This book contains graphic material, such as suicide, incest, and statutory rape.
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…fast and far away.
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 may mean a second chance with the boyfriend whose heart she broke that long ago summer. But it also means facing the devastating secret that made her flee, one she may not be strong enough to run from again.
The Roanoke Girls was a bit of an emotionally heavy book, for me. I have to admit it took me several days to get through it – not because it wasn’t interesting, but instead, because of the content matter. The book deals with some of the most heinous of crimes: crimes against children.
The book was wonderfully written and the story arch was extremely well thought out. I found the characters to be masterfully developed. I really enjoyed the real/rawness of the characters; my favorites being Lane and Allegra, who were both quite typical witty teens. The struggles and triumphs of all characters were deeply felt throughout the novel. The story alternates between the past family history and the current happenings, all from Lane’s perspective.
The Roanoke Girls is not a book for the faint of heart. I would recommend this novel for fans of V.C. Andrews, and have even commented to friends that I found this book to be an “Andrews’s book on steroids”. (BTW – I say this with love as a V.C. Andrews fan, myself.) If you can handle this very mature content matter, then I would highly recommend this book. It was a fantastic read!
About the Author:
Amy was born in Kansas and spent the first few years of her life living in a small commune among the wheat fields. When she was three, Amy and her parents moved to Iran. Although she was very young when she lived there, Amy has incredibly fond memories of Iran, both the people and the country. A few years later, her parents divorced and Amy and her mom moved to Kansas City, Missouri, where Amy attended the local elementary school and often gave the teacher hand written notes correcting her spelling (this did not endear Amy to the teacher).
When Amy was in sixth grade, she moved to Taiwan with her mom and step-dad. Although in hindsight it was a wonderful experience, at the time she wasn’t too thrilled to be leaving her friends and school behind. As a result, her parents endured much pre-teen pouting. After a year, Amy and her family returned to Kansas City, and, at the same time, Amy’s dad relocated to California. Throughout junior high and high school Amy spent the school year in the land-locked Midwest and holidays and summers on the beach. She never managed to surf, but can swim her way out of mean riptide.
After high school, Amy attended the University of Kansas (Rock Chalk, Jayhawk!) where she spent four blissful years alternating between reading (B.A. in English) and staying out way too late with friends. Immediately upon graduation, she moved to Washington, DC to begin law school at Georgetown University.
Amy returned to Kansas City with her law degree and worked as a criminal defense attorney for ten years—a job that is both less exciting and more heartbreaking than television makes it appear. She married a fellow attorney and once they began having children, decided to stay home and split her time between mothering and writing, with the goal to be a published author within ten years.
She pursued this goal by doing absolutely nothing for the first couple of years. In her defense, after a day of chasing two small children around she had zero energy left for anything else (save the occasional glass of well-deserved wine). Eventually, though, she buckled down and wrote a novel. Unfortunately, while it wasn’t terrible, it wasn’t all that great, either. She trunked that book and then spent a year ruminating on new ideas. In other words, procrastinating. But one day she was hit with a flash of inspiration and wrote her debut young adult novel, THE BOOK OF IVY. It was published in 2014 and the sequel, THE REVOLUTION OF IVY, followed in 2015. In between writing those two books, she began work on THE ROANOKE GIRLS, her first adult novel. The book’s subject matter was dark and the characters were twisted and damaged, but it was the most fun Amy ever had writing. She realized she enjoyed exploring the shadowy side of the human experience, and she’s putting that discovery to good use as she works on her next novel.
I was super excited to find Amy Engel is an alum of my Alma mater! (Rock Chalk!) I look forward to reading more from her in the future.
Until next time!
P.S. Here goes the little disclaimer…
Thanks goes to Crown Publishing and BloggingforBooks.com for allowing me the opportunity to review this book prior to publication. All opinions expressed in this review are solely mine and I did not receive any payment.