Friday, 21 April 2017

Book Review: The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel

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. 

Another book that should come with a trigger warning; The Roanoke Girls deals mostly with the subject of incest. Whilst I can't say that this makes for pleasant reading, I can say that it makes for a deeply, darkly twisted novel that explores the secrets families keep, and the fierce and terrible love that both binds them together and rips them apart. 

Trying to review this novel without including major spoilers is difficult. I can tell you that, if you're anything like me, you'll become so deeply engrossed in figuring out what's actually going on with the Roanoke girls that you won't be able to put the book down. You'll become emotionally invested in Lane, and find yourself desperate for that happy ending she so deserves. You'll feel shock and repulsion as you find yourself reaching the climax of the story; when secrets are finally revealed. But you might also find yourself feeling just a little bit sorry for the little boy who didn't have anyone to teach him right from wrong. 

I use this phrase a lot but, in the case of The Roanoke Girls, it's really fitting; this is a real rollercoaster ride of emotions. I couldn't have predicted how much I would love this book, and I can only urge you to pick this up if you're looking for a dark, psychological thriller that will blow you away. 

 Rating: *****

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