The Roanoke Girls
by Amy Engel
Summary 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.
Wow, I was in need of a book like this one! I am so glad I picked up The Roanoke Girls because it officially got me out of the slump I had been in. While the subject matter was definitely sick and twisted, the book did a great job keeping me interested at all times. The fact that I had no substantial guesses as to what happened to Allegra kept me totally intrigued. I’m usually the first one to come up with all kinds of theories and in this case, I just couldn’t make up my mind.
Both the story and the characters were very different from anything I’ve read before. Lane and Allegra were very complex characters and at times I struggled to tolerate them because of their behavior. However, for the most part, I was able to understand where they were coming from. I believe this book and its characters come from a place of such darkness, that the intention is not for the reader to “like” them.
In terms of the writing style, I felt very comfortable with the author’s writing and each chapter flowed perfectly for me. The only problem I had (which has always been my weakness) was the jumping back and forth from “Then” to “Now.” Sometimes I would forget the last thing that had happened in that specific time period, but I would soon get back on track.
If you don’t mind venturing into the dark side for a bit, this is the book for you.
*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*
4 out of 5 stars