Judith D Collins
Good Girls Lie
By: J. T. Ellison
Publication Date: 12/30/2019
My Rating: 5 Stars ++ Author Q&A Interview
Top Books of 2019 Perched atop a hill in the tiny town of Marchburg, Virginia, The Goode School is a prestigious prep school known as a Silent Ivy. The boarding school of choice for daughters of the rich and influential, it accepts only the best and the brightest. Its elite status, long-held traditions and honor code are ideal for preparing exceptional young women for brilliant futures at Ivy League universities and beyond. But a stranger has come to Goode, and this ivy has turned poisonous.
In a world where appearances are everything, as long as students pretend to follow the rules, no one questions the cruelties of the secret societies or the dubious behavior of the privileged young women who expect to get away with murder. But when a popular student is found dead, the truth cannot be ignored. Rumors suggest she was struggling with a secret that drove her to suicide.
But look closely…because there are truths and there are lies, and then there is everything that really happened.
J.T. Ellison’s pulse-pounding new novel examines the tenuous bonds of friendship, the power of lies and the desperate lengths people will go to to protect their secrets.
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"Creepy, unnerving, and deliciously evil! “Ellison’s skillful characterization, compelling plot, and her shocking final twist make GOOD GIRLS LIE a nail-biting dark and atmospheric top psychological thriller of 2019!” 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟—@JudithDCollins #JdCMustReadBooks
The thriller queen, J.T. Ellison, cranks up the intensity in her latest highly creative psychological thriller. Infused with British and Gothic undertones and decade-old murders at this historic, prestigious all-girls boarding school, tucked away in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. (would make a great movie)! 🎬
The school is old, isolated, elegant, and stretches back hundreds of years, with a ton of legends. “There are truths, and there are lies, and then there is everything that really happened, which his where you and I will meet. My truth is your life, and my lie is your truth, and there is a vast expanse between them.” Behind the massive black wrought iron gates and it’s stunning architecture and beauty, there has been bloodshed, murder, scandal, hauntings, and tragedy over the years.
The current thirty-something headmistress or dean as she prefers to call herself Dr. Ford Julianne Westhaven (great-granddaughter several times removed from the founder of The Goode School) determined she will not repeat her mother’s fiasco when in office. She will make sure her girls follow the Honor code, and they will be ready for their Ivy League education. She is all about sisterhood! She chooses and handpicks every girl.
After all, she doesn't even want to be here. She is an inspiring author, an introvert, and just wants to write her novel. While doing so, a little rendezvous with the dashing mysterious younger guy driver (in secret, of course). Some scandalous history here.
She hides out in her cabin and knows when to get out of her Chanel suited-self, let know her chignon and ditch the pearls, at just the right time. Her destiny lies ahead.
For now, her job is to nurture their strengths and help them find ways to mediate their weaknesses. Make them strong, not delicate creatures easily crushed by the world. She must keep up appearances. However, she knows “Ivy Bound” can get too intense. And Senior Becca Curtis pushes its limits.
However, things take a turn for the worse, and her life and the girls get more complicated. Just when she thought she would get through the year without a scandal. Everyone is a suspect. There is a hanging, a murder, severe damage to the girl’s face. Whose body is it?
Ash Carlisle is from Oxford, England, and her parents have died tragically (or murdered), and she is ready for a new start. She is not on social media, and her past will remain hidden. She will get a fresh start.
The plan is flawless. Or is it? She only wants an Ivy League education. The Goode School in Marchburg, VA. will be perfect. A full scholarship. She will keep her head down and keep to herself.
That is until the will is read, and other things begin happening all around her. Things do not go as she planned. There are prying eyes and jealous girls who want to know more about this Oxford dame. What is behind this Ash girl, who leads a charmed life and manages to get into this school on a full scholarship.
But you can never escape your past?
However, soon, she gets connected to the girl that runs the school, but she will make it tough on her. Her roommate and suitemates do not make it easy on her, either. Everywhere she turns, she runs into obstacles. Not only the hazing, the constant demands, and the haunted past of the school, she has other secrets which could prove deadly, and she soon discovers her plan may not be as easy to pull off as she thought.
Lies have kept her safe and protected. Can she reinvent herself at the new school on the mountain, or will it come back to destroy her?
Ellison knows how to work a room (or should I say work her characters, plot, pacing, juggling multiple narratives and infusing past and present) like a star and at the same time, keep you glued to the pages.
WOW! Just when you think you have it figured out, bang, there comes another twist!
