. Quite the character! The atmosphere of the book is dark and eerie at times but never frightening. So have no fear my fellow scaredy-cats you can read this one with ease! I am now anxiously awaiting C. J. Tudor’s next release.... this time with NO hesitation! I’m all in! Posted to: https://books-are-a-girls-best-friend... Thank you to NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Ceecee

    ‘By the pricking of my thumbs Something wicked this way comes’ It sure does. Reverend Jack Brooks and daughter Flo get a temporary posting to Chapel Croft in Sussex after some problems in the old parish in Nottingham. What unfolds will not only blow your socks off, it’ll ignite them too. This is very well written, I like the lively (oh boy, is it’s lively!) and engaging style and the humour between Jack and Flo which demonstrates their close relationship. I love the film references too and that th ‘By the pricking of my thumbs Something wicked this way comes’ It sure does. Reverend Jack Brooks and daughter Flo get a temporary posting to Chapel Croft in Sussex after some problems in the old parish in Nottingham. What unfolds will not only blow your socks off, it’ll ignite them too. This is very well written, I like the lively (oh boy, is it’s lively!) and engaging style and the humour between Jack and Flo which demonstrates their close relationship. I love the film references too and that the author challenges the readers expectations. There’s a good mixture of well depicted characters especially Jack and Flo, the latter being my stand out character. I love the weaving of the fact of the Sussex Martyrs of 1555-57 with the fiction and folklore of events in Chapel Croft with the burning omens of doom. There are surprises aplenty so expect your jaw to thud to the floor and your eyes to pop in shock. CJ Tudor uses all the senses to convey some horrifying occurrences with some examples of human cruelty. It is as scary as hell in places with some truly creeptastic locations and accompanied by spooky events to raise the hairs on the back of your neck. I did figure some aspects out as the clues are there but some came as a very unpleasant curveball. I had to reflect on the ending for a while but conclude it is good and very twisty. I like the symbolic way that Jack leaves the past behind. Overall, another winner from the author and I have no doubt this will another best seller. With thanks to NetGalley and Penguin Michael Joseph for the much appreciated arc copy for an honest review.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Liz

    Mysteries are my favorite genre but it’s the rare mystery that I award five stars. That’s because very few dive deep and have me thinking about more than the whodunit. So, kudos to CJ Tudor for achieving exactly that. Some books start with a slow boil. And others start with a bang. This one is in the latter camp. Reverend Jack Brooks is forced to change her assignment after something goes wrong in her inner city parish. She’s sent to a small parish in the country, whose last minister committed s Mysteries are my favorite genre but it’s the rare mystery that I award five stars. That’s because very few dive deep and have me thinking about more than the whodunit. So, kudos to CJ Tudor for achieving exactly that. Some books start with a slow boil. And others start with a bang. This one is in the latter camp. Reverend Jack Brooks is forced to change her assignment after something goes wrong in her inner city parish. She’s sent to a small parish in the country, whose last minister committed suicide. The parish’s history also includes the burning of eight Protestants back during Queen Mary’s reign five hundred years ago. Tudor writes an engaging, tension filled story. I appreciated her descriptive ability. “You can never leave your past behind you. It trails at your heels like a faithful old dog, refusing to leave you. And sometimes, it bites your arse.” I really enjoyed Jack - her attitude, her philosophy about religion and motherhood. She’s got a dry sense of humor. Flo is an equally appealing character and I enjoyed the chapters alternating between the two. Tudor uses others, not just Jack, to express various thoughts on religion. There’s quite a bit of philosophy to this book and I found myself highlighting whole paragraphs. There is a supernatural/horror subtheme to this book with ghosts making appearances. Normally, that would turn me off but not here. Jack’s backstory also factors into the current story. I didn't see any of the twists coming and was totally surprised by the ending. My thanks to netgalley and Random House for an advance copy of this book

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jayme

    THE BURNING GIRLS STILL HAUNT THE CHAPEL...IF YOU SEE THEM, SOMETHING BAD WILL BEFALL YOU.. Reverend Jack Brooks is a Vicar with Vices, a wicked sense of humor, and a 15 year old daughter named Flo. Transferred to Chapel Croft, on an interim basis, the two are greeted with replicas of the Burning girls-twig dolls made each year to commemorate the Sussex Martyrs-eight villagers burnt at the stake during Queen Mary’s purge of the Protestants (1553-8), which are set alight annually on the anniversary THE BURNING GIRLS STILL HAUNT THE CHAPEL...IF YOU SEE THEM, SOMETHING BAD WILL BEFALL YOU.. Reverend Jack Brooks is a Vicar with Vices, a wicked sense of humor, and a 15 year old daughter named Flo. Transferred to Chapel Croft, on an interim basis, the two are greeted with replicas of the Burning girls-twig dolls made each year to commemorate the Sussex Martyrs-eight villagers burnt at the stake during Queen Mary’s purge of the Protestants (1553-8), which are set alight annually on the anniversary of the purge. And, an exorcism Kit. Because that isn’t all that has happened in this small town. 30 years ago, two teenage girls went missing, never to be seen or heard from again. And, two months ago, the presiding Vicar took his own life. Now, Flo is starting to see visions of the original Burning Girls in the chapel and the adjacent graveyard. This story starts with a simmer, as the plot points are developed, but the ending is SIZZLING! 🔥 I never saw the final reveal coming, and it elevated what had been just a “good “ read for me, to 4⭐️S! Thank you to Ballantine Books for the invitation to read this early! It was my pleasure to provide a candid review! Available NOW!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Melissa ~ Bantering Books (On Reviewing Hiatus)

