The Roanoke Girls: A Novel, by Amy Engel
Publication: Broadway Books; Reprint edition; December 5, 2017
“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.
When she was fifteen, Lane was forced to live with her grandparents after her mother’s suicide. After struggling to make sense of her family and their secrets, she leaves. When her crazy cousin Allegra goes missing, she reluctantly returns home to a former love and all of the secrets in the family that she ran from.
Let me being by saying that I applaud Amy Engel for writing such an honest, emotional, and addictive novel – despite how uncomfortable the subject matter was. However, I struggled to connect with or become invested in Lane’s character, as well as, anyone else in the novel. The story was difficult and although I didn’t want to put it down, I also dreaded each page wondering what would happen next. I read and review a lot of novels so when an author is able to evoke so much emotion in me, I have to recognize the powerful writing – but this one just didn’t sit well with me. Disregard the subject matter and it’s an incredible novel.
I never do short and sweet reviews, but I’m at a loss for what I can say about this novel without ruining it for future readers. But let me say, this is not a book to read if you’re already not having the best day ever. It’s dark and especially was difficult for me considering that I once thought I came from the most screwed-up family to ever exist. However – I was wrong! Very much worth the read though when you feel you’re in the right mindset.
Thanks to Blogging for Books for providing this novel in exchange for my honest review.