The Burning Girls

Ballantine. Feb. 2021. 368p. ISBN 9781984825025. $27. SUSPENSE
When she’s reassigned to the tiny Sussex hamlet of Chapel Croft, Reverend Jack Brooks and her14-year-old daughter Flo reluctantly leave bustling Nottingham. Chapel Croft is no haven for them; instead it’s a town steeped in mystery, tragedy, and secrets. Eight Protestant martyrs, two of them young girls, were burned at the stake 500 years ago; 30 years ago, two teenage girls disappeared. The previous vicar hanged himself two months ago. Local lore says that if you see the ghosts of the two burning girls, something bad is going to happen. The burning girls show up and Jack and Flo have been warned. They’re moving into their dilapidated cottage when a child, Poppy Harper, turns up mute and covered in blood. Her father, the biggest financial supporter of the chapel, arrives to explain it all away, but Jack is not convinced and will not let it go. Flo finds comfort in photographing her surroundings and meets Wriggly, a teen with dystonia who’s bullied by the others. The two teens find comfort in each other, but even friends have secrets.
VERDICT Tudor (The Other People) strikes again with another thriller filled with twists and turns right up to the mind-bending ending.
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