    Be sure to visit Bantering Books to read all my latest reviews. I wrote my very first book review a year ago. And over the past 12 months, I have failed to find, from start to finish, a truly satisfying thriller. One that is tightly and expertly written, amazingly entertaining, and not overly ludicrous. You see, that’s the problem I have with the genre. While the majority of thrillers are, in fact, thrilling, I find so many of them to be absurd, plot-holed, and nonsensical. But such is not the case Be sure to visit Bantering Books to read all my latest reviews. I wrote my very first book review a year ago. And over the past 12 months, I have failed to find, from start to finish, a truly satisfying thriller. One that is tightly and expertly written, amazingly entertaining, and not overly ludicrous. You see, that’s the problem I have with the genre. While the majority of thrillers are, in fact, thrilling, I find so many of them to be absurd, plot-holed, and nonsensical. But such is not the case with C.J. Tudor’s latest release, The Burning Girls. It checks all my boxes – and it’s absolutely fantastic. The town of Chapel Croft has a tragic past. Centuries ago, Protestant martyrs were betrayed and burned. Thirty years ago, two teenage girls vanished, never to be found. And within the last few weeks, the local vicar hanged himself inside of the church. Reverend Jacqueline “Jack” Brooks and her 14-year-old daughter, Flo, arrive in Chapel Croft, intent on starting over. But instead of being warmly received by the townspeople, they are greeted with apprehension, hostility, and an exorcism kit. Yep. That’s right. An exorcism kit. How’s that for a welcome gift? As Jack and Flo settle into Chapel Croft, it soon becomes clear the history of the town isn’t just riddled with death and disappearances. It has its fair share of ghosts, too. When Flo begins seeing burning girls, terrifying visions of young women set aflame, Jack realizes that Chapel Croft’s horrid past no longer wants to be buried – and that it has risen from its grave. Clearly, The Burning Girls is not your standard thriller. It’s more of a supernatural horror thriller, written very much in the same vein as an old-school Stephen King novel. While reading, it’s almost impossible to not see the similarities to King in both style and tone, and Tudor even gleefully meets the comparison head on by pointedly referencing the beloved author in the narrative. And Tudor’s novel parallels King in a few other ways. First off, it’s incredibly entertaining and compulsively readable. I didn’t ever want to put the book down, I was so riveted. And there is never ever a boring, dull moment, with Tudor’s straightforward writing making for a swift and easy read. Secondly, it’s creepy as all get out and blatantly bloody and gory. The eerie and graphic nature of The Burning Girls makes it not an ideal read for the squeamish and those who dislike being scared. I’m not one to spook easily, but I definitely felt a chill slide down my spine a time or two. Tudor got me, and she got me good. Thirdly, the novel stars an unforgettable and somewhat quirky lead character. Jack is just . . . so freakin’ cool. She’s a cigarette-smoking, bird-flipping priest who listens to The Killers and has to regularly remind herself to be Christian. She mothers fiercely, and she will unapologetically do whatever is necessary to protect Flo. I wish I could drink a beer with Jack. We would get along quite well, I think. And thriller fans – you can relax. Even with its notable King influence, The Burning Girls is still a thriller at heart, and it is filled with non-stop excitement and jaw-dropping twists. It is nowhere near lacking in the thrills department – it simply has chills to go along it. Which brings me to the one downside of the novel. Tudor too loudly telegraphs her clues to the mysteries. She lays them out in the wide open for all to easily see, requiring only semi-close attention to be paid to find them. Therefore, I successfully solved the big twist and most of the novel’s side puzzles on my own, way earlier than I would have liked. But it didn’t matter. Suspecting that I had the solution never detracted from my overall enjoyment, and I ultimately found the conclusion satisfying. There were still plenty of surprises for me along the way, and I even think I may have read the novel faster out of urgency to know whether my theories were correct. And I will say this – those who are lucky enough to not see the big twist coming are in for a shock. The ending of The Burning Girls will knock your socks off. Bravo, Ms. Tudor. All the stars for you – and my first ever five-star thriller review. My sincerest appreciation to C.J. Tudor, Ballantine Books, and NetGalley for the Advance Review Copy. All opinions included herein are my own. Bantering Books Instagram Twitter Facebook

