I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel
Published by Hodder & Stoughton on 9th March 2017
Everyone wants to be a Roanoke girl. But you won't when you know the truth. Lane Roanoke is fifteen when she comes to live with her grandparents and fireball cousin at the Roanoke family's rural estate following the suicide of her mother. Over one long, hot summer, Lane experiences the benefits of being one of the rich and beautiful Roanoke girls. But what she doesn't know is being a Roanoke girl carries a terrible legacy: either the girls run, or they die. For there is darkness at the heart of Roanoke, and when Lane discovers its insidious pull, she must make her choice...
When teenage Lane Roanoke’s mother commits suicide in their New York home, she has no idea what will happen to her. But it turns out that her mother’s parents, Lane’s grandparents, want her to live with them in Kansas.
She’s never met them, but they are rich, with a big house and her cousin Allegra lives with them too. So she moves to her mother’s childhood home, to embark on the next chapter of her life.
The story is told in alternating chapters of past and present. The past being Lane’s move to Kansas, and the present being her returns there after ten years because Allegra has gone missing.
The Roanoke family are no stranger to missing girls, up till now they’ve all either died or fled. So who really are the Roanoke girls and what, exactly, is happening to them?
I really enjoyed the storytelling style of this novel. I always like a book that runs a past and present narrative successfully as I feel it helps us to learn more about our characters.
I suspect that this is a book that will divide opinion. While I won’t be divulging spoilers, I will say that the content won’t be for everyone. It’s uncomfortable reading at times, and yet so well written that it’s a very hard book to put down.
Engel’s writing is very impressive. I was completely engrossed in this book, despite being appalled by much of the detail. Her characters are flawed, yet often strangely likeable – which only made me feel all the more disturbed at times!
I don’t think I’ve ever read a book like this and I can’t imagine it’s one that I will be forgetting any time soon.