by Amy Engel
Expected publication:March 7, 2017
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
All the stars!!!!!!
“Roanoke girls never last long around here. In the end, we either run or we die”.
As soon as I read that first sentence in the blurb for this book, I knew I had to have it. Once I started reading I had a really hard time putting this book down. This was another one of those rare times that I was not upset at having to wait at the doctor’s office. They probably called my name a few times before I even heard them.
Fifteen year old, Lane Roanoke is still reeling from her mother’s suicide when she comes to live with her maternal grandparents at the Roanoke estate in rural Osage Flats, Kansas. Her cousin, Allegra is six months younger and beyond thrilled Lane has come to stay. Allegra lives with and is being raised by their grandparents. Lane had never met her grandparents, and her mother refused to talk about them. All Lane knew was that her mother ran away years before. Lane’s relationship with her mother was a difficult one.
Dysfunctional doesn’t even come close to describing this family….
The Roanoke family has dark secrets that go back generations. Allegra is more than happy to fill Lane in on the tragic lives of the Roanoke girls that came before them.
Lane and Allegra have quite the summer. But when Lane learns the horrific secrets of the Roanoke family, she has to leave. She wants Allegra to come with her but Allegra refuses to leave Roanoke. Lane’s heart breaks at leaving Allegra but for the sake of her own sanity she can’t stay in such a toxic environment.
Time wise it was only one summer of her life, but that one summer changed Lane’s life in many ways. She vows never to return to Kansas or her family’s farm.
Eleven years later, Lane gets a call from her grandfather. He tells her she needs to come home…she must come back to Roanoke as Allegra is missing. Lane swore nothing would ever get her to return to that place…but she has to find out if Allegra is okay.
When Lane arrives at the farm she feels the familiar dread. But she must find out what happened to Allegra.
Allegra…the only Roanoke girl who wouldn’t leave.
In my opinion this was a very well written and extremely thought-provoking novel. Disturbing and intelligent, I was gripped from beginning to end. I liked the format of the book. Written mostly from Lane’s point of view but also the perspectives of all of the Roanoke girls and their stories. It flowed easily back and forth between past and present. Unsettling and dark, but I was unable to stop reading. All of the characters, the good and the evil are very well drawn. Their behavior and how they related to each other felt authentic.
This book deals with some upsetting subject matter that may make some readers uncomfortable. However, I felt that the author handled the issues with sensitivity and didn’t try to sensationalize the things that happened. I have no doubt that this story is going to stay with me for a very long time.
I am really looking forward to reading more from this very talented author.
Thank you to NetGalley, Crown Publishing, and Amy Engel for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my honest review.