  16. 4 out of 5

    Holly B

    What started out as a rather s-l-o-w burn turned into a fast-paced, frantic conclusion! Jack Brooks is not your ordinary vicar and Chapel Croft is not your ordinary small town! Flo is Jack's 14 year old daughter and they both were hoping for a peaceful transition to their new fresh start, but the strange past and hidden secrets of the village begin to haunt them almost immediately. I found the beginning slow and hard to connect all the dots. There are a few secret POV's and confusing at first, but What started out as a rather s-l-o-w burn turned into a fast-paced, frantic conclusion! Jack Brooks is not your ordinary vicar and Chapel Croft is not your ordinary small town! Flo is Jack's 14 year old daughter and they both were hoping for a peaceful transition to their new fresh start, but the strange past and hidden secrets of the village begin to haunt them almost immediately. I found the beginning slow and hard to connect all the dots. There are a few secret POV's and confusing at first, but they become apparent later. Once the story takes off, I couldn't stop reading it! Very creepy, atmospheric with some elements of horror and supernatural events. It is clever and intense with a side of darkness Thanks so much to NG for my advanced copy! OUT on February 9, 2021

  17. 4 out of 5

    Susanne Strong

    Review published on blog: https://books-are-a-girls-best-friend... Bewitching, Spooky, and Suspenseful! Jack Brooks is the new Vicar in Chapel Croft. She and her daughter Flo are new in town. Unfortunately for them, Chapel Croft has a history, and the community itself isn’t exactly welcoming. What is the town known for, you ask? Exorcisms; Burning Girls; Martyrs; Missing Girls; and Murder. Not exactly homey, if I do say so myself. Upon moving into the cottage next to the Chapel, both Jack and Flo Review published on blog: https://books-are-a-girls-best-friend... Bewitching, Spooky, and Suspenseful! Jack Brooks is the new Vicar in Chapel Croft. She and her daughter Flo are new in town. Unfortunately for them, Chapel Croft has a history, and the community itself isn’t exactly welcoming. What is the town known for, you ask? Exorcisms; Burning Girls; Martyrs; Missing Girls; and Murder. Not exactly homey, if I do say so myself. Upon moving into the cottage next to the Chapel, both Jack and Flo find themselves in danger, and neither is willing to admit it to the other. Tsk tsk. Big Mistake! Huge, in Fact. Ghosts of burning girls appear. Is it a trick of the eye? Most of the townsfolk act nice. Can they be trusted? Long kept secrets are discovered. What pray tell does it all mean? The devil, my friends, is in the details. Atmospheric, Dark, and Wholly Entertaining. A brilliantly plotted, taut, character-driven suspense that kept me on the edge of my seat throughout. “The Burning Girls” is yet another winner by C.J. Tudor, who continues to impress me and give a nod to one of her (and my) favorite authors, Stephen King. 4.25 Stars A huge thank you goes out to Kathleen Quinlan at Random House Publishing and NetGalley, for the arc. Published on Goodreads on 12.27.20.

  18. 5 out of 5

    ScrappyMags

    The book is definitely 🔥 Shortest Summary Ever: There’s a new vicar in town bringing her teen daughter from the city to the sticks (Bwahaha pun points). 500 years ago some martyrs were burned and now the townspeople burn stick people annually (how quaint). Weird and horrible things happened to the last vicar and now Vicar Jack and teen daughter Flo are experiencing strange moments as well. The townspeople are secretive and quiet and Jack sets out to discover the story...no matter the consequence The book is definitely 🔥 Shortest Summary Ever: There’s a new vicar in town bringing her teen daughter from the city to the sticks (Bwahaha pun points). 500 years ago some martyrs were burned and now the townspeople burn stick people annually (how quaint). Weird and horrible things happened to the last vicar and now Vicar Jack and teen daughter Flo are experiencing strange moments as well. The townspeople are secretive and quiet and Jack sets out to discover the story...no matter the consequences. Thoughts: I love mysteries set in the British countryside. I don’t know why.. lol. I also love folklore in haunted towns. Pardon the pun but this story was 🔥. Visions? Creepy twig dolls? Count me in. Narrated by vicar Jack (short for Jackie), this story twists more than my wine corkscrew (that’s a lot, don’t judge) as she navigates her way through this new assignment, all while playing the role of the amateur sleuth. Jack is the star here and as stories from the townsfolk emerge, the reader starts to go “he did it! Wait ... no SHE did it!” It was truly one that left me guessing... and then shocked. Bewildered. Befuddled and bewitched by this amazing story. Truly one that’s unique and heart-pounding. Heebie Jeebies? 7/10 All my reviews available at scrappymags.com around time of publication. Genre: Mystery/British Recommend to: Anyone lovin’ a good Brit mystery with some spooky elements, looking for a face-paced what-the-heck-is-happening book. Not recommended to: hmm... I suppose if you hate British people but than you are bloody awful! Thank you to the author, NetGalley and Random House Ballantine for my advanced copy in exchange for my always-honest review and for making me swear off The Blair Witch Project, the forest, and anything else with wayward sticks.

