The Roanoke Girls

The Roanoke Girls

by Amy Engel


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“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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781101906668
Publisher: Crown/Archetype
Publication date: 03/07/2017
Pages: 288
Product dimensions: 6.40(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

AMY ENGEL is the author of the young adult series The Book of Ivy. A former criminal defense attorney, she lives in Missouri with her family. This is her first novel for adults.

Read an Excerpt


 The first time I saw Roanoke was in a dream. I knew little of it beyond its name and the fact it was in Kansas, a place I had never been. My mother only ever mentioned it when she’d had too much wine, her breath turned sweet and her words slow and syrupy like molasses. So my subconscious filled in the rest. In my dream it stood tall and stately, tucked among a forest of spring-green trees. Its red-brick facade was broken up by black shutters, white trim, delicate wrought-iron balconies. A little girl’s fantasy of a princess castle.

When I woke, I started to tell my mother about it. Talking through a mouthful of stale Cheerios drowned in just-this-side-of-sour milk. I got only as far as the name, Roanoke, before she stopped me. “It was nothing like that,” she said, voice flat. She was sitting on the wide windowsill, knees drawn up into her cotton nightgown, smoke from her cigarette gathered around her like a shroud. Her ragged toenails dug into the wooden window frame.

“You didn’t even let me tell you,” I whined.

“Did you wake up screaming?”

A dribble of milk ran down my chin. “Huh?”

She turned and glanced at me then, her skin pale, eyes red-rimmed.The bones of her face looked sharp enough to cut. “Was it a nightmare?”

I shook my head, confused and a little scared. “No.”She looked back out the window. “Then it was nothing like that.”

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The Roanoke Girls: A Novel 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 25 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Barnseys_Books More than 1 year ago
Following her mother's suicide, 15-year-old Lane Roanoke goes to live with her wealthy maternal grandparents and cousin Allegra at their rambling rural estate in Osage Flats, Kansas. Being of a similar age and both having lost their mothers, Lane and Allegra form a close friendship. They spend one fateful summer hanging out with local lads Tommy Kenning and Cooper Sullivan. But life at the Roanoke Estate isn't quite the idyllic homestead it appears to be. The family has passed a dark secret through the generations and if Lane doesn't escape, it will destroy her. I've been hearing so much about this book. In fact most of my book-circle acquaintances are either currently reading it, have read it or have it queued for future reading. From what I've heard so far, opinions seem to be heavily divided - you either love it or hate it. Me? I'm firmly in camp 'love it'. Whilst the subject matter wont be for everyone, I personally thought it was sensitively and compassionately translated into words. Chapters alternate between 'Then' and 'Now' as the story unravels and captivates. I was totally engrossed and couldn't put it down. Amy Engel's writing is faultless and beautiful; it flowed perfectly and was a joy to read. She made me feel every emotion possible and when a book is able to do that, it's very special indeed.
SheilaDeeth More than 1 year ago
Told “then” and “now,” with very natural switches between times, the Roanoke Girls builds reality and depth into a quickly-revealed and shocking premise. Orphan Lane goes “home” to an unknown family, finds a friend in her unknown cousin, maybe comfort in the handsome rebel who likes her, maybe even a dream of a future, then loses it all. Now she’s searching for the cousin who stayed, and possibly searching for herself. Abuse leaves scars, and Lane is a scarred and fascinating character, slowly revealing what did and didn’t happen in the past, and leaving the reader to see how it affected the future. Smoothly written in a convincing voice, steadily paced, and scarily absorbing, the novel reveals characters with all their depths and shallowness, the guilt that masquerades as innocence, the pain that masquerades as rebellion, selfishness pretending to be kindness, and a hope behind it all. Dark, haunting, maybe even healing, Roanoke Girls is a powerful novel, a complex construction, and a highly recommended read. Disclosure: Blogging for Books provided this book to me for free in exchange for an honest review.
