By: Amy Engel
Publication Date: 3/7/2017
My Rating: 4 Stars
“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.
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A special thank to Crown, LibraryThing Early Reviewers, and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Review to follow.
“With more twists than a bag of pretzels, this compelling family saga may make you question what you think you know about your own relatives.”
"Gripping…[a] gothic page-turner…with revelations readers won’t soon forget.”
– Publishers Weekly
“In her first foray into adult fiction, [Engel] creates a memorable cast of characters and a twisting, tangled plot that attracts readers from the first page…[an] atmospheric and unsettling tale of the secrets and bonds of family, set against the backdrop of small-town Kansas.”
— Library Journal
“A provocative thriller.”
— Telegraph UK
"An emotionally captivating story."
"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
About the Author
Amy was born in Kansas and spent the first few years of her life living in a small commune among the wheat fields. When she was three, Amy and her parents moved to Iran. Although she was very young when she lived there, Amy has incredibly fond memories of Iran, both the people and the country. A few years later, her parents divorced and Amy and her mom moved to Kansas City, Missouri, where Amy attended the local elementary school and often gave the teacher hand written notes correcting her spelling (this did not endear Amy to the teacher).
When Amy was in sixth grade, she moved to Taiwan with her mom and step-dad. Although in hindsight it was a wonderful experience, at the time she wasn’t too thrilled to be leaving her friends and school behind. As a result, her parents endured much pre-teen pouting. After a year, Amy and her family returned to Kansas City, and, at the same time, Amy’s dad relocated to California. Throughout junior high and high school Amy spent the school year in the land-locked Midwest and holidays and summers on the beach. She never managed to surf, but can swim her way out of mean riptide.
After high school, Amy attended the University of Kansas (Rock Chalk, Jayhawk!) where she spent four blissful years alternating between reading (B.A. in English) and staying out way too late with friends. Immediately upon graduation, she moved to Washington, DC to begin law school at Georgetown University.
Amy returned to Kansas City with her law degree and worked as a criminal defense attorney for ten years—a job that is both less exciting and more heartbreaking than television makes it appear. She married a fellow attorney and once they began having children, decided to stay home and split her time between mothering and writing, with the goal to be a published author within ten years.
She pursued this goal by doing absolutely nothing for the first couple of years. In her defense, after a day of chasing two small children around she had zero energy left for anything else (save the occasional glass of well-deserved wine). Eventually, though, she buckled down and wrote a novel. Unfortunately, while it wasn’t terrible, it wasn’t all that great, either. She trunked that book and then spent a year ruminating on new ideas. In other words, procrastinating. But one day she was hit with a flash of inspiration and wrote her debut young adult novel, THE BOOK OF IVY. It was published in 2014 and the sequel, THE REVOLUTION OF IVY, followed in 2015. In between writing those two books, she began work on THE ROANOKE GIRLS, her first adult novel. The book’s subject matter was dark and the characters were twisted and damaged, but it was the most fun Amy ever had writing. She realized she enjoyed exploring the shadowy side of the human experience, and she’s putting that discovery to good use as she works on her next novel. Read More