Review: THE ROANOKE GIRLS by Amy Engel


Amy Engel
Published: March 7th 2017 by Crown Publishing
Pages: 288
The Roanoke Girls

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Vowing to discover the fate of her missing cousin, a woman returns to her family’s Kansas estate where she spent one haunting summer as a teen, and where she discovered the dark heart of the Roanoke clan that left her no choice but to run.

Lane Roanoke is fifteen when she comes to live with her maternal grandparents and fireball cousin, Allegra, at the Roanoke family estate in rural Osage Flats, Kansas, following the suicide of her mother. Lane knows little of her mother’s family, other than the fact that her mother ran away years before and cut off all contact with her parents. Allegra, abandoned by her own mother at birth and raised by her grandparents, introduces Lane to small-town life and the benefits of being one of the rich and beautiful Roanoke girls. But there is darkness at the heart of the Roanoke family, and when Lane discovers its insidious pull she has no choice but to run, as far and as fast as she can.

Eleven years later, Lane is scraping by in Los Angeles when her grandfather calls with the news that Allegra has gone missing. “Come home,” he beckons. Unable to resist his pleas, Lane returns to Osage Flats, determined to find her cousin and assuage her own guilt at having left Allegra behind all those years ago. Her return might mean a second chance with Cooper, the boyfriend whom she loved and destroyed that fateful summer. But it also means facing the terrible secret that made her flee, one she may not be strong enough to run from again.


The Roanoke Girls was a shocking and heavy read, filled with twists and some truly messed up characters. I’m really glad I got an advanced copy for this one, because wow. It was sick and twisted and absolutely fascinating to read.

Amy Engel did such a wonderful job writing Lane’s story, weaving a dark tale about what it meant to be a Roanoke girl. Despite being told mostly from Lane’s POV, the book was split between Now and Then. That took a while to get used to, since every chapter shifted from one timeline to the other. It did very much feel like we were reading two different stories at the same time, and that added to the mystery as little clues about what was going on were revealed to us.

The plot was just, again, wow. I was kept guessing the entire time, and only fell deeper into the world of the Roanoke girls. The pace was great, even with the shifts in each chapter, and I loved the progression of it, and how everything was revealed to us.

The set of characters were also wonderful. They were layered and flawed and seemed very real to me, even though sometimes I struggled to relate or really like some of them. I was still invested in their stories, wanting to find out what happened and how they all come together. And when I did? Oh, boy.

The Roanoke Girls was a very interesting read. I’m still a bit shocked as I write this review, and will certainly think about everything that happened to Lane for the next few days. If you like mysteries and families with deep dark secrets, this is definitely the book for you.


Goodreads Review / Instagram

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