xokristim More than 1 year ago
BookwormforKids More than 1 year ago
The author does a fantastic job at bringing these characters and their lives to life, making them dig deep into the reader's heart and remain long after the book's been closed. A mid-twenties Lane is called home to Kansas when her cousin suddenly goes missing—a home she spent only one summer at and hasn't returned to for about ten years. Upon returning, she's frustrated at the seemingly lack of interest at her cousin's disappearance and decides to search for her herself. While trying to uncover any hints at what might have happened, Lane finds herself revisiting not only her past, but the terrible secrets generations of Roanoke girls have been harboring. Not an easy task since all have wound up dead. This is a well-woven novel which digs into the heart and pulls at the gut as horrible secrets and situations unfold. The chapters dance between Lane's present, her past and even several other points of view, but this constant switch is never confusing. Rather, the scenes come to light exactly there where necessary and add a lovely richness to the tale. The aches and pains of this family are offered with all of their raw emotions, making it impossible not to get caught up emotionally in the pages. The writing is very well done. Every scene sits and each conversation flows across naturally. Life in the odd Roanoke household comes across with vivid reality, each character adding their part and claiming their spot in the tale. It's an engaging read and easy to get lost in as the secrets come to light. Pretty much. While the layers are thick and the secrets dark, the tension isn't nearly as high as I thought it might be, which in itself is by no means a negative to this book. Instead, of a constant feel of impending danger, this plot rolls through a family's terrible mistakes, sins and crimes. It was clear from the very first chapter what direction the entire thing would take—sexual/psychological abuse. And it wasn't a complete surprise to discover what had happened to the girls or even who was at fault and why. The constant and clear mention of the explicit behavior wore thin quickly. Unfortunately, this type of openness is not only something I usually steer away from, but, in this case, it also made the ending a bit too easy to predict. All in all, this is a well done story which digs into characters and makes them unforgettable. It falls more into a Women's Fiction story than suspense (or so I found) and hits themes which have been done before. Still, fans of dark family secrets and women facing their pasts are sure to enjoy this one. I received a copy from Blogging for Books and wanted to leave my honest thoughts.
Caroles_Random_Life More than 1 year ago
I thought that this book was fantastic! I actually have looked at this book several times since its release and didn't pick it up sooner because I wasn't sure that I would like it. I had nothing to worry about. This story is disturbing and made me very uncomfortable but I loved it. Once I started reading this book, there was no stopping and I ended up reading it in a day. As I said, this book tells a rather disturbing story. In some ways, it was like a train wreck that you know you shouldn't look at but you can't help yourself. This book deals with sexual abuse and could be difficult for some readers. I went through a wide range of emotions while reading this book. There were parts that made me mad, others that made me want to cry, some parts gave me hope, and some parts just made my skin crawl. Lane goes to live with her grandparents after her mother's suicide. She has never met her Gran and Granddad, not to mention her cousin, Allegra. Allegra and Lane bond right away and become quite the pair. They spend almost all of their time together either in town with Tommy and Cooper or on the farm. Years later, Lane is called back to the farm because her cousin is missing. Lane works to figure out exactly what happened and where Allegra is. This story is told through two timelines. One timeline follows Lane and Allegra as teenagers when Lane first comes to live at the farm. The other timeline is set in the present with Lane back at the farm to look for her lost cousin. These two timelines worked perfectly together. Information from the past that would be needed to fully explain the present seemed to be worked in at just the right moment. There were also a few passages from the other Roanoke girls which gave a lot of insight as to the history of the family. I would highly recommend this book to others. This is the kind of story that will stay with me for a long time. I really appreciated that the book ended on a hopeful note with all questions being answered. This is the time that I have had the chance to read Amy Engel's work and I am looking forward to reading more of her novels in the future. I received a review copy of this book from Random House via Blogging for Books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Engaging from the very start, couldnt put it down!
