The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel

The Roanoke Girls

Amy Engel

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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“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.

Advance Galley Reviews

I didn't like this book, it dragged and the subject matter was offensive.

I had an extremely difficult time getting into this book. It just was not made for me!

Can anyone really write a good thriller with three generations of incest as the central theme? I asked myself if the book would have been more compelling if the plot had been woven around a dark cult figure, rather than the family patriarch, at the center of this tale. Perhaps but the tale would need to have been really dark and scary and this book veers more towards YA territory and leaves the evil patriarch oddly unscathed and barely judged. I kept waiting for something bad to befall him and redeem the story. I am still waiting. In this alt-world, vice is nice but incest is best. Better books call to me from the TBR list on my reader.

"I dream of the Roanoke girls, lost and broken. Staring eyes and crumpled bodies. Jane. Sophia. Penelope. Eleanor. Camille. Emmeline. Allegra. They are calling for me, begging me to help them. I search and search, but never find a single one." This book fascinated me and I couldn't stop turning pages or should I say swiping the screen? It is about Lane Roanoke, who has to go live with her Grandparents. Her cousin, Allegra, also lives there. It is uncanny how much they look alike. But Lane doesn't have time to try and figure that mystery out because she is fighting her own demons. Her mom committed suicide and just like the other Roanoke girls who have died, there seems to have been a dark secret as to the reason why. "Sometimes it's a revelation, even to me, how much more comfortable I am with cruelty than with kindness. " Allegra mysteriously goes missing, just like all the other Roanoke girls. As Lane tries to uncover where Allegra could have gone, she also uncovers disturbing family secrets. The author created wonderful characters that you can't help love and hate at the same time. The writing was beautiful and lyrical. "I'm not running. I know running doesn't get you anywhere. You can't outrun what's inside of you. You can only acknowledge it, work around it, try to turn it into something better." Each Roanoke girl's story is told throughout the book to help give clues as to how and why Allegra is gone. I highly recommend this mystery thriller.

I found it extremely hard to make it even halfway through The Roanoke Girls. The pacing of the story was very off; the plot felt extremely slow, and yet I felt like I was being spoon-fed information about the family mystery too early on in the story. The subject matter of this book made it even more difficult for me to finish it. But that being said, the writing flows very well. I also really enjoyed the way that the story was being told through Lane's point of view in two different periods of her life; I liked seeing the dichotomy of herself ten summers ago and herself in the present day. And while the characters weren't particularly likeable for the most part, I still cared about them and wanted to know how they handle the horrifying situation going on in the Roanoke home.

This was an incredibly well-written book, but sometimes difficult to read due to it's "intense" content. I obtained an advance copy of this book through Penguin's "First to Read" Program, and really enjoyed the book overall. The writing is phenomenal, and it is truly a "page-turner". By the time I got to the "disturbing" content, I was so engrossed in the book that I couldn't put it down. I had to finish, even if it had some difficult subject matter. The Roanoke Girls were individuals, yet were a group with the same secret. How they dealt with the secret was all different, and led to the myriad of themes: escapism, family turmoil, jealousy, insecurity, and both physical and emotional abuse. This book is not for the weak of heart, but it well-written and a powerful commentary on perspective.

Roanoke Girls is a review that is hard to write. The book is definitely a surprise and I was wildly uncomfortable while reading parts of it. That being said, it was impossible not to become engrossed in the story and await the outcome. This book is definitely not for everyone but I think many will be glad they took the time to read it. Thank you Penguin Random House for the opportunity.

I really got pulled into the story from the start. This book is about a really messed up family and the mysterious disappearance of a young woman named Allegra. Even though the story involves a very sensitive topic, I was still very wrapped up in it enough to have to know what would happen next, and to get the answers to the questions I had. I would read more by Amy Engel. She knows how to keep your attention. Thank you First To Read and Amy Engel.

THE ROANOKE GIRLS caught me by surprise with its taboo theme. It definitely wasn't the kind of story I thought it would be. I was uncomfortable at times but still continued reading because I grew to care about the Roanoke girls and their plight. My thanks to Penguins First to Read for the ARC…

I probably wouldn't have picked this book to read if I knew the subject matter. That said, I really enjoyed it. Very suspenseful with the alternating stories of current day versus when Lane and Allegra were teenagers, with back stories of the other characters woven in. Good character development. You'll find it hard to put down!

This book is a fast and captivating read, but also a rather disturbing one. Amy Engel does a great job setting the pace and development of the plot with flashback chapters every other chapter, thus changing between "now" and "then", providing useful background information that slowly but surely provides the reader with pieces of a puzzle that is gradually solved. The language and story is quite graphic, but readers with the stomach to get through it all is in for a rare treat, and I was hooked if not from page 1 then from at least very early on. Fans of Gillian Flynn, Fiona Barton and others in the genre should definitely try out this book.

