The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel #Review @aengelwrites @CrownPublishing


“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.

I received an advance review copy of this book courtesy of Netgalley and Crown Publishing.


Author: Amy Engel

Title: The Roanoke Girls

Genre: Mystery & Thrillers

Published: March 7th, 2017 by Crown Publishing

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

Purchase Links

Penguin Random House | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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

Author Amy Engel
Author Amy Engel

Amy Engel is the author of THE BOOK OF IVY young adult series. A former criminal defense attorney, she lives in Missouri with her family. THE ROANOKE GIRLS (March 7, 2017), is her first novel for adults.



The Good Daughter by Alexandra Burt #Review @alexandraburt @berkleypub

The Good Daughter cover

Most of Dahlia Waller’s earliest memories take place in her mother’s car. They were constantly packing up and leaving in the middle of the night, driving to parts unknown. They would stay in the new place for a while, living in the cheap motels where her mother, Memphis, worked as a housekeeper and got paid ‘under the table’. Dahlia knew they wouldn’t stay long; they never did. Sooner or later they would leave, moving on to another motel in another town… it was an oft-repeated cycle that Dahlia was told had to do with Paperwork… which they didn’t have. It was the reason Dahlia was home-schooled, instead of going to school like other children did.

After years of moving from one place to another, Memphis took Dahlia to Aurora, Texas… and they stayed. Dahlia was enrolled in school, and able to make lasting friendships for the first time in her life. Memphis never told Dahlia why she chose to stay in Aurora; she was an obsessively private woman who shared very little with anyone, including her daughter. Dahlia left when she was 18, and didn’t return for 15 years—she wanted answers about her strange childhood, and Memphis was the only person who could provide them. To Dahlia’s dismay, Memphis is as tight-lipped as ever, and seems to be teetering on the edge of madness.

Before Dahlia can attempt to get any answers, she discovers a woman who has been left for dead in the woods. This sets off a chain of events that apparently pushes her mother over the edge of sanity, leaving Dahlia to search for answers on her own… answers that are not only heartbreaking, but horrifying.

Intriguing right from the start, The Good Daughter is layer upon layer of mystery. What I’ve described above touches on only two of the characters in this multi-faceted story. There are several others we meet along the way—two in particular where we see the action through their points of view. I don’t want to spoil anything, so I can’t give any details other than to say they all have an important role in the overall story. It’s puzzling early on, trying to figure out how all the pieces of this complex story fit together. Once everything starts to fall into place, you can’t help but appreciate the skill it took  for Burt to craft such a complicated story. This is the first novel I’ve read by Alexandra Burt, but it definitely won’t be the last!

I received an advance review copy of this book courtesy of Netgalley and Berkley.


Author: Alexandra Burt

Title: The Good Daughter

Genre: Mystery & Thrillers

Published: February 7, 2017 by Berkley

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Purchase Links

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

About the Book

From the author of Remember Mia comes the tale of a young woman in search of her past, and the mother who will do anything to keep it hidden…

What if you were the worst crime your mother ever committed?

Dahlia Waller’s childhood memories consist of stuffy cars, seedy motels, and a rootless existence traveling the country with her eccentric mother. Now grown, she desperately wants to distance herself from that life. Yet one thing is stopping her from moving forward: she has questions.

In order to understand her past, Dahlia must go back. Back to her mother in the stifling town of Aurora, Texas. Back into the past of a woman on the brink of madness. But after she discovers three grave-like mounds on a neighboring farm, she’ll learn that in her mother’s world of secrets, not all questions are meant to be answered…

About the Author

Alexandra Burt
Alexandra Burt

Born in Fulda, Germany, a baroque town in the East Hesse Highlands, I spent my childhood accompanying my two older brothers on local countryside adventures, roaming abandoned farm houses, ancient beech woods cratered by WW2 bombings, and sandstone towers rumored to have housed witches waiting to be burned at the stakes. A gluttonous reader long before online bookstores, grocery store crime novels, and large book chains cropped up in every city, I made do with a small town library in the city hall building. After I exhausted the children’s section, I moved on to crime fiction and serial killers.

While pursuing literary translations, I decided to tell my own stories. After three years of writing classes and gluttonous reading, my short fiction appeared in the Freedom Fiction Journal, All Things Girl, and MUSED Literary Review.

I currently live in Central Texas with my husband, my daughter, and two Chocolate Labrador Retrievers.

I am currently working on my third novel.

Author photo and bio via Goodreads.