BookGirlR81 More than 1 year ago
This review will be short because with this type of book I don’t want to say too much because I don’t want to ruin any surprises. I was captivated by The Roanoke Girls after the first few pages. It was creepy, terrifying, and disgusting. I loved it. I sort of had it figured out before we found out what the family secret was, but that didn’t make it any less horrifying. There is the potential for some confusion as the story jumps back and forth in time, but after the first couple of times I became more comfortable with it and stopped being confused. I highly recommend The Roanoke Girls for fans of psychological thrillers. **I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review via NetGalley.**
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fantastic read!!!!
KrittersRamblings More than 1 year ago
After reading the synopsis when pitched this book, I was all in for a generational family drama, but after a few chapters the family secret is revealed and I just couldn't enjoy it from there. I will not spoil the family secret because I don't believe in spoiling, but just let me say that its real icky and I am mostly sure that there is just a nitsch amount of folks who would enjoy it. It pains me to rate the book so low and I just had a hard time because I actually enjoyed the way Amy Engel wrote and the generational part of it was entertaining, but I couldn't get past the family secret and I just wished it had been something else. There isn't much to say in this review. I wanted more from the plot of this story and I just wish it had been different.
QueenReader13 More than 1 year ago
*Rape and Incest Triggers!* The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel, Engel's debut in adult fiction, is a psychological suspense book about the Roanoke family. I am big fan of trigger warnings, and think they should be used way more often, so be very warned that rape and incest are a constant theme in this book. I don't think that at any point you can read even one chapter without it being present and it took a long time to force my way through book. Even with the rape and incest aside this was not a very good book. The writing felt like young adult style talking about much bigger life issues. This makes sense since Engel is a young adult author, but still I would have liked for her be able to distance herself more from that area. The minor plot twist was predictable but sad. The major plot twist was slightly predictable but Engel did attempt throw a few curve balls which I liked since it gave back the element of a mystery book that was taken from the minor plot twist. What I can safely say was good about this book was the characters, they were relatable in a very real way that I loved. Allegra was easy to love and dislike at once. Tommy was easy to pity and to picture living the 'perfect' life. Lane and Cooper were by far my favorite things about this book. Lane was so very easy to relate to in her struggles to break away from toxic things and form a sane life for herself, the strength and hope she wraps herself in for the ending are what every person struggles in manage in life. Cooper was perfectly imperfect, again in a very real way, and it was so easy to love him and want better for him in life. For me the character creation is the redeeming quality for this book. The characters and the intrigue might be enough for some people to enjoy this book but they weren't enough for me, especially not with the books intense use of rape and incest. The book explores the secrets families are sometimes willing to keep and the fierce, and in this case terrible, love that both binds them together and rips them apart. Read my full review at
VillaSyl More than 1 year ago
“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. She ran fast and far away. Narrated in the first-person voice of Lane, the story weaves back and forth in time, inserting brief snippets about the previous generation: Sophia, Penelope, Eleanor, Camilla, and little Emmeline. We learn about the Summer Lane came to Roanoke for the first time, at age sixteen, and why she fled after that brief period, holding her own secrets close to her heart. 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 also means facing the devastating secret that made her flee, one she may not be strong enough to run from again. It was not difficult to figure out the darkness hiding behind the walls of the beautiful estate called Roanoke. The charismatic grandfather/father, Yates Roanoke, had a way about him, a way that drew the girls to him. They were all wounded in one way or another and his kind of love felt better than no love at all. Their mothers had died or run away and they were left behind not believing they were worthy of love. And Yates was there, promising them love and protection from the outside world. The story went from the past to present and back again making the story confusing and uncomfortable. I don’t know why people think that reading about this kind of abuse is interesting reading. I know that this kind of information probably needs to be told, but not in a way that gives it a normal place. If you want a pleasant and relaxing summer read this story is not it. I would not recommend this story to anyone as it may be an emotional trigger, mainly because the ending did not bring comfort, peace or closure to the story. I received a digital copy of book from Blogging for Books for my review
jcmonson More than 1 year ago
This was one of those books that grabbed my attention immediately and didn't let it go. I was interested throughout the whole book, and stayed up late to finish it. This is the story of a family with a long history of abuse. It is pretty clear from the start what is going on in this family. All of the girls in the family seem to meet a bad end. The book focuses on Lane Roanoke, who moves to her grandparents home after the death of her mother. Over the course of one summer, she becomes close to her cousin Allegra, and learns the terrible secrets of the Roanoke girls. 11 years later, Allegra is missing, and Lane returns home to try and find her. The story was told with shifting timelines, and sometimes different narrators. I prefer a more linear story, but it was pretty easy to follow what was going on. The reader figures out the big secret pretty early on, and then it becomes a matter of when are other people going to figure it out. I thought this was a good book about a difficult subject. I received a free copy from the publisher and goodreads giveaways.