  19. 5 out of 5

    *TUDOR^QUEEN*

    4 Stars C.J. Tudor has become a favorite author of mine when I'm in the mood for a creepy, unsettling read. Her debut The Chalk Man is still my absolute favorite so far, but this one settles in cozily at second place. Female vicar Jack Brooks accepts a temporary post in Chapel Croft, a small, rural British farming town. Its claim to fame is a gruesome one. During the short reign of Catholic "Bloody Mary" (eldest daughter of King Henry VIII), there were burnings of religious heretics. Some of thes 4 Stars C.J. Tudor has become a favorite author of mine when I'm in the mood for a creepy, unsettling read. Her debut The Chalk Man is still my absolute favorite so far, but this one settles in cozily at second place. Female vicar Jack Brooks accepts a temporary post in Chapel Croft, a small, rural British farming town. Its claim to fame is a gruesome one. During the short reign of Catholic "Bloody Mary" (eldest daughter of King Henry VIII), there were burnings of religious heretics. Some of these were children- now memorialized as "The Burning Girls". A small monument was erected outside the chapel where little twig "girls" were sometimes left scattered at its base. A cemetery surrounded the church as well as its adjacent small cottage, new home for the vicar and her fifteen year old daughter Flo. It's said that the chapel is haunted by these girls, who were brutally dismembered prior to their burnings. Jack and her daughter left their prior home in the city of Nottingham under a bit of scandal involving Jack's prior church. Teenage Flo was less than happy about leaving her friends and city life behind for the insular community of Chapel Croft. Jack is not only a vicar, but a Mom, and if it wasn't for the religious collar one wouldn't take her for a priest. In fact, one couple meeting with Jack regarding their upcoming nuptials complained that she might ruin the pictures! She had a penchant for smoking and a past with rough sleeping as a homeless teenager-until she found nurturing and support through the church. Now she feels like she's paying it forward in her own way. There are terrifying ghostly sightings, an abandoned house of horror with demonic graffiti, local and distant murderous predators, and long held tragic secrets to unravel in Chapel Croft. I very much enjoyed the beginning of the story as Jack and her daughter were settling into a situation that was not ideal, but with the hope that they would triumph over adversity. As the story progressed things became increasingly sinister and unsafe, and the town's decades old mystery of two missing girls simmered slowly to its eventual resolution. I enjoyed the book overall, but became a little impatient towards the end. As always, I simply enjoy C.J. Tudor's writing style and will gravitate towards anything she writes in the future. Thank you to Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine for providing an advance reader copy via NetGalley.

  20. 4 out of 5

    NZLisaM

    3.5 ‘If you see the burning girls, something bad will befall you.’ Reverend Jack Brooks, widowed, with a teenage daughter Flo, reluctantly takes on the temporary position of interim vicar in a tiny Sussex village. Chapel Croft has seen its fair share of tragedy. The sixteenth century saw eight Protestants – including two young girls Abigail and Maggie – burned to death in front of the church. In 1990, two teenagers Merry and Joy, disappeared without a trace. They have never been found. And Jack' 3.5 ‘If you see the burning girls, something bad will befall you.’ Reverend Jack Brooks, widowed, with a teenage daughter Flo, reluctantly takes on the temporary position of interim vicar in a tiny Sussex village. Chapel Croft has seen its fair share of tragedy. The sixteenth century saw eight Protestants – including two young girls Abigail and Maggie – burned to death in front of the church. In 1990, two teenagers Merry and Joy, disappeared without a trace. They have never been found. And Jack's predecessor – Reverend Fletcher – hanged himself in the chapel. The ghosts of Abigail and Maggie are said to haunt the church grounds, and building. So when Flo sees a girl on fire in the graveyard, who promptly vanishes, and a box addressed to Jack containing an exorcism kit is left on the chapel doorstep, It appears evil is still afoot in Chapel Croft and it's set its sights firmly on Jack and Flo. The Burning Girls contained its fair share of wickedness and intrigue, but I craved more. Her first two books The Chalk Man and The Taking of Annie Thorne (a.k.a. The Hiding Place) were truly terrifying and chilled me to the bone, but I never experienced that level of terror while reading this. In fact, it was slow to begin with and parts of it were kind of boring. The building sense of ominous dread was absent. Despite the macabre premise, dark history, and gothic setting, I never felt unsettled. What’s more I guessed one of the bigger twists early on, so that really hampered my enjoyment. A smaller one I figured out too, but that one was very obvious. I'm not even sure it was supposed to be a twist. However, there were several other big reveals that shocked me to the core which I really enjoyed. The two main characters were what really kept me invested. Jack and Flo were both strong independent flawed people and their pain was real. I loved their relationship, teasing banter and witty remarks. Even when they were at odds their bond was unbreakable. Just like C.J.Tudor's previous work, The Other People, I can see The Burning Girls appealing to a wider audience as it wasn't as weird, sinister or ambiguous as TCM and TTOAT but those were the qualities that first drew me to this author, so I couldn't help feeling disappointed. Overall, a satisfying, suspenseful, somewhat surprising mystery but little about it separated it from other's in the thriller/supernatural genres. I'd like to thank Netgalley, Penguin Michael Joseph UK, and CJ Tudor for the e-ARC. Publication Date: 21st January, 2021.

