Roanoke girls never last long around here. In the end, we either run or we die.
After her mother’s suicide, fifteen year-old Lane Roanoke came to live with her grandparents and fireball cousin, Allegra, on their vast estate in rural Kansas. Lane knew little of her mother’s mysterious family, but she quickly embraced life as one of the rich and beautiful Roanoke girls. But when she discovered the dark truth at the heart of the family, she ran fast and far away.
Eleven years later, Lane is adrift in Los Angeles when her grandfather calls to tell her Allegra has gone missing. Did she run too? Or something worse? Unable to resist his pleas, Lane returns to help search, and to ease her guilt at having left Allegra behind. Her homecoming may mean a second chance with the boyfriend whose heart she broke that long ago summer. But it also means facing the devastating secret that made her flee, one she may not be strong enough to run from again.
As it weaves between Lane’s first Roanoke summer and 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.
The Roanoke Girls is a very dark and disturbing, but very well-crafted, novel which grabbed me from the first to last page.
There are uncomfortable moments which I can completely see being a problem for some readers, but I personally really – maybe ‘enjoyed’ isn’t the right word – but I felt it was handled well and I personally found it an interesting and engrossing read.
The characters swing between likable and horrible, but all are flawed in their own ways. I really felt bad for the Roanoke girls; each with their own problems and taken advantage of by someone they should trust, and someone who should care about them the most. There are contradicting emotions presented in this novel, with characters claiming to do just that – love and care for other people – but their actions speak louder than words and, in many cases, do not end well for those involved.
There is an element of mystery in this novel, which I liked, but it’s not the main crux of the storyline; it’s more about the relationship between Lane and Allegra and the rest of the family, and those around them.
I don’t want to say anything else as I don’t want to give too much away, but I feel that The Roanoke Girls is a multi layered and well-written novel. I’d definitely read more by Amy Engel in the future!
Many thanks to Hodder for providing a copy of this novel on which I chose to write an honest and unbiased review.