Alschager More than 1 year ago
The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel is an AMAZING novel! Based on those first few pages, a reader may believe they know how The Roanoke Girls will end. But Engel drops a wicked twist in the first 35 pages—in the middle of a paragraph on the middle of the page—and lets it sit and simmer in your mind as you dare to move forward. It’s a twist that most authors would save for the last chapter, and from that point on, The Roanoke Girls becomes a thrilling mystery and a satisfying! The novel illuminates the darkest aspects of a small community: what can happen behind closed doors, and how you never truly know your neighbors. Engel is also interested in the things that break people and how they try to repair themselves. She deepens the typical tropes of the small-town mystery genre, using a sheltered country boy, Lane’s high school sweetheart. He is an damaged as she is. This part of the book I could have lived without but it gave the novel more dimension I guess. My favorite part of the whole novel was the hidden story that never comes to full light until you read the whole novel. Lane grows up on half-told tales of Roanoke from her mother, whose hazy details makes it seem like a dream world. When Lane presses for more, however, her mother’s words grow sharp. She calls it a nightmare. At fifteen, Lane’s mother commits suicide. Lane is sent to Roanoke, a house in a small town in Kansas. Already suspicious, she lets Allegra—her doppelgänger cousin—give her a tour around the house. They come across a family tree of Roanokes. Lane discovers that her grandfather Yates is the only male Roanoke. For decades, only daughters were born. As Allegra tells each of their tragic stories, Lane begins to suspect that something terrible is hidden in their family history. I will be HIGHLY recommending this novel to all of my friends! If you love mystery, suspense, and a historical fiction twist this is the perfect novel for you! Thank you so much for allowing me the chance to review The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel. It was a true delight! I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.
jojosmodernlife More than 1 year ago
Lane Roanoke has spent childhood desperate to find out more about her family. Frustrated by her mother’s depression and secrecy, she is still stunned when she discovers that her mother left this world and her behind by suicide. Even more stunning is when she discovers there has been a family waiting to meet her and bring her back to her mother’s childhood home. But Lane only stayed for one summer. One summer was far long enough and chaotic enough for her to understand why all of the Roanoke Girls are special. And why they all leave. Or die. Although Lane makes it out of Roanoke alive, she is called back years later when her cousin Allegra goes missing. Lane and Allegra were inseparable that summer that she spent at Roanoke. Despite the time and distance that separated them, Lane knew immediately that she had to go back and find her. Roanoke does not seem to have changed much in the time Lane has been gone. Nor do the people in it. Can she find her way back out alive once again? This novel was a dark and twisted novel about how things can be too good to be true. Also, it is about how those who seem perfect on the surface often have twisted secrets buried deep away from the light. My favorite character was Cooper because he worked hard to overcome what he came from. This is a daily struggle and he strives to make the right choices. Lane tests these choices yet he continues to try to do the right thing, and is understanding and forgiving with her. I also enjoyed that he was somewhat of an underdog figure in the beginning. A character that could be easily assumed would never change, yet develops and deepens the more contact the reader has with him. This book jumps from the past to present every other chapter. It is mostly told in Lane's perspective, however, there are a few brief chapters where the perspective is given to the other Roanoke Girls. I thought the alternating perspectives in this case added to the story as it mostly told about how those Roanoke Girls left or died. The main thing that is holding me back from giving this book a five star review is that there were some points throughout the novel where I felt it lagged in action. Furthermore, the setting was beautifully described but the heat of the summer discussed far too much that it seemed repetitive to me. I would recommend this book for those interested in a dark novel about how family secrets can stay with us forever, regardless of how far we try to stretch our ties. On the other hand, I would not recommend this book for readers who may be uncomfortable with the following: foul language, violence, explicitly sexual scenarios, adultery, incest, depression, suicide, abortion, miscarriage, substance abuse, manipulation, and physical abuse. Please note: a paperback copy of this book was generously provided for free in exchange for an honest review.