Still reeling as I just finished read the book. I don't know what I was expecting but it wasn't exactly this. I'm not disappointed, I was surprised. The story is of all the girls who are connected to the Roanoke property, thus the Roanoke girls. And yes, they are connected but that's one of the mysteries the reader has to unravel. This is a dark, twisted story, nothing light about the topic within. It's well thought out and you can see Allegra and Lane as they spent a summer together in the family home. As Lane goes back to help Allegra, you can feel her pain and reluctance to re-enter the life she left. I found it hard to put down as I followed the tragic and shocking story of their lives and the family.

This was a very interesting and shocking book to read. Sadly what happened in the book does happen in the world today. The author did a great job of pulling the reader into the story and bridging the present with the past. As much as I couldn't believe what was occurring in the book I could not put it down. Just when I thought I figured out all the secrets the author reveals new information.

Using a very taboo subject, incest, Amy Engle writes a thrilling tale. I was hooked by the first chapter and could not put it down until I finished the last chapter. There were so many twists and turns that I had no idea how the story would end until I read the last chapter. The characters were so vibrant. This thriller keeps you on the edge of your seat from the first word to the last.

It is very well written and it will draw you in even if the subject matter is disturbing. Lane's character drew me in and I wanted to find out how it was going to end.

I read this book as part of Penguin Random House First to Read program. I will warn people that the topic of this story, the family secret, is hard to swallow. It's disturbing yet keeps you intrigued. The story was well written and the characters were well formed. I did have a hard time reading parts. The way the Grandfather pulls you (the reader), and the characters (the girls), in emotionally is gut wrenching. You find yourself disgusted yet drawn to him still. The ending was alright. Felt like there were a few holes in it, but all in all a decent read.

This book is disturbing. I definitely was not prepared for what the secret turned out to be. It was an extremely well written book and I felt that it kept your interest from the beginning. I will admit that I was disappointed in how the whole search for Allegra ended, but I do applaud Lane for staying until the whole mystery behind her death was resolved. I was also glad that Lane did not fall victim to her Grandfather's charm like all the other Roanoke girls. Her grandmother, on the other hand, sickened me to no end. I guess love will make you do crazy things sometimes.

This story is full of plenty of triggers that might set people off. So be wary. I thought this story was going to be something different. There were things in it that made me uncomfortable.

Solidly written but this book just didn't appeal to me.

I was surprised by this book. There were two things that normally would not have appealed to me -- the subject matter and the flashback method of writing. Both of those items worked exceptionally well in this book. I read every time I had a few free minutes. The author made me care about the characters. There was a twist at the end that I did not see coming. Not only would I recommend this book but I have already done so.

This book was very well written and draws you in until the very end. Lane showed incredible bravery several times throughout the story. The sad truth is it was believable. I would say that there should be some kind of label or warning for those that may have experienced something akin to what happens to the Roanoke girls. I look forward to more novels from this author.

This book is being promoted in the suspense/thriller genre and I'm not sure it fits. I would say this is more of a family drama. Most definitely about family and most definitely drama. Since you know very early on what the family secrets are I don't think it can really be called suspenseful either. But if you like stories about dysfunctional families you will eat this one up quickly. This family's disfunction is palpable, it made me physically uncomfortable. Honestly it was so uncomfortable to read I had to wonder how completely believable it was. But barring any disbelief, this book is so well written and the mystery is put together so tightly that, if you can stomach the more unsavory theme of the story, it is really worth reading.

I was truly drawn to finding out the secret of the Roanoke girls and what happened to Allegra. When I discovered the secret, I was disturbed and felt strongly for each of the girls that had fell victim to their grandfather's charm. The fact that Gran let all of this happen in order to keep him was truly appalling. The book was very solidly written. And would definitely be interested in reading more from this author.

Wow! I loved this was disturbing in its subject matter but so well written. Once I started I couldn't stop reading. Lane was a gripping character and I found myself really invested in her. I can't wait to see what author, Amy Engel does next!

What can I say about this book? Yikes. Wow. No! Run! I truly could not put it down. It is written from the perspective of Lane, a girl who goes to live with her estranged grandparents after her mother commits suicide. She is trying to find love among this new family but ends up covering dark secrets. Over a decade later her cousin and friend goes missing and she returns to her grandparent's home once again. Sprinkled throughout the book are the stories of other women in Lane's family. I really enjoyed this book! It didn't have a bunch of twists and turns like some mysteries, in face the biggest secret is hinted at throughout the book, but you're still left wondering how exactly it is going to end and which character is the worst. It is such a well-written novel. I hope we hear more from Amy Engel!

The book is well written, very interesting but disturbing. I can't say for sure I would have wanted to read it had I known ahead of time what the secret of Roanoke was but I do not regret reading it. I am interested in reading more from this author.

I have mixed feelings about this book. It is written well, however the subject matter is hard to get through. You go through the feelings of the main character and understand why she feels the way she does. I can see how it would be difficult for some people to get through this book and it does have many issues that may trigger some people. I enjoyed it and got so wrapped up in the story that I couldn't put it down for the last 50 pages. I would recommend this book, but with a side of caution for people that may have experienced issues presented

If I had known what this book was about before I started, I don’t think I would have read it and there should probably be a trigger warning right on the cover. But it is well-written and the mystery was enough to keep me interested.


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