Friday, 27 October 2017

The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel

Everyone wants to be a Roanoke girl.

But you won't when you know the truth.

Lane Roanoke is fifteen when she comes to live with her grandparents and fireball cousin at the Roanoke family's rural estate following the suicide of her mother. Over one long, hot summer, Lane experiences the benefits of being one of the rich and beautiful Roanoke girls.

But what she doesn't know is being a Roanoke girl carries a terrible legacy: either the girls run, or they die. For there is darkness at the heart of Roanoke, and when Lane discovers its insidious pull, she must make her choice...

Initially, I wasn't sure whether to write a full review of The Roanoke Girls, or even how to whilst keeping it spoiler free to be honest, however this book totally blew me away; it is just the kind of book I want to review and rave about here on Reading with Jade.

I'd heard some things about this title before going in, namely that the plot is pretty twisted and that there was one dysfunctional family in store for me - both of which being very much true. The Roanoke Girls is by far one of the darkest books I've read in a long while.

Having spend one life changing summer at the Roanoke family residence in Kansas, Lane Roanoke begrudgingly finds herself back there again years later following the disappearance of her cousin, Allegra. The secret of the Roanoke family is well guarded, but Lane knows all too well what happens to the Roanoke Girls and is determined to find out exactly what happened to her cousin. Allegra and Lane formed quite the connection that summer a number of years ago, and she just can't let her disappearance be.

The story is told through Lane's eyes with alternating 'Then' and 'Now' chapters, plus snippets interspersed regarding other generations of Roanoke Girls. Personally I think this story telling method worked well with the unfolding of the plot, especially the mystery, however I do feel like it meant one side of the story was told more than others, leaving me wanting more information on certain aspects of the plot... This is what dropped my rating of The Roanoke Girls to a four star read.

I don't want to spoil the plot, however with a book such as this covering a sensitive topic, I think it important to state that abuse & incest run deep in this book. It is not an easy read by any means, but definitely a page turner that will leave you feeling all the negative emotions (but in a good way). I think the way in which the plot is handled is a credit to Amy Engel's writing, and I was captivated by her words - there are so many passages within the narrative of The Roanoke Girls that are painfully beautiful.

The characters are strong but flawed, the plot is bold and yet subtle with writing that is grippingly uncomfortable.

The Roanoke Girls is not a light read, nor one you go into lightly, however if you're someone who regularly reads dark books then I recommend this title to you.



  1. I loved this one too...and flew through it. Very hard not to talk about without a least some general spoilers. I can't remember if I did or not, but I think I did a mini review with only a few sentences.
    However, this new cover...UGH!! I liked the old one better!

  2. This book sounds perfect for me! Great review. I’m glad you liked it.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

  3. I ended up DNFing this one because of the subject matter but absolutely loved the writing style and atmosphere. I just couldn't handle having the plot in my head. Great review! I intend on looking for more books by Amy Engel. I was so impressed with the style of the book.

    1. I totally get that Katherine - I'd be interested in looking for more books by Amy Engel also!


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