lauralovesreviewingLT More than 1 year ago
This is a convoluted mystery with dark undertones. Talk about a dysfunctional family. Lane had good reason to run far, far away from her grandparents house, Roanoke. Now, years later she must return to discover what happened to her missing cousin, Allegra. Memories return along with fear and anger. Lane is in danger of losing herself as much as her life. The whole time I was reading this it felt gothic. It’s not though. I believe it was what was occurring at Roanoke that made it feel that way to me. As I learned the dark history of these people, I squirmed. It wasn’t pretty. Lane was my hero. When it looked like she might get lost in the past, she shook herself off and took care of business. I had all kinds of feels for her situation. Where the author’s story really shines is with her characters. They’re authentic. You don’t have to like them. In fact, some you’ll loathe. But they’re well fleshed out and their stories will suck you in. Looking for something to get lost in for a few hours? Grab this one. You’ll not want to stop once you start
Nikki Hahn More than 1 year ago
Billed as creepy, The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel grossed me out. In spite of this reaction, I thought it was well-written and reflected a part of our culture the Christian world doesn’t always address (especially in their fiction). This novel helps us understand what’s wrong with the Roanoke family and why the girls in the family keep disappearing or killing themselves by skillful manipulation of the chapters. The book takes us from now to then and to the different girls in the family history. The family lives in a small town in Kansas and it is as broken and dysfunctional as the Roanoke family. However, the Roanoke family have their own special brand of dysfunctional. You discover this in the first few pages. Grandpa loves under age girls that are related to him. He’s an incestious pediphile. The book shows us how the girls and Laney (the main character) has bought into his kind of “love.” The book has many twists and turns, showing us how Laney and the other girls really had nowhere to go or any kind of help to escape the nightmare of the Roanoke family. Laney’s own fatalistic point of view that she can’t escape her family history, succombing to repeating the cycle of her past, should bother you. We know our hope is in Christ and second chances can come by making different choices. So, why should a Christian read this book? First, it’s a fascintating book, truly getting mysterious as Laney is the only one concerned with her cousin/sister’s disappearance. Allegra leaves clues. Other plot twists begin to happen including an ex-boyfriend who has changed. We find out the psychological trauma Laney is suffering from and how it affects her other relationships. Second, while this book is peppered liberally with swear words, this is the language of the culture and world we live in. White washing reality is not the answer to raising intentional adults to work in an environment that is troubling to say the least. The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel was well-written with a twist you can’t see coming at the end. The end is a happy ending in the language of our world, but as a Christian, I wondered if they got married or were shacking up with each other?
