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The Roanoke Girls By Amy Engel

The Roanoke Girls‘The Roanoke Girls’ is Amy Engel’s debut novel for adults.

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?

I was intrigued about ‘The Roanoke Girls’ when the publishers sent a compliments slip with the book warning me that the story was quite dark. So, never one to shy away from creepy stories, I delved straight in, eager to read the story of the Roanoke girls.

The story is primarily seen through the eyes of Lane Roanoke, a young woman who has returned home to Kanas, after many years away when she receives a phone call from her grandfather telling her that her cousin Allegra has disappeared. The story then flows from the past to the present, as we are introduced to Lane, a girl who went to live with her grandparents and cousin when her mother committed suicide. Lane is a quiet girl, she lives in the shadow of her flamboyant and boisterous cousin, Allegra who is fascinated by the history of the Roanoke girls, the aunts of the Lane and Allegra, all women had died young leaving an air of mystery behind. Lane’s grandparents are quite interesting, the grandfather Yates, is a charming and handsome man that women are drawn to, he has a protective nature that Lane trusts in, whilst her grandmother, Camilla, is reserved, sophisticated with a cold manner, she holds her grand daughters at a distance as if they are in the way.

All of the Roanoke girls come from troubled backgrounds, with histories of mental health problems as well as rebelling against their parents. Lane and Allegra become close friends and enjoy going out with the local boys, enjoying the first taste of love and relationships.

Like I was initially warned, this book is an incredibly intense and creepy story. It’s atmospheric, with the rolling farming landscape and the poverty of the town where the girls hang out against the cold glamour of their home. As the story flows, we see how Lane came to the point in her life when she ran away from home and why she became the woman that she became. As she tries to figure out why her cousin disappeared, she has to visit old ghosts and open wounds that she tried so hard to heal.

Occasionally there is a chapter from one of the previous Roanoke girls and with this addition, it adds a thrilling injection to the story that made it compelling reading. A creepy thriller about secrets that binds families together and tears them apart, this story gets under the skin and takes you into dark world of what goes on behind closed doors. Dark from the first page, this book is a seriously twisted and eerily sexy story filled with many twists and turns. ’The Roanoke Girls’ hits upon a taboo subject that makes for shocking and uncomfortable reading and with an ending that you will dread.

You can pre-order The Roanoke Girls from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 9th March 2017.

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