  21. 4 out of 5

    DeAnn

    4 fiery stars and now available! This is my fourth book of C.J. Tudor’s and I was very excited to get the chance to read an early copy. It was also great timing for me to read this just a bit before Halloween as it is spooky! Picture the setting in the UK – Chapel Croft – with a rich history of religious martyrs burned at the stake and disappearances of local girls all amidst a troubled parish. To commemorate this history, villagers burn stick dolls once a year in celebration. The main character in 4 fiery stars and now available! This is my fourth book of C.J. Tudor’s and I was very excited to get the chance to read an early copy. It was also great timing for me to read this just a bit before Halloween as it is spooky! Picture the setting in the UK – Chapel Croft – with a rich history of religious martyrs burned at the stake and disappearances of local girls all amidst a troubled parish. To commemorate this history, villagers burn stick dolls once a year in celebration. The main character in this one is Reverend Jack Brooks. Jack is assigned to the village of Chapel Croft and arrives with Flo, 14-years-old. Strange events soon engulf the two including visions of burning girls, an exorcism set, and a mysterious crypt. If you see the burning girls, something bad is supposed to be coming. Flo seems to make some questionable choices, but then again, she is a teenager! There’s a separate storyline of a man released from prison and it took awhile to figure out just who this was and the relevance to the story. Will Jack and Flo get to the bottom of the mysterious happenings or will they become part of the troubled history? This one was a slow simmer for most of the book, but the ending packed a wallop and really made the book! Thank you to Random House/Ballantine for an early copy of this one to read and review.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Bridgett

    The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was pretending he didn't exist. C.J. Tudor is a clever, intelligent writer. I always enjoy her books. They each feel very different to me, which is a talent in and of itself. Many authors tend to fall into a rut after they've written several books, and use the same tired tropes over and over. Not C.J. Tudor. Right from the start, The Burning Girls grabbed my attention, despite the heavy religious themes, which is most assuredly not my thing. Thankfully The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was pretending he didn't exist. C.J. Tudor is a clever, intelligent writer. I always enjoy her books. They each feel very different to me, which is a talent in and of itself. Many authors tend to fall into a rut after they've written several books, and use the same tired tropes over and over. Not C.J. Tudor. Right from the start, The Burning Girls grabbed my attention, despite the heavy religious themes, which is most assuredly not my thing. Thankfully, the main character, Jack, despite being a vicar, is mellow, open-minded, and thinks the Old Testament of the Bible is "trash." :) Though religion is a huge part of this book, it never felt preachy, and it never went too deep. Having said that, this novel didn't seem to know what it was...a thriller or a supernatural horror. I guess you could say it's a thriller with supernatural elements, which is normally fine. Unfortunately, I didn't think it worked particularly well here, especially when the twists began revealing themselves near the end. Speaking of the conclusion, did anyone else see the big twist coming a mile away? The clues throughout were numerous and I picked up on every one. Honestly, I wish I hadn't. I imagine that ending is going to shock many readers. Overall, the story felt like it stayed fairly superficial to me. While everything was ultimately tied up, there were several storylines mentioned frequently throughout, which were brushed off at the end. (view spoiler)[Jacob's story seemed unnecessary at best, and downright silly at worst. What was the point? Wrigley's final scene in the church vault just didn't work for me at all. Did he really think putting bodies in a police crime scene was a brilliant move? Clara's story didn't seem particularly complete--same goes for the Hart's youngest daughter. Overall, all the characters needed a bit more fleshing out. (hide spoiler)] I honestly had a hard time keeping track of all the vicars too, and kept confusing them--Brooks, Marsh, Fletcher, Rushton, Durkin, etc. It was a lot. This was still a fun, quick read. I recommend it to those who love a good thriller, tons of twists, and a hint of horror. 3.5 stars rounded up Available February 9, 2021 So many thanks to NetGalley and Random House - Ballantine for my review copy.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Beata

    Quite a decent thriller with reference to historical events. Reverend Jack Brooks, a single parent of a teenage girl and a priest, is assigned a new post in a remote village of Chapel Croft. here she is forced to face her new parishiners and the past, the distant one and her own. I admit this was the most attractive offering by the Author I have read so far although the plot itself was not that gripping. Some developments surprised me which should be a good sign but the point is that they were t Quite a decent thriller with reference to historical events. Reverend Jack Brooks, a single parent of a teenage girl and a priest, is assigned a new post in a remote village of Chapel Croft. here she is forced to face her new parishiners and the past, the distant one and her own. I admit this was the most attractive offering by the Author I have read so far although the plot itself was not that gripping. Some developments surprised me which should be a good sign but the point is that they were too loosely connected and there were no hints earlier regarding the paths they might follow. The mystery should be a mystery but the revelation was a total surprise. Overall, a quick read with some loose ends connected a little too hastily. *Many thanks to C.J. Tudor, Penguin Michael Joseph UK, and Netgalley for arc in exchange for my honest review.*