CarmenSwoonsCP More than 1 year ago
“Did you wake up screaming? Was it a nightmare?” I shook my head, confused and a little scared. “No.” “Then it was nothing like that.” Nightmares are the least of concerns; losing sleep a luxury in comparison to the knowledge, and experience, of surviving in the house Roanoke built. Amy Engel crafts a book equal parts compelling and disturbing. The Roanoke Girls details a family dynamic, a cycle of abuse without limit or censure, until one resolves to face the demons and expose the plague. This story is cringe-worthy, but so artfully written, you’ll feel its haunting beauty. “My head knows this place is no good for me, but my stupid, traitorous heart sings HOME.“ Lane Roanoke is going back home to Kansas. Only, you’re not supposed to go home again, right? Or does Oz always welcome you back? Trust me when I say Roanoke is light years away from fantasy. When Lane’s cousin, Allegra, goes missing, Granddad summons Lane home. Ten years ago, Lane ran away from Roanoke, vowing to stay away from her cryptic family. But guilt, its “dirty fingers under [her] skin” have forced Lane to return. Only Allegra could revive Lane enough to revisit this hell. Allegra, the rebellious, reckless, spirited cousin whose mysterious disappearance reopens wounds and shines a light on silent, insidious corruption. Don’t think me dramatic, but I don’t think I can say much more. Amy Engel parses out pivotal memories that stem from a malignant root, but the identity isn’t the most startling. To quote Ms. Engel, “it’s the WHY of it” that brings the story to full culmination. You will hear varying degrees of blame, tainted versions every one, but “life picks away at all of us, backs us into corners we never anticipated. Turns us into people we never thought we’d become.” A riveting story of innocence lost. The Roanoke Girls were born into an underbelly of family taboo cloaked in dark seduction and heartbreaking complacency. Amy Engel weaves in light and hope in the most desperate of times. I told her The Roanoke Girls was memorable, but now I can honestly add recommendable.
GoABraves More than 1 year ago
Lane Roanoke's grandfather is begging her to return to rural, Kansas. Her cousin is missing, not again ALL Roanoke women either die early or run away; her own mother ran away from home when pregnant with Lane. Lane does return to a family she only lived with a few short years and really has NOT know her grandparents or the aunts and cousins she never knew. But when she ran away 11 years ago, she left Allegra and she has to return to find out what happened. A very good read, but disturbing family secrets. I had figured out part of the story, but... Thanks to Read it Forward (Abbe, Emma and the WHOLE RIF team) for a reader's copy of "The Roanoke Girls".
Bookworm_Babblings More than 1 year ago
Lane didn't know what it felt like to be loved. Her mother, Camilla, spent most days crying and the rest ignoring her daughter. The only thing Lane knew about her mother was that she ran away from Roanoke, she never wanted to speak of her past, other than to say that she never wanted to return there. After Camilla passes away, social services finds family for Lane to live with. Lane had no idea that she had family, and now she was headed to her wealthy grandparents that are also raising her teenage cousin at Roanoke. During that brief summer at Roanoke, Lane learns about love and the dark secrets at Roanoke. I really enjoyed the toggling between past and present. The story was so suspenseful, that it was difficult to put the book down. The mystery kept me guessing right up to the very end. This was a great thriller everyone will love. I received a free copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review.
Stardust_Fiddle More than 1 year ago
The first thing that attracted me about this book was the title, since the historical Roanoke has always fascinated me, so I was excited to be a Goodreads First Reads winner. Had I not won a copy, I probably would not have read it, as it falls outside of my normal reading parameters. Although this Roanoke is not to be equated with the historical colony, it shares the same haunting quality. “All the Roanoke girls somehow unable to grow up, stuck in a suspended childhood their entire lives.” Shortly before turning 16, Lane Roanoke goes to live with her grandparents and cousin, Allegra, following her mother’s suicide. Her mother’s life was one of despair and darkness, with no love for herself or for Lane, and all she would say about growing up at Roanoke—the name given to the family’s farm in Osage Flats, Kansas—was that it was a nightmare. At first, Lane finds her new life at Roanoke to be fine, enjoying Allegra’s company despite her cousin’s moody nature. However, as that transformative summer comes to an end, Lane’s blinders start to fall off, and she realizes just how much of a curse being a Roanoke girl can be, so that her reluctant return a decade later drags her back into the storm’s eye. This is definitely not a feel-good story. It portrays a dysfunctional family, peeling the layers of which like an onion causes tears. Engel writes with an unflinching manner, and as a result this book contains profanity and sexual situations, although these do not detract from or overshadow the story itself. While considered a thriller, “The Roanoke Girls” whispers its horror with a lingering sense of unease; don’t expect jump-out-of-your-seat scenes. Instead, the plot moves along like a sordid train wreck, and those who go along for the ride will be drawn into a tale that is all the more sad and frightening for its potential reality.
