Book Review: The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel 1

The Roanoke Girls

by Amy Engel

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Hardcover: 288 pages

Publisher: Crown (March 7, 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.

“I was immediately drawn into The Roanoke Girls, a haunting and riveting look at one family’s tangled legacy. You won’t stop reading until you’ve unraveled the darkest of Roanoke’s shocking secrets.”
– Laura McHugh, award-winning author of The Weight of Blood

“This is a poised and haunting novel, whose enchanting prose belies its dark and intense subject matter. An evocative modern take on Southern Gothic, with a compelling twist which will remain with you long after the book’s last sentence.”
– L.S. Hilton, New York Times bestselling author of Maestra

“An emotionally compelling page-turner, The Roanoke Girls takes you inside the dark world of a twisted family and one woman’s fight to break free from the chains of her own history. This is family intrigue at its very best!”
– Wendy Walker, author of All Is Not Forgotten


My Rating:


Favorite Quotes:


Allegra watched me over the rim of her cup. Her eyes felt greedy, like she was trying to drink me instead of her water.


You always had choices, Lane… You just keep making the wrong ones.


We were both silent for a minute, and the sky was so vast, the stars so bright, it was almost possible to believe you could hear them burning.


Guilt, I’m discovering, is an emotion that’s almost impossible to kill.   It’s like a poisonous weed that keeps on growing, burrowing into every vulnerable spot.



My Review:


I was captivated, enthralled, repulsed, intrigued, repelled, spellbound, and chilled by this devilishly twisted tale. I could not put my kindle down and felt annoyed by those pesky interruptions of daily life. I had chicken-skin for miles. The story was maddeningly paced, diabolically constructed, and me in like a Sirens’ call to the rocks. I was hopelessly fascinated, my curiosity relentlessly pricked by the slow reveal of several mysteries spanning five decades. I was quickly ensnared and remained rapt throughout this ingeniously erected and cunningly crafted storyline, although I wasn’t sure I wanted the mystery to be solved I feared the outcome. Ms. Engel’s writing was stunning and emotive, with deft and perfect word choices.   I could feel the heat and dust of the Kansas summer, taste the horrendous cooking, and hear the cicadas chirping. Her characters were deeply flawed, irreparably damaged, tainted, seldom likable and frequently cruel; yet also magnetic and alluring. Amy Engels has completed a stunning and gripping portrayal of an extremely vexing and disturbing social issue. I have a feeling this one will be gnawing at me for months.


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Purchase Links

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble


Amy Engel photo credit Trish Brown Photography

About Amy Engel

AMY ENGEL is the author of the young adult series The Book of Ivy. A former criminal defense attorney, she lives in Missouri with her family. This is her first novel for adults.

Connect with Amy

Website | Facebook | Twitter




One comment on “Book Review: The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel

  1. Reply Heather J. @ TLC Mar 17,2017 5:17 am

    WOW! What an incredible review of a dark and twisted book!

    Thanks for being a part of the tour.

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