  24. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    C.J. Tudor has really made a name for herself over these last few years and I am so genuinely happy for her. BUT, her books never seem to wow me as they do others. There isn't anything inherently wrong with this book I just found it a little ... boring. I really like Jack and Flo as characters. My biggest reservation with reading this one was that I was afraid that the religion aspect would be front and center and I am happy to say that it isn't. While she is a vicar and there is a church setting C.J. Tudor has really made a name for herself over these last few years and I am so genuinely happy for her. BUT, her books never seem to wow me as they do others. There isn't anything inherently wrong with this book I just found it a little ... boring. I really like Jack and Flo as characters. My biggest reservation with reading this one was that I was afraid that the religion aspect would be front and center and I am happy to say that it isn't. While she is a vicar and there is a church setting it doesn't ever come across as preachy. In fact, she isn't like most vicars and is willing to see outside the proverbial box making her an interesting character. I think my main issue with this was all the side stories. It seemed to only muddy the waters of my reading experience. I will say that the twists were done well and for that I have to hand it to her. She is incredibly clever to be able to genuinely surprise her readers. All in all not a perfect book for me but not a bad book by any means and I am happy to have read it. 3 stars! Thank you to NetGalley and Ballantine Books for my digital copy.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Carolyn

    This is a dark thriller set in a small village in Sussex with a dark history. Five hundred years ago, eight villagers were burnt at the stake for refusing to convert to catholicism during Queen Mary's purge of Protestants. Two of those burned to death were young girls and on the anniversary of their deaths the villagers make twig dolls which are thrown into a bonfire to commemorate the Sussex martyrs. It is said that the burning girls still haunt the village chapel and it's said if you see the b This is a dark thriller set in a small village in Sussex with a dark history. Five hundred years ago, eight villagers were burnt at the stake for refusing to convert to catholicism during Queen Mary's purge of Protestants. Two of those burned to death were young girls and on the anniversary of their deaths the villagers make twig dolls which are thrown into a bonfire to commemorate the Sussex martyrs. It is said that the burning girls still haunt the village chapel and it's said if you see the burning girls, something bad will befall you. Thirty years before the village was plagued with disappearances. First two teenage girls disappeared, possibly running away from home. Then a popular young verger disappeared and a year later the mother and brother of one of the missing girls disappeared. None of them were ever seen again. More recently the vicar committed suicide by hanging himself in the Chapel. The Reverend Jack (Jacqueline) Brookes has been sent to fill the role of vicar until a permanent replacement can be found. She's a widow with a fifteen year old daughter, Flo who is not happy at leaving Nottingham for this backwater in Sussex. However, they have a lovely warm relationship with a friendly level of banter and Flo knows she'll just have to make the best of it. Flo is a keen photographer and it is while wandering around the chapel and graveyard taking photos that she meets teenager Lucas Wrigley, called wriggly Wrigley by everyone as a result of jerky limb movements caused by dystonia. They form a close friendship despite Jack's reservations about Wrigley. The novel has a very gothic feel with so many dark and sinister events. On her arrival in the village Jack is anonymously left a gift of an exorcism kit. There are sightings of the Burning Girls and twig figurines left around the Chapel, several skeletons and a burnt out house with satanic graffiti and an evil feel about it. There are also several disturbing teenagers playing at dangerous games. Jack is a very down to earth vicar with many vices and a difficult past of her own and Flo is a level headed girl, but they nevertheless both get into serious trouble in this disturbing village. The plot is chilling and the terror is palpable in this highly addictive read. To top it all off there are several surprising reveals at the end that will explain much. With thanks to Penguin Michael Joseph and Netgalley for a copy to read.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Mandy White (mandylovestoread)

    Oh wow.. I have a new favourite CJ Tudor book.! The Burning Girls is a creepy page turner and I couldn’t get enough of it. Once I started reading it I found it hard to stop thinking about it. If you love her books you are in for a treat with her new one, trust me. Reverend Jack Brooks and her daughter Flo have moved to Chapel Croft from Nottingham for a fresh start. But things are not always what they seem in this close knit village. The locals aren’t exactly welcoming and the town is proud of th Oh wow.. I have a new favourite CJ Tudor book.! The Burning Girls is a creepy page turner and I couldn’t get enough of it. Once I started reading it I found it hard to stop thinking about it. If you love her books you are in for a treat with her new one, trust me. Reverend Jack Brooks and her daughter Flo have moved to Chapel Croft from Nottingham for a fresh start. But things are not always what they seem in this close knit village. The locals aren’t exactly welcoming and the town is proud of their history and past. For a small town they have seen a lot of death, with the last vicar killing himself. 30 years ago 2 small girls disappeared. And 500 years ago a ritual, religious killing of 8 martyrs. The town is keen to keep their secrets, but Jack cannot let it go. This is a story full of surprises and twists. It is so beautifully written, it felt like I was there in Chapel Croft....which creeped me out. It was so eerie it really did scare me, signs of a fantastic book. Thanks so much to Penguin Books Australia for sending this book my way. All the stars, add this to your TBR now.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Nadia

