I am so excited about this book and if the excerpt is any indication, it’s going to be a fantastic book. I have always had a fondness for books set in boarding schools so I was immediately drawn to Good Girls Lie by J.T. Ellison. Set to release on 12/31/2019 – here’s your first thriller of the new year! Or just skip the parties and binge read this one on NYE.
Goode girls don’t lie…
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.
The drive up the hill makes me slightly queasy, all the switchbacks, the steep drop-offs, but soon enough we are on even ground again. The little town of Marchburg, its streets forming an X, surrounds the school which sits in the middle, at the crossroads. I ignore the stores and restaurants and their quaint, New World names, focusing on the behemoth ahead. A castle, for that is what it looks like, an overly large country house, like those of my homeland, spreading across the glossy green acreage like a stone gargoyle, but with red brick instead of gray stone.
The original building was damaged by fire in 1890, and the phoenix rebuilt in the traditional Jacobean style using the famous Virginia bricks known as Chilhowie, the name stamped across the face. “Chilhowies have been found as far away as Paris, France,” says the literature. A bell tower rises above the entrance, perfectly centered on the main building, which is five stories high. Similar Jacobean-style buildings wing each side of the main hall—their signs denote they’re creatively named Old East and Old West—but these were added later, and aren’t the same exact color as their mother. They are three stories each, with white wooden balconies that jut out from their top floors.
Taken in one shot, the school is monstrous in its austere beauty.
The massive black wrought iron gates to the school stand open in greeting for orientation day. Term starts tomorrow, Wednesday, so Monday and Tuesday are set aside for students to get settled in the dorms, buy their books, sign up for activities and sports teams, hand over their phones, and otherwise run amok on campus, reuniting with their friends and making new.
What must be freshmen stand in bewildered clumps under the oak trees bordering the wall. Parents stumble around with furniture and boxes in hand. It is a bright, sunny late-summer day, the sky so blue it is hard to look away.
When the town car slides to the curb in front of the huge redbrick building with Main Hall carved into the gray stone lintel above the door, all heads turn. Hiding in the back, I feel unaccountably shy, embarrassed to be the center of attention, even for a moment. But the driver pops out of the town car and comes round to the door, flinging it open as if I am the Queen herself. He practically bows.
“Here you are, miss. Your very own Sandringham, tucked into the Virginia mountains,” Ruly, or Rudy, or whatever his name is, says, and I shiver. He knows more than he lets on. The school does look quite a bit like Sandringham. How very eerie. I must be more careful going forward.
With him standing there, holding the door, the smile turning quizzical, I have no choice but to get out, unfolding my long body from the back seat. I have a cramp in my thigh, but I smile winningly.
“Thank you for the ride.”
When the students realize I’m just another one of them, they go back to their conversations. Ignored, I feel better. I’d truly like to stay anonymous, do my work, study hard, get into Harvard, and leave my wretched old life behind. Strangely, I’ve never felt so alone as I do at this moment, watching the joyful faces of my soon-to-be classmates as they run and shout and hug tearful parents goodbye. My watch twitches with a reminder—I have a meeting with the dean of the school in fifteen minutes.
Ruly Rudy, who has wrestled my massive suitcase out of the car, is standing nearby with a hopeful grin on his face. I hand him five precious dollars, heart in my throat at the thought of letting go any of my hoard. But it is expected. “Thank you again for the ride.”
I shoulder my backpack and drag my suitcase up the stairs, entering Main Hall.
It is cool and dark inside, a welcome respite to the late-summer heat. Oddly empty, too, and quiet to the point of austerity. White columns, marble floors. There is a great sense of space, two massive staircases curving into the second-story balcony like a theater. On either side, unmanned tables are set up with engraved metal signs: A-E, F-K, L-P, Q-Z.
Why am I the only one here? Have I already done something wrong?
A middle-aged woman with gray hair in a chic bob, black glasses, and bright red lipstick that makes her look like an aging Parisian model, steps out of the office and hurries over, beckoning, and I make my way to the first table.
“Here’s a new face! Welcome to Goode. I’m Dr. Asolo, English department. You’ve missed the masses, lucky girl—most have already registered. We were getting ready to break things down, just waiting on the stragglers.” She looks over my shoulder. “Where are your parents?”
The lie comes easily, smoothly, without thought. “They dropped me.”
Dr. Asolo’s lips purse in disapproval but she puts a hand on the metal sign, tapping it with her thick gold wedding band. “We usually like to meet the new students’ parents, but if they’re already gone…”
“They are. So sorry.”
“You didn’t know,” she says absently, waiting. Her hands are captivating, capable, nails short and buffed, with clear polish— another Goode regulation. No hair dyes. No colored polish. Au naturel. The ladies of Goode will not be fake.
Dr. Asolo clears her throat. “Name, dear?”
“Erm, Ash. Ash Carlisle. With a C.”
“I am a professor of English, dear. Your accent isn’t so heavy that I need subtitles.” She chortles at her joke, and I smile, a blinding, perfect smile that nearly makes my cheeks crack. I’ve almost forgotten. Charming Ash.
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Thanks to TLC Book Tours for providing me this excerpt of this highly anticipated book!