Book Reviews · Uncategorized

The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel

“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. She ran fast and far away.

Narrated in the first-person voice of Lane, the story weaves back and forth in time, inserting brief snippets about the previous generation: Sophia, Penelope, Eleanor, Camilla, and little Emmeline. We learn about the Summer Lane came to Roanoke for the first time, at age sixteen, and why she fled after that brief period, holding her own secrets close to her heart.

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 also means facing the devastating secret that made her flee, one she may not be strong enough to run from again.

It was not difficult to figure out the darkness hiding behind the walls of the beautiful estate called Roanoke. The charismatic grandfather/father, Yates Roanoke, had a way about him, a way that drew the girls to him. They were all wounded in one way or another and his kind of love felt better than no love at all. Their mothers had died or run away and they were left behind not believing they were worthy of love. And Yates was there, promising them love and protection from the outside world.
The story went from the past to present and back again making the story confusing and uncomfortable. I don’t know why people think that reading about this kind of abuse is interesting reading. I know that this kind of information probably needs to be told, but not in a way that gives it a normal place. If you want a pleasant and relaxing summer read this story is not it.  I would not recommend this story to anyone as it may be an emotional trigger, mainly because the ending did not bring comfort, peace or closure to the story.

I received a copy of the book from Blogging for Books for my review

Check out my new book The Power of the Spoken Blessing, available everywhere books are sold and at

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