Sunday, 23 April 2017

The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel

The Roanoke Girls
By Amy Engel
Published by Hodder & Stoughton (7 March 2017)

Publisher's description
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?

My verdict
The Roanoke Girls is compelling and thought provoking. I loved it from the moment I started reading, with mesmerising writing that urged me to keep turning the pages. It's very difficult to review though, due to the difficult subject matter and not wanting to give too much away.

This rich family has been covering up a tangled web of secrets for generations. The secrets are revealed early on - so no surprises there. In fact, they are hinted at but not portrayed in a graphic way, which means the book is chilling and leaves much to the imagination (which can be far more frightening than when it's written on the page in front of you).

Don't be deceived by the pretty cover, as The Roanoke Girls is hiding a lot of darkness. It isn't a thriller, but there's a mystery at the heart of it, with plenty of flawed characters in a wonderful atmospheric setting. The chapters flit between past and present, and the author gradually peels back the layers, one by one.

The Roanoke Girls is certainly not for people who steer clear of taboo subjects or get easily offended, and I expect it will be a controversial read.

I received an Advance Reader Copy.


  1. I enjoyed this one as well! Great review 😊

  2. Thoughtful review! I thoroughly enjoyed The Roanoke Girls, but didn't like it as much as you. I had no problem with the taboo subject, but felt that there wasn't a strong enough case built as to the "why" of the main storyline. It didn't seem very plausible to me and felt a little YA.