    This was fantastic! Tudor's best work yet in my opinion. 👏 Jack Brooks is a vicar who is being transferred at a short notice to a small village in Sussex to escape bad press and gossipping in her old parish in Nottingham. Jack and her teenage daughter Flo are not keen on their new home which has a bloody history as 7 martyrs were burned alive here under the Protestants' persecution under the reign of Queen Mary. In addition, 30 years ago two teenage girls disappeared and were never found, and the This was fantastic! Tudor's best work yet in my opinion. 👏 Jack Brooks is a vicar who is being transferred at a short notice to a small village in Sussex to escape bad press and gossipping in her old parish in Nottingham. Jack and her teenage daughter Flo are not keen on their new home which has a bloody history as 7 martyrs were burned alive here under the Protestants' persecution under the reign of Queen Mary. In addition, 30 years ago two teenage girls disappeared and were never found, and the previous vicar committed suicide only two months previous.  A lot is going on here but for me it was the vicar, Jack, herself who I liked the most. She is not your stereotypical vicar but a down to earth woman with flaws who smokes and swears when the situation requires it. You've just got to like her. Strange things start to happen after the arrival of Jack and Flo opening questions into the suicide, the girls disappearance and even the death of the martyrs. I won't say more as it's best to read it and find out for yourself. “The greatest trick the devil ever pulled is pretending he didn’t exist.” Many thanks to the publisher for my review copy in exchange for an honest review. 

  28. 5 out of 5

    Carolyn Walsh

    Review ** spoiler alert ** 4.5 stars. I have enjoyed all previous psychological thrillers by C.J. Tudor, and this newest one did not disappoint. In the Burning Girls, she has upped the mood and content, adding a heavy dose of horror and dread to this riveting mystery. There is an eerie atmosphere throughout with some creepy descriptions and a touch of the supernatural. The suspense was gripping with ongoing thrills, chills, and fear. The main protagonist, vicar Jack (Jacqueline), is transferred t Review ** spoiler alert ** 4.5 stars. I have enjoyed all previous psychological thrillers by C.J. Tudor, and this newest one did not disappoint. In the Burning Girls, she has upped the mood and content, adding a heavy dose of horror and dread to this riveting mystery. There is an eerie atmosphere throughout with some creepy descriptions and a touch of the supernatural. The suspense was gripping with ongoing thrills, chills, and fear. The main protagonist, vicar Jack (Jacqueline), is transferred to the quaint village of Chapel Croft after being blamed for a tragedy in her former parish. She is a widow and arrives with her fifteen-year-old daughter Flo. Jack is an unconventional vicar with past trauma and mild vices. She has a fierce love for her daughter. She is determined to keep her safe and protected as Flo wanders around pursuing her hobby of photography. Neither is happy with the latest posting in a small village with its dilapidated old Church. Jack's congregation consists of a good sample of villagers and their beliefs. Some follow the love and forgiveness of the New Testament. Others are zealous believers in hellfire and punishment of sinners from the Old Testament. Some atheists attend for the social functions of the Church, and a wealthy opportunist in their midst. Chapel Croft has its ancient traditions and superstitions. The villagers commemorate an event 500 years earlier when eight Protestant martyrs, including two young girls, were burned at the stake. This is remembered by the burning of effigies of dolls made of twigs to represent the young martyrs. Thirty years earlier, two teenaged friends, Merry and Jo, mysteriously vanished from the village, and a handsome young priest disappeared. He was rumoured to have an illicit relationship with one of the young girls. What happened to them? Jack learns that she is to replace Reverend Fletcher, who hanged himself shortly before her arrival. Jack is unsettled by receiving a package containing scripture and an exorcism box with a knife inside. She is bothered by messages threatening to reveal her trouble at her previous posting. During Flo's wandering with her camera, she has frightening visions of the girls burned to death centuries ago. Local folklore says these apparitions are a forerunner of fearful things to come. Flo becomes friends with a strange, awkward boy, Lucus Wrigley. He is a loner, bullied and shunned by his peers due to his physical disability of dystonia. Jack has negative feelings regarding her daughter's friendship with Lucus but wonders if she would have the same apprehension about her being befriended by any boy of a more normal appearance. She attempts to keep them apart. Flo and Lucus endure some very dangerous bullying by two local teenagers, and her camera is deliberately broken. There are many twists, turns and surprising revelations. These include ancient bodies found, recent murders, accidents, references to exorcisms, blackmail, and lies about family lineage. The knife from the exorcism box, hidden by Jack, has gone missing. The tension increases with secrets uncovered in the crumbling old Church. This compulsive story includes twists about concealed identities, false physical appearance and bearing, falsehoods about a proud ancestry, and disturbing secrets and lies. As truth is revealed, both the lives of Jack and Flo are placed in mortal danger. Why is a scruffy, bedraggled ex-prisoner lurking about and watching Jack and Flo? What is his role in the story? Highly recommended to readers who like their thrillers to be dark, disturbing, and tension-filled.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Elle