DarqueDreamer More than 1 year ago
Mild Spoiler Alert: The Roanoke Girls is a story of mystery, intrigue, and sadness. You will be pulled in to a struggle of mental illness, self discovery, and a disturbing tale quite like The Flowers in the Attic. This is one is a real page turner and, yet, will leave you conflicted and slightly confused. The Roanoke girls begins in the past after Lane's mother commits suicide and she is taken to live with her grandparents Lillian and Yates (on her mother's side). She stays for a summer with her cousin Allegra and becomes involved with a boy named Cooper. Years later she receives disturbing news that Allegra has gone missing and comes back home to confront her past and find Allegra. What she figures out on her path to self discovery and her search for Allegra is haunting and she has to come to terms with the devastating past of her family and the mistakes she has made with Cooper. I have very conflicting feelings about this book. Amy Engel did an amazing job with making this story come to life within the pages. Her writing style is gripping and satisfying and yet, she felt the need to add in so much sex and crudeness to the story. I have never been a fan of detailed sex scenes in a book or the use of crude sexual terms in the description of these scenes and, though I see the necessity of the sexual interactions in the story, I feel like they could have been described more tastefully. The story itself was both attention grabbing and disturbing at the same time. The content of the story is comparable to The Flower in the Attic and the depths of how far this situation goes is quite discomforting. I truly feel like every single person in the Roanoke family suffered from some form of mental illness or disturbance. Lane seemed to be the only character of the family that was not completely stricken with these mental issues, though she had plenty on her own. It was mildly difficult to get past the content of the situation of what has been going on within the Roanoke family, but it is what kept me turning the pages at the same time. The story felt real and Lane's character jumped from the pages. Allegra's character seemed a smidgen unbelievable at times with her outward rebelliousness and her over sexualization of daily life. I had suspicions from the beginning about what it was that Grandpa Yates was involved in, but it took me a little while to figure out what happened to Allegra and who was involved. Boy is it hard to write a detailed review about this one without giving away the main plot twists of the story. I enjoyed this book and felt mildly disturbed and disgusted at the same time. I would recommend it to mature audiences only. Thank you to Blogging For Books for providing me with this free review copy in exchange for my honest review.
ReadingGrrl More than 1 year ago
Wow, this is a dark, twisted and disturbing book with a hopeful ending. It seems that all the Roanoke girls have issues and die young, usually by their own hand. After Lane's mother died Lane is brought to live with her grandparents and cousin Allegra who is a strange and disturbed young woman. Though the two cousins grow close eventually Lane like other Roanoke girls flees the family home but gets called back 11 years later when her cousin goes missing. As Lane desperately tries to discover what happened to her cousin she also is reconnecting with her past love whose heart she broke when she left. The two are drawn to each other but this time instead of bringing out the worst in each other they may just be able to help each other break free of their pasts. With alternating chapters from past to present you discover the mystery of what goes on in Roanoke and why there is so much tragedy in this family. Amy Engel keeps you interested and slowly pulls you into the secrets of what is happening in this strange little town. Many of us are shaped by our pasts but we don't have to be defined by them. Lane doesn't have to be a " Roanoke Girl" she can be her own person. This book really touches on that and how we don't have to let tragedy or our families control our future. Well written, this book will stay with me for a while.
