The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel
The Roanoke Girls
Author: Amy Engel
Genre: Mystery, Fiction, Thriller
Release Date: March 7, 2017
Goodreads Synopsis: 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.
Jen’s Rating: 🌟🌟🌟
REVIEW: The Roanoke Girls was a whole different kind of read. It left me angered and repulsed more than anything. There is so much that goes on in this book that makes you do a double take and ask yourself how can someone be this loathsome??? What seemed like a possible beginning to a creepier, sinister telling, more supernatural, is shown to be a physical account of a revolting upbringing, making the reader wish it was something more unearthly causing the downfall of the Roanoke women.
Even though that seems to be enough for anyone to stop and close this novel, it does the opposite and drags you right into the mayhem of what is called the Roanoke family. It keeps the reader entranced and hoping for a better outcome, but knowing that pain and misery might be the prevailing outcome. With one person at the center of all of the unspeakable family secrets.
“The house pulses around us, an awful, ticking silence. All the air sucked from my lungs, the room, the entire world. My heart is jack-rabbiting in my chest, my palms and underarms slick with sweat. I have broken an unspoken rule; in this house we talk around, not about. But I can’t pretend anymore, at least not with him, not inside these walls.”
Lane, who discovered the truth of the Roanoke’s existence in the span of one summer, has returned back so many years later to that fateful place she left after that short lived time. In search of Allegra, the cousin she left behind in that wretched place, who has gone missing without a trace. Right from the start the reader is aware something is very wrong when all of Allegra’s belongings are found in the home, cellphone, money, and all. And guilt eats away at her because she knows she left Allegra to fend for herself those many years ago.
This is about Lane coping with that disturbing piece of time in her life, and that of the family that has succumbed to their surreal mountain of lies and sadistic lifestyle. It is chilling and shocking to say the least, and continuous throughout the whole read of the novel. Not only must Lane deal with the disappearance of her cousin, but she must confront the one who has caused all this havoc and turbulence in the Roanoke women’s reality. Along with a broken young love she left behind those many years ago.
“So” — Cooper takes a lazy swallow of his drink– “how’ve you been since you ran away from here?”
“I didn’t run away.”
“You didn’t?” Cooper raises his eyebrows. “Could’ve fooled me.”
As more and more pages are read, Lane’s world gets even more complicated and more truths are revealed. Answers to questions she’s always had and many she never knew she needed answered. It is gut-wrenching an nauseating all at once. In many of this world, I wished Lane had shown more fighting back and lashing out for all of the women who couldn’t speak and defend themselves anymore, to get everything out in the open and make every sin of the transgressor come back on him tenfold.
Even though their existence is a harsh one to delve into, to read and deal with, it made me have all these feels. Yeah most of them were of the hatred kind, full of rage and animosity, but it’s that mess right there that makes this novel that much more interesting. How much it affects the reader, their understanding of the Roanoke’s permanence on that dreary land they all, in their own way, ran from. And what kind of life is left after all that has passed and been broken down.
With all of that said, even with what I have stated about making one feel and keeping me transfixed until the last word, it is not a book I would read again. One time around is enough for this reader. But what a shocker of a novel.
***I received this copy from Crown Publishing in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.***