A Ruined Girl by Kate Simants #bookreview

On my blog today, I’m sharing my thoughts on the new thriller by Kate Simants, A Ruined Girl which was the winner of the 2019 Bath Novel Award.



On a dark night two years ago, teenagers Rob and Paige broke into a house. They beat and traumatised the occupants, then left, taking only a bracelet. No one knows why, not even Luke, Rob’s younger brother and Paige’s confidant. Paige disappeared after that night. And having spent her life in children’s homes and the foster system, no one cared enough to look for her.

Now Rob is out of prison, and probation officer Wren Reynolds has been tasked with his rehabilitation. But Wren has her own reasons for taking on Rob as a client. Convinced that Rob knows what happened to Paige, and hiding a lifetime of secrets from her heavily pregnant wife, Wren’s obsession with finding a missing girl may tear her family apart…


A Ruined Girl is a dark and gripping thriller by Kate Simants. Two years ago, a young woman, Paige, disappeared after she broke into the home of her school counsellor with her friend, Rob. But what happened to Paige after that incident? She went missing and has never been seen since. Rob was arrested for the crime and sent to prison. Now, he is out; he is about to start his rehabilitation process. Wren Reynolds is his probation officer. But it soon becomes clear that Wren has her own reasons for taking Rob on. The question that continues to haunt many people is this, what happened to Paige?

Kate Simants latest book is beautifully written. I loved her sense of place and her description in the opening paragraph, which drew me into the story. It was so chilling. I wanted to know what was going on and who the people in the scene were. It really does set the tone for the rest of the book.

Robert Ashworth is a complex character. I liked how Kate Simants delved into his psyche. As part of his rehabilitation programme, he has to meet the people affected by his crime. I can imagine this must be a very difficult thing for people to have to go through; to meet and talk to the person who inflicted this pain on them. I don’t think I would be very comfortable with doing this if I was in their position.

As we get to know Robert and Wren, it becomes clear that Wren has her own motive here for getting to know Robert. I wanted to find out more about this, and I wanted to know more about her character. She is also going through a lot in her personal life at the moment, which also makes her very interesting as well.

What I thought was fascinating and heartbreaking about this book as well is that Kate Simants looks at the dark reality of what it is like for some children growing up in the care system. She paints a vivid portrayal of what it is like for these young people who have no relatives who care and love them and how this impacts them as they grow up.

This is a very dark novel that examines how far we are prepared to go for our close friends and family. It is also very thought-provoking, and I thought that Kate Simants delivered a very satisfactory and shocking ending which I did not see coming. I love Kate Simants writing, and I’m looking forward to seeing what she comes up with next.

Publisher: Viper

Publication date: 27th August 2020

Print length: 384 pages

A Ruined Girl is available to buy:

Amazon UK Kobo Waterstones