Hodder & Stoughton | March 2017 | 288 pgs
Source: Library

"The Roanoke girls seem to have it all. But there's a dark truth about them that's never spoken. Every girl either runs away, or dies.

Lane Roanoke was a troubled girl. Her relationship with her mother was anything but close. When her mother committed suicide when she was fifteen, she had nowhere to go to except to her mother's old hometown in rural Kansas. Lane wasn't close with her grandparents either, but they took her in. Lane then learned that she had a cousin who was six months younger than her. They got along quite well, and Allegra was more than thrilled to show her around the house. However, there was one thing that bothered Lane, and that was the generation of the Roanoke girls before her. From what she'd learnt from Allegra, they either ran away or died and Allegra didn't elaborate much further. Lane finally knew the hard truth one day and left Kansas but Allegra refused to leave, claiming it was her home and everything. 

Eleven years later, Lane received a text from Allegra but Lane never replied or contacted her. It was only later when she learned of her disappearance which had her return to Kansas with a sense of remorse. As much as she dreaded going back, she knew she owe it to Allegra and most of all, she has to find out the truth about her disappearance despite the darkness and ugliness of the Roanoke's family secrets. 

The Roanoke Girls wasn't what it seemed to be at first glance. The blurb offered nothing but a hint of family secrets surrounding the Roanoke girls. It had an atmospheric feeling though it was set in a small town in rural Kansas with agricultural farming as their core business. Told from two different time frames "Then" and "Now" through Lane's perspective, the story was intriguing and Amy Engel's writing was beautiful and had this reader hooked quickly. However, the story then took a turn and the secret was hinted out fairly early and thereafter my reading experience was no longer the same. Learning what the secret (subject) is felt like the rug was pulled out from under me because it was the last thing I'd expected from this story. It was unsettling and disturbing yet the author's writing and the mystery surrounding Allegra's disappearance pulled me back to the story. 

The truth in the end may deem as a resolution to Allegra's case but it offers no redemption quality as far as the story goes, which is a pity. This is not a book for everyone, but Amy Engel is a good writer so I may want to read her YA dystopian series (The Book of Ivy and The Revolution of Ivy). 

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16 Responses
  1. I agree the subject matter is disturbing. This was an ok read for me too, though I was hoping for more.

  2. Jenny Says:

    Yes! I felt exactly the same way! I loved the writing, it was beautiful, but the subject matter really creeped me out. I’ll definitely be trying one of her other books though.

  3. Melody Says:

    Diana - The writing was great; I just wish the author has written another subject instead of this.

  4. Melody Says:

    Jenny - I went into this book blind so I was totally taken aback after realising what the secrets were. That said, her writing is good so I'll be checking out her other books for sure.

  5. Kay Says:

    I haven't read this one yet, but do have it on my Kindle. I think part of my hesitation is that I'm almost certain I already know the secret. Perhaps I read a review that revealed it - can't remember. Anyway, I've been putting it off. One day I'll get to it. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on it, Melody.

  6. jenclair Says:

    The writing was excellent, and I loved the unique setting for the Gothic suspense which was so atypical. I didn't "like" it, but I appreciated the skill, but it was certainly creepy.

  7. Lark Says:

    I'm on the fence with this one. From the title, I wanted it to be a different story than it is, and from all the reviews I've read of it, I'm not sure I'd like it.

  8. Iliana Says:

    I remember when this one was getting a lot of attention and it did sound a bit different from a typical mystery. I do have it so will have to check it out!

  9. Melody Says:

    Kay - I'm curious of your take of this book, Kay. Hopefully you'll read it soon one day.

  10. Melody Says:

    Jenclair - Yes, her writing was excellent. It was an unusual read but that will not deter me from reading her other books. :)

  11. Melody Says:

    Lark - I understand there's a history about Roanoke so I'm intrigued by it. This book is not what I expected from a psychological suspense but the writing was great.

  12. Melody Says:

    Iliana - Yes, a different take from those psychological suspense out there but a good one, minus the subject. I'm looking forward to hearing your thoughts when you get to it, Iliana.

  13. bermudaonion Says:

    I'm not sure if this is for me but you, and all the commenters, have me curious about the secrets.

  14. Melody Says:

    Bermudaonion - This is definitely not a book for everyone but I've to admit the story was engrossing.

  15. I would like to give this one a try, although I know it's been getting mixed reviews, so it's made me a bit hesitant.

  16. Melody Says:

    Wendy - I'll be looking forward to hearing your views, Wendy.

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