#BookReview The Burning Girls by C.J Tudor @cjtudor @MichaelJBooks @GabyYoung

Title: The Burning Girls by C.J Tudor

Date Published: Michael Joseph

Publisher: 21st January 2021

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Description:

500 years ago: eight martyrs were burnt to death

30 years ago: two teenagers vanished without trace

Two months ago: the vicar committed suicide

Welcome to Chapel Croft.

For Rev Jack Brooks and teenage daughter Flo it’s supposed to be a fresh start. New job, new home. But, as Jack knows, the past isn’t easily forgotten.

And in a close-knit community where the residents seem as proud as they are haunted by Chapel Croft’s history, Jack must tread carefully. Ancient superstitions as well as a mistrust of outsiders will be hard to overcome.

Yet right away Jack has more frightening concerns.

Why is Flo plagued by visions of burning girls?

Who’s sending them sinister, threatening messages?

And why did no one mention that the last vicar killed himself?

Chapel Croft’s secrets lie deep and dark as the tomb. Jack wouldn’t touch them if not for Flo – anything to protect Flo.

But the past is catching up with Chapel Croft – and with Jack. For old ghosts with scores to settle will never rest . . . 

Review:

I want to thank Gaby Young at Michael Joseph for inviting me on this tour and providing me with a copy of The Burning Girls, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.

I’m struggling to put into words how much I enjoyed this book!

Reverend Jack Brooks and her daughter Flo move from Nottingham to Chapel Croft after a tragedy in Jack’s former parish. It’s immediately apparent that there’s something off about Chapel Croft. Twig dolls burnt every year to commemorate villagers burned at the stake. Missing girls. Suicide. Ghostly visions. Secrets. Lots of secrets.

I love a good mystery but I also love a good spooky story and The Burning Girls combines these two things into a gripping story.

I absolutely loved the characters. Jack is not your typical vicar. She smokes, has modern views on a lot of subjects which in a small village like Chapel Croft rubbed a few people up the wrong way. Her teenage daughter Flo was realistically done too, she has the naivety of a child but still wants to be seen as an adult. She’s headstrong and does not like to be told she’s wrong, she reminded me a lot of my own teenage son. 

I will say that the ending wasn’t entirely a surprise but I still enjoyed it and it fitted perfectly with the story.

The Burning Girls is a well written supernatural thriller that just sucked me in from that very first chapter.

About The Author:

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.

Bedtime Book Review: The Chalk Man by CL Tudor #Review

Title: The Chalk Man by CL Tudor

Publisher: Penguin

Date Published: 11th January 2018

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Description:

You can feel it in the woods, in the school and in the playground; you can feel it in the houses and at the fairground. You can feel it in most places in the small town of Anderbury . . . the fear that something or someone is watching you.

It began back in 1986, at the fair, on the day of the accident. That was when twelve-year-old Eddie met Mr Halloran – the Chalk Man.

He gave Eddie the idea for the drawings: a way to leave secret messages for his friends and it was fun, until the chalk men led them to a body.

Thirty years later, Ed believes the past is far behind him, until an envelope slips through the letterbox. It contains a stick of chalk, and a drawing of a figure.

Is history going to repeat itself?

Was it ever really over?

Will this game only end in the same way?

Review:

You can read my previous Bedtime Book Review, Black Eyed Susans, here.

So I saw this book last year on NetGalley but I was turned down by the publisher to get an advanced copy (I’m not bitter…honest) so I just had to buy a copy for myself. This was before all the furore when Stephen King said if you like my stuff then you’ll like this. As I saw all the praise and the hype surrounding it, I know this will sound a bit weird, but it put me off reading it a little. I’ve been disappointed in the past by books that have had a lot of hype but I’m happy to say this was not the case, this book actually surpassed my expectations.

The story is split between 1986 and 2016, revolving around Ed and his friends, Nicki, Fat Gav, Metal Mickey and Hoppo. After a fairground accident Ed meets a new teacher to the area, Mr Halloran otherwise known as the chalk man due to his pale skin and white blonde hair. He gives the group the idea of drawing a secret code with chalk but chalk men keep popping up when bad things happen, until they lead them to a body.

I got completely lost within this book, so much so that I forgot to write notes, (sounds a bit anal but I have the memory of a sieve!), so if this review is brief then you’ll know why.

I’m not going to give this amazing and complex novel it’s due in this little review. It’s creepy, yet haunting, I stayed up way too long after finishing just thinking about the ending (a downside I’ve found about reading before bed).

Having just watched the movie IT, I can understand where a lot of Stephen King comparisons come from,.i.e. a group of young(ish) kids coming of age against a backdrop of violence but thankfully this novel doesn’t have the evil clown.

I know some people may not be a fan of the jumping from 1986 to 2016 but it to me it added real depth to the story, adding to the mystery. I enjoyed finding out about older Ed, a slightly disillusioned adult, haunted by the past with a drinking problem compared to the more carefree younger Eddie.

I will warn you there are some upsetting scenes, especially one between young Eddie and his bully Metal Mickey’s older brother Sean. Then there was the nightmares, no I’d say they were more night terrors, as in they were super scary!

Overall a really memorable and haunting story that I can’t do just justice to with this review, you’ll just have to read it and see for yourself!

Rating: 5/5

About The Author:

C. J. Tudor lives in Nottingham, England with her partner and three-year-old daughter.

Over the years she has worked as a copywriter, television presenter, voiceover and dog-walker. She is now thrilled to be able to write full-time, and doesn’t miss chasing wet dogs through muddy fields all that much.

THE CHALK MAN is her first novel.

Up Next on Bedtime Book Reviews: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell.

Also a little note, I’m unable to comment on other people blogs at the moment as either my comments are spammed or automatically deleted.