The Roanoke Girls – Amy Engel


Book: 288 pages (Paperback, Hardback and eBook)

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton (9 Mar. 2017)

Book Description:


The Roanoke girls seem to have it all. But there’s a dark truth about them which is never spoken. Every girl either runs away, or dies.

Lane is one of the lucky ones. When she was fifteen, over one long, hot summer at her grandparents’ estate in rural Kansas, she found out what it really means to be a Roanoke girl. Lane ran, far and fast. Until eleven years later, when her cousin Allegra goes missing – and Lane has no choice but to go back.

She is a Roanoke girl.

Is she strong enough to escape a second time?

My Review:

I was lucky enough to be sent a review copy of this book, although this isn’t the type of book I normally review – normally, my life is spent in fluffy rom-coms full of love, laughter and guaranteed happy endings. The world of “chic lit” or “Women’s Fiction” (This isn’t a criticism, I LOVE this genre). I’d seen a few tweets saying this book was a bit dark, gripping, scary and I was a teensy bit dubious – I’m not a fan of scary things! So, I took precautions – I started read it at mid day!

The story is set around a small town in Kansas and follows the story of Lane and the up line in her family tree – her cousin, mother, aunts, grandparents. The story alternates in chapters between the story of a decade ago, when Lane first met this part of her family following the suicide of her mother, and the present day when Lane has returned to try to solve the mystery disappearance of her beloved cousin Allegra. There are also interwoven chapters telling the stories of the Roanoke women from the past who have either died or run away.

As you read the book, there is a real sense of history repeating itself with similar events happening in the flashback chapter and then the following present day chapter. The pace of the book is fast and you find yourself second guessing a few things that are alluded to but not necessarily explicitly mentioned.

Towards the end of the book, I was really rooting for Lane and I found that in the parts of the story I would have expected I would cry (because there are some heart breaking twists), I couldn’t cry – reflecting the emotions Lane was going through at the time. When she finally did cry, I cried too!

I wouldn’t say the book has a happy ending but it has a happier resolution than what could have been – and what you fear during the reading unfolding of the story.

A fantastic book – a dark, gritty thriller that had me on the edge of my seat! I devoured this book!! If you liked Gone Girl or Before I Go to Sleep, you will love this!

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