SheTreadsSoftly More than 1 year ago
The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel is a highly recommended, disturbing, creepy thriller. After 15 year-old Lane Roanoke's mother commits suicide, Lane leaves NYC to live with her grandparents and cousin Allegra on their farm, named after the family, in rural Kansas by the small town of Osage Flats. All Lane knew about her grandparents was that her mother couldn't wait to leave and never went back. Once in Kansas, Lane learns that her grandparents are wealthy, but she also learns that the Roanoke girls seem to be prone to dying - or running away like her mother did. What she can't figure out is why her mother was so haunted by her life there. When she does discover the truth over the one summer she was there, she also runs. Eleven years later Lane is living in Los Angeles when she gets a call from her grandfather telling her that Allegra has gone missing and Lane needs to come home. Lane does return to Roanoke to help search for Allegra and figure out what happened to her. Did she run or did something else happen. Lane certainly doesn't care about seeing her grandparents, and makes it quite clear. She even blurts out early on the big, dark secret hanging over the Roanokes, making it clear why she likely ran away. It's disgusting and the book slowly reveals the extent of the family secret. Lane also wonders about seeing her boyfriend from that summer, Cooper. The narrative alternates between the past and the present. It follows Lane during her summer at Roanoke and then her return eleven years later to look for Allegra. It also goes back in time to reveal what happened to all the other Roanoke girls in the past. As I said, the shocking secret is revealed early in the book, so what you will be looking for are clues to Allegra's fate and more information and clarification about what has happened to all the other Roanoke girls. Engel does an excellent job keeping the suspense and intrigue going, hooking you into the secrets of the past and present, as she slowly reveals more information. The novel is well-presented, in the writing, execution and the length. I was completely hooked in the story and never had a point in The Roanoke Girls where I thought the story was being stretched out. I read it in one sitting, which is the perfect way to read this page-turner. The ending is rather predictable, although it seems intentional as the focus is more on Lane's emotional state and her search for the reason for Allegra's disappearance. The biggest drawback to The Roanoke Girls is the subject matter. The subject matter is repulsive and will always be disgusting. Additionally, Lane's self-loathing can be difficult to relate to. In the end, however, Engels pulls it all together, reveals all the secrets, and there is closure. Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Crown/Archetype.
Myndia More than 1 year ago
Lane’s family has a secret. A secret that she ran away from at the age of 16. A secret that led to her mom’s suicide when Lane was just 15. A secret that eventually leads to the death or disappearance of all Roanoke girls, at least those that stay at the family estate. And now Lane’s cousin Allegra has gone missing, and their grandfather is calling her back home to help find her. It’s hard to talk about this book without giving anything away. The family secret is alluded to early in the book, so it isn’t much of a surprise when it’s revealed. And it is a bit VC Andrews without as much drama, not as extreme or entangled, but equally taboo. It’s also a little scary because you can understand the hold a charismatic loved one can have over you, and how the illness that convinces them that everything they are doing is out of love, also helps a child to be convinced that something that feels wrong isn’t. In the long run, that confusion blurs the lines of love, making it difficult to understand what real loves feels like, to accept it from others who offer it without expectations, without manipulation. And when that child grows older and realizes what has happened, they struggle to understand how they could have “let” it happen, how they couldn’t have known. How maybe they did know, but it was easier to pretend. As an adult Lane searches for her cousin Allegra, these are some of the demons she wrestles with, demons she’s been living with since that summer she went to live with her grandparents, a summer that she’d rather forget. The perspective of this book was quite interesting. In using multiple generations of women, all suffering the same thing at the same hands, we are able to see the many different ways that people react to such abuses. I thought the relationship between Cooper and Lane was a little cliché. Perhaps I’ve read too many books where broken people get together and patch each other up, or perhaps support each other while they patch themselves up. Despite that, I liked them together. Overall, a good read. It was a lot more introspection than mystery, and I can’t say that I was surprised about who did it. But the psychology of it all was intriguing. Note: I received this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.