“Roanoke girls never last long around here. In the end, we either run or we die.”
—The Roanoke Girls
I’ve put off writing my review for well over a month because I truly didn’t know how to approach reviewing this book. So I’m just going to let my thoughts flow and see what happens.
When Lane Roanoke was fifteen, her mother committed suicide, and she was sent to live in her grandparents Kansas home. Lane knew nothing about them, because her mother left home before she was born, never went back, and refused to talk about her parents. She arrives at the crazily constructed home where she meets her cousin Allegra, who also lives there. She’s happy there that summer, until she discovers a dark family secret… and runs, vowing never to return. When she gets word years later that Allegra is missing, she returns, finding both happiness and heartbreak.
There’s very little I can say without spoiling the story, but what I can say is The Roanoke Girls is a deeply disturbing novel with a family secret that is dark and shockingly twisted. This is definitely not a book everyone will feel comfortable reading, but despite that, it’s a compelling read that’s difficult to put down. Engel’s writing is excellent throughout and her choice of breaking up the narrative into THEN (teenaged Lane’s perspective) and NOW (present day Lane’s perspective) segments, interspersed with chapters that look back on the earlier Roanoke girls, sustained the air of mystery throughout the story.
I’m still not sure how I feel about this book. The only thing I’m sure of is this is a story I’m unlikely to ever forget.
Author: Amy Engel
Title: The Roanoke Girls
Genre: Mystery & Thrillers
Published: March 7th, 2017 by Crown Publishing
About the Book
Vowing to discover the fate of her missing cousin, a woman returns to her family’s Kansas estate where she spent one haunting summer as a teen, and where she discovered the dark heart of the Roanoke clan that left her no choice but to run.
Lane Roanoke is fifteen when she comes to live with her maternal grandparents and fireball cousin, Allegra, at the Roanoke family estate in rural Osage Flats, Kansas, following the suicide of her mother. Lane knows little of her mother’s family, other than the fact that her mother ran away years before and cut off all contact with her parents. Allegra, abandoned by her own mother at birth and raised by her grandparents, introduces Lane to small-town life and the benefits of being one of the rich and beautiful Roanoke girls. But there is darkness at the heart of the Roanoke family, and when Lane discovers its insidious pull she has no choice but to run, as far and as fast as she can.
Eleven years later, Lane is scraping by in Los Angeles when her grandfather calls with the news that Allegra has gone missing. “Come home,” he beckons. Unable to resist his pleas, Lane returns to Osage Flats, determined to find her cousin and assuage her own guilt at having left Allegra behind all those years ago. Her return might mean a second chance with Cooper, the boyfriend whom she loved and destroyed that fateful summer. But it also means facing the terrible secret that made her flee, one she may not be strong enough to run from again.
As it weaves between the summer of Lane’s first arrival and the summer of her return, The Roanoke Girls shocks and tantalizes, twisting its way through revelation after mesmerizing revelation, exploring the secrets families keep and the fierce and terrible love that both binds them together and rips them apart.
About the Author