    Now available!! Pub date: February 9, 2021 Wow this was such a creepy, gripping ride—I basically gave up reading anything else besides this book over the past few days! I loved C.J. Tudor’s last book The Other People, and I’m so glad she’s retained that same kind taught, twisting thriller with a hint of paranormal elements mixed in for The Burning Girls. Chapel Croft is like a lot of small British towns; it wears its traditions proudly and plays its secrets close to the chest. And now it has a new Now available!! Pub date: February 9, 2021 Wow this was such a creepy, gripping ride—I basically gave up reading anything else besides this book over the past few days! I loved C.J. Tudor’s last book The Other People, and I’m so glad she’s retained that same kind taught, twisting thriller with a hint of paranormal elements mixed in for The Burning Girls. Chapel Croft is like a lot of small British towns; it wears its traditions proudly and plays its secrets close to the chest. And now it has a new vicar, Reverend Jack Brooks, who has moved into town with a teenage daughter Flo in tow, looking to escape some of their own demons back home. The pair are trying to make the best of the situation, but from the moment they step foot in town something that feels sinister seems to be haunting them. In trying to better understand their surroundings, Flo and Jack will have to reckon not only with the town’s eerie history, but also their own obscured pasts. Wow that was a tough paragraph to write without including any spoilers! I have a newfound appreciation for synopsis writers. That said, even if you’re scrolling through reviews and happen upon a rogue spoiler or two, I wouldn’t worry about it. Because there are SO many twists and turns in this book that if I had all day I genuinely do not think I’d be able to keep track of them all. So if you guess any of the twists early on, know that you’re either completely wrong or that you’ve only guessed part one of a 12-part plot revelation that‘ll leave you slack-jawed. Seriously, the twists have twists that have twists. Almost to the point at the end where I felt like I was drowning in new developments. I mean I’d rather have too many surprises than not have enough, but it can feel overwhelming to jump from one to the next so quickly. A lot of that has to do with the multiple-generation murders and disappearances that stretch back to the sixteenth century. The Burning Girls probably has around a dozen of these cases that have to be solved or wrapped up by the end, and in a 300 page novel it’s gonna turn into a sprint at the end. The sheer number of characters left me flipping back and forth trying to remember who this random person was and what year they were alive in. And the last hundred or so pages felt like I was being pelted with curveballs. For some readers, though, this is great news! Especially for people who read a toooon of thrillers and are looking for something that has the ability to surprise them, this might be just the tonic you’re looking for. But for the casual or rare mystery/thriller/suspense genre reader, it could be too much. Or maybe my last 2 brain cells are just have trouble following intricate plots now—I don't know! Either way, I was thoroughly entertained by C.J. Tudor’s latest and I’m going to be anxiously awaiting her next one! *Thanks to Random House - Ballantine & Netgalley for an advance copy!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Smith

    Review originally published on mysteryandsuspense.com Jack Brooks is the new vicar in the Sussex hamlet of Chapel Croft. Along with fifteen-year-old daughter Flo, Jack has been persuaded to uproot from bustling city centre Nottingham to this quaint rural setting. On arrival Flo is quick to point out that the new chapel is ‘a dump’ and the dilapidated house next door, which is to be their home, does seem to be leaning somewhat precariously. It’s hardly inspiring. The locals seem a rather odd bunch Review originally published on mysteryandsuspense.com Jack Brooks is the new vicar in the Sussex hamlet of Chapel Croft. Along with fifteen-year-old daughter Flo, Jack has been persuaded to uproot from bustling city centre Nottingham to this quaint rural setting. On arrival Flo is quick to point out that the new chapel is ‘a dump’ and the dilapidated house next door, which is to be their home, does seem to be leaning somewhat precariously. It’s hardly inspiring. The locals seem a rather odd bunch too: there’s the rather creepy curate, a rude local farmer and a young lad called Wrigley who, not to put too fine a point on it, wriggles. If this weren’t enough, the place has a dark history as back in the rein of ‘Bloody’ Queen Mary two young girls who had hidden in the church which originally stood on the site of the present chapel were discovered, hounded out and burned. This act of religious persecution is still commemorated locally by the annual burning of wooden effigies. Soon Flo is missing her friends and Jack is having a tough time transitioning to this very different environment. As we meet more of the locals and continue to learn about life in Chapel Croft it becomes evident that just about everyone seems to be hiding something. It’s clear that Jack, too, has a dark past that is hinted at but not yet fully disclosed. Events and discoveries now come thick and fast: there are ghostly sightings, a macabre package is delivered and Jack learns that thirty years ago two girls of a similar age to Flo went missing, their fate remaining a mystery to this day. The new role is quickly becoming part vicar and part detective as efforts become focused on trying to solve what feels like a rather grand puzzle. Jack is a great character, at once as profane and as un-vicar like as you can imagine whilst at the same time possessing the deft people skills you’d associate with the role. And the relationship with Flo feels absolutely real, their interactions being deftly handled and often amusingly told. If I have a problem at all with this tale it’s that there are an awful lot of moving parts - interlocking storylines from the past and the present – and at times it just feels a little too busy. But ultimately the tension does rack up nicely toward a satisfying and surprising conclusion. It’s a story that held my attention throughout, made me smile and finally caused me to feel sad that my time with Jack and Flo had drawn to a close. I guess that’s a pretty good recommendation all on its own. My thanks to Ballantine Books and NetGalley for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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