Review: The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel

Synopsis/Cover Image from Publisher's Website
“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.

Three words to describe The Roanoke Girls? Twisted, gritty, and enthralling! 

The Roanoke Girls is built upon one family's deepest, dirtiest secret. Over the years there's always been something off about the Roanoke Family. Each girl - daughter, sister, granddaughter - either runs away or dies. No one thinks too much about or looks deeper into it....

In The Roanoke Girls Amy Engel expertly weaves together two timelines: Lane's sixteenth summer and present day. Books with multiple timelines are usually hit-or-miss, however, here it worked incredibly well. Amy Engel uses the timeline as a way to build suspense and tension. It was also interesting to discover right along with sixteen year old Lane what the huge family secret was. 

The majority of the book is told in Lane's POV. I found her to be a complex, flawed character, one that I wavered between liking and despising. At times, I found her to be selfish because when she left that summer she left two very important people behind, two people that needed her. Over the course of the story, however, Lane struggles with the fact that she left - she feels at blame for what's happened to Allegra as well as guilty for leaving her boyfriend behind. As more as reveled about what happened that summer, however, the more I could understand Lane's decision. Yes, it wasn't the best, but it did make sense. 

In addition to the big mystery, The Roanoke Girls also contains a slow-burn, second chance romance. I thought it was a great addition to the book as well as vital to Lane's overall journey. 

I won't say what the big secret is; however, I will say that it's incredibly messed up and disturbing. There were so many times I couldn't believe what was happening, and even more so, I couldn't believe that no one was doing anything about it. No one stepped up over the years. No one told the truth. No screamed that it was wrong. It not only made me angry but it also broke my heart. These girls deserved better. They deserved a happy, healthy home, not the sick, twisted palace of Yates Roanoke. 

Overall, The Roanoke Girls is a mind-blowing thriller. It's shocking as well as disturbing but there's something so utterly unputdownable about it. I look forward to reading more by Amy in the future. 

4 stars!!

The Roanoke Girls is now out!

Source: I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review. 

Buy Links: 

About the Author: 
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.
Author Links: 


  1. Amy Angel is one of my favorite authors. I loved her YA dystopia series. This sounds like a really thrilling read! I need to give it a try even though it's not a genre I always gravitate towards.

  2. I am so glad that you enjoyed this one as much as I did. I literally could not put this one down once I started reading. Lane was such a great character and I loved Cooper. Great review!

  3. I loved her YA series and was curious about this one. So happy to see you loved it.

  4. Okay, so I had taken this book off my TBR after reading some mixed reviews of it, but now your review makes it sound so good that I just re-added it, lol. It definitely sounds twisted!


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