Keep up readers; there are places in the school you need to watch out for:
The Commons is where you go if you get tapped.
The red staircase is off-limits. Has too many bad memories, from a girl who committed suicide, flinging herself from the railing and cut her wrists, so the blood dripped down from the staircase. It had soaked in so deeply they had to paint the stairs red to cover it up. The word is one of the secret societies makes you spend a night locked in the stairwell.
There is also the arboretum, also haunted, with a terrible past. Never walk the path alone. It is outside the walls.
Oh, and the bell tower— stay out of the attic, where secret societies found infants bones between the ceiling and walls and ghosts ring the bells.
Also, stay away from the tunnels and old cottages (former Underground Railroad)
Most definitely stay away from the front gate – you may find yourself hanging by the red tie.
Trust me; you will not be able to breathe easy until you reach the END, then you may have a smirk smile on your face!
I hope you enjoy it as much as I did! Fans of Michele Campbell's "She Was the Quiet One, Simone St. James' "The Broken Girls", and Charlie Donlea's upcoming "The Suicide House" will devour Ellison's Good Girls Lie!
Q&A with the Author
“A high-tension thriller...Alternating points of view raise the suspense, blurring the lines between what’s true and false...Ellison keeps readers guessing throughout." —★ Publishers Weekly, starred review
“If the Succession prequel series of our dreams actually existed, we imagine it would find Shiv Roy at a private school similar to the one where J.T. Ellison’s latest novel, Good Girls Lie, is set. The twisty psychological thriller follows Ash, who quickly makes friends with the popular crowd at her elite new prep school. But when Ash falls out of favour and a student ends up dead, she becomes the clear suspect. Enter secrets, betrayal and general mistrust—all of our favourite things (to read about).” —ELLE Canada
“An intriguing plot, featuring a final twist, shows what can happen when hidden truths are revealed.” —Booklist
“Good Girls Lie is an entertainingly twisted coming-of-age tale, pitting the desire for privacy against the corrosiveness of secrecy and taking an often harrowing look at how wealth and power can lull recipients into believing they’re untouchable.” —BookPage
“Sinister and atmospheric, this page-turner elevates the thriller genre with descriptive writing and well-drawn characters. Ash arrives at the Goode School with secrets of her own. Following an honor code is difficult enough (no lies allowed), but throw in secret societies and overly privileged students, and the scene is set for murder. For readers who liked The Secret History and Watching You.” —Douglas Beatty, Baltimore County Public Library, LibraryReads
“An exploration of deception and betrayal—and the caring-and-cruelty rollercoaster of adolescent friendships—“Good Girls Lie” represents a gripping read that simultaneously mesmerizes and disturbs.” —The Free-Lance Star
“GOOD GIRLS LIE is a superb psychological thriller…a deliciously dark, wickedly plotted suspense story…with drama, secret societies, cliques, illicit affairs, manipulation, and, of course, murder, and it’s the sort of book you never want to end.” —Crime By The Book
“A dark, moody, surprising, well-wrought psychological thriller that evokes the best of Agatha Christie and Patricia Highsmith, Good Girls Lie is a satisfying and engaging read that delves deeply into the psyches and carefully concealed secrets of the Goode School, its staff, and its students…Ellison continues to grow and excel as a writer, still delivering fresh and bold narratives even after many years in the game.” —Mystery Scene Magazine
“J.T. Ellison’s new psychological thriller Good Girls Lie is a whopper of a dark tale, a nail-biter bound to keep you reading beyond the midnight hour…With her powerful character development skills, Ellison…delivers a complex, yet fast-paced, suspenseful story that is sure to evoke intense emotional reactions from readers.” —BookTrib
“Every facet this author weaves will have you chilled to the bone. Out of all the books you choose to read, make sure this is the one you do not overlook.” —Suspense Magazine
About the Author
J.T. Ellison began her career as a presidential appointee in the White House, where a nuclear physicist taught her how to obsess over travel itineraries and make a seriously good pot of Earl Grey, spawning both her love of loose leaf and a desire for control of her own destiny. Jaded by the political climate in D.C., she made her way back to her first love, creative writing. More than 20 novels later, she is an award-winning New York Times and USA Today bestselling author with thrillers published in 27 countries and 15 languages. She is also the EMMY-award winning cohost of A WORD ON WORDS, a literary interview television show. She lives in Nashville with her husband and two small gray minions, known as cats in some cultures. She thinks they’re furry aliens. Visit JT at Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for more insight into her wicked imagination. Read More