The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel

The marketing campaign for The Roanoke Girls was really well done, I saw a few of the teaser pictures on Twitter and I was so intrigued! I’m trying not to buy as many books until my TBR pile is more manageable, so this was one of the few books I pre-ordered towards the end of last year. 
From the blurb:

Beautiful.
Rich.
Mysterious.

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?

Sometimes people who love us can still hurt us..

Lane had a bit of crap upbringing; her mum ran away from home when she became pregnant at 16. They have no money, live in an awful apartment in New York, and her mum is seriously depressed. 

Lane has idealised the house and family her mum ran from, picturing a beautiful old farmhouse, but her mum says it was a nightmare.  One day she comes home from school to find that her mum has killed herself. She left a note saying that she’d tried to wait. 

Lane is taken to her grandparents in Kansas.  She finally gets to meet her family, live in the house she’s dreamed of, and be a rich Roanoke girl. 

At first everything seems idyllic, and Lane loves her eccentric cousin Allegra, but there is something rotten at the core of the family, and Lane decides to run. 

When her Grandad calls her at 3am 11 years later to say that Allegra has gone missing, Lane knows that she has to help find her, but it means going back to that house, back to being a Roanoke girl…

This book is completely twisted. It’s apparent almost immediately what the family secret is, and why the Roanoke girls run or die young, but it’s just so compelling.  

I don’t really want to say more, in case I ruin the book for you, but it is seriously disturbing. I gave it 3/5 stars on Goodreads because it was a bit obvious what was going on – I suspected what had happened to Allegra about halfway through the book. 

In a way, Allegra’s fate is a secondary plot point, the main journey is Lane’s acceptance of what happened to her, to her mother, to her cousins and aunts, and to move on with her life in a nondestructive way. 

Let me know if you’ve read this book in the comments below.

Cheerio!

Stephani Xx

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