Book Review: The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel

30689335Title: The Roanoke Girls
Author: Amy Engel
Publisher: Crown Publishing
Pub Date: (Expected) March 7, 2017
Format: Kindle eBook
Pages: 288
Source: NetGalley
Genre(s): Mystery, Suspense, General Fiction (Adult)
Rating: ★★★★
Goodreads || Buy on Amazon

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Vowing to discover the fate of her missing cousin, a woman returns to her family’s Kansas estate where she spent one haunting summer as a teen, and where she discovered the dark heart of the Roanoke clan that left her no choice but to run.

Lane Roanoke is fifteen when she comes to live with her maternal grandparents and fireball cousin, Allegra, at the Roanoke family estate in rural Osage Flats, Kansas, following the suicide of her mother. Lane knows little of her mother’s family, other than the fact that her mother ran away years before and cut off all contact with her parents. Allegra, abandoned by her own mother at birth and raised by her grandparents, introduces Lane to small-town life and the benefits of being one of the rich and beautiful Roanoke girls. But there is darkness at the heart of the Roanoke family, and when Lane discovers its insidious pull she has no choice but to run, as far and as fast as she can.

Eleven years later, Lane is scraping by in Los Angeles when her grandfather calls with the news that Allegra has gone missing. “Come home,” he beckons. Unable to resist his pleas, Lane returns to Osage Flats, determined to find her cousin and assuage her own guilt at having left Allegra behind all those years ago. Her return might mean a second chance with Cooper, the boyfriend whom she loved and destroyed that fateful summer. But it also means facing the terrible secret that made her flee, one she may not be strong enough to run from again.

As it weaves between the summer of Lane’s first arrival and the summer of 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.

My review:

I received this eARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way alters my opinion of the work.

“Roanoke girls never last long around here. In the end, we either run or we die.”

The synopsis tells you everything you need to know before you read. What it doesn’t tell you is how haunting this story will be.

I am very impressed. I was expecting a simple story about a missing girl (who hopefully gets found in the end) but this was far from that. I did not expect this intricately woven tale of sadness and heartbreak that spans throughout several generations. The matter is dark and heavy but is written in a way that is easy to digest. I use the word “easy” for lack of a better word.

The writing is fantastic and will hold you by both hands from beginning to end. This book is a rough whisper in your ear, a calloused finger across your collar, a carved proclamation of love on a forgotten park bench, and two loving hands latched around your neck. Suffocation. I have a feeling that I’ll still be thinking about the Roanoke girls when I go to sleep tonight.

Perhaps the most frightening aspect of this book is how realistic everything is. It’s not difficult to be empathetic toward most of the characters, which is quite disconcerting when the majority of them are (kind of) awful people. This only further proves how great the writing is.

The ending was both satisfying and disappointing but I suppose there is no proper way to end a story like this. Life goes on after tragedy. I won’t say anything else because I don’t want to ruin the experience that this book is.

(4.5 stars)

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