The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel

Opening sentence: “The first time I saw Roanoke was in a dream.”

This book turned out to be a lot more twisted than I was expecting, which made it a page turner, but also left me raising my eyebrows quite a few times as the story strayed into quite sinister territory.

After 15-year old Lane Roanoke’s troubled mother commits suicide, she is sent to live with her grandparents (who are also looking after her 14-year old cousin, Allegra) on the sprawling, isolated Roanoke family farm in Kansas.

Here, Lane learns more about her family, mainly that all of the beautiful, dark-haired Roanoke girls – there are no brothers or sons – either disappear or die with startling regularity. The only man amongst these girls is Lane’s grandfather, Yates.

After spending one summer on the farm, Lane adds her name to the list of Roanoke girls that runs away and she stays away until eleven years later, when Allegra goes missing. She returns to try and find out where her cousin is, and ends up having to face up to all her Roanoke demons – from the truth about Allegra, to her relationship with her ex-boyfriend, Cooper.

This book definitely would have benefitted from a little more character exploration. Aside from Lane, I was left feeling that most of the characters had a 2D quality, but especially Lane’s grandparents, Yates and Lillian, as although they are present throughout the story, we only see glimpses into their characters and more about their motivation would have helped to give the overall book more depth.

I read a majority of The Roanoke Girls on a plane, and it is great for a journey – when you want something that’s going to grip your attention while being an easy read. My 2.5 hour journey seemed to go by in a flash, so job done there. Overall, this was a great little thriller – perfect for packing in your case this summer.

Thank you to Blogging for Books and NetGalley for the eARC.

Rating: 3.5/5

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