**4.5-stars rounded up**
After a scandal at her church, 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 and remote. It feels a million miles from their old life. Upon arrival, they are a little surprised by the untidy condition of the old chapel and their new residence, but still determined to make it work.
They also discover that Chapel Croft, like many small towns, has a dark past that lies 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. 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!