The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel
Publisher: Hachette Australia
Goodreads Summary: 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.
As it weaves between the summer of Lane’s first arrival and the summer of her return, The Roanoke Girls shocks and tantalizes, twisting its way through revelation after mesmerizing revelation, exploring the secrets families keep and the fierce and terrible love that both binds them together and rips them apart.
Rating: 4 Stars
Review: Lane Roanoke is a member of the Roanoke family; a rich, have-it-all group. There's just one flaw - all of the Roanoke girls have run, disappeared, or died. When Lane discovers the family secret she chooses to run, but then her cousin Allegra goes missing and loyalty forces her to return and solve the mystery, once again entrapped in the web of lies and resurfacing many memories. Soon Lane must make a life altering choice...
Cooper Sullivan is every bit the dark, mysterious guy that frequents books. As always, I love this archetype and therefore love Cooper. He's a little different though and his relationship with Lane is something I admire, when countless fights and ploys are finally beneath them, after all that time they can still forgive and love.
Dearest grandfather, what have you done? I must say, Lane's grandfather is truly a piece of work. It took me a few chapters to figure out the secret, but when I did, I really was appalled, still am. I wasn't really convinced though, that the whole situation could work out with illnesses or defects? This is simply my core feeling, if forgotten about I enjoyed the read. Osage Flats and Roanoke are closely related, and I really grew to love these twisted characters who can easily be hated if you forget that they too are human and not much more than confused children brought up in a damaging environment.
Throughout the book I debated whether I like Allegra or Lane more, and which I am most similar to. Introduction: I found myself leaning towards Allegra, but once the conclusion was reached, I definitely pick Lane. At least, I really hope to be like her. Tommy definitely wins most interesting character, a "heart of gold" with unclear intentions. This book is explicit and I wouldn't recommend it for sensitive readers.
Purchase Location: ~ I received a copy from Hachette NZ and willingly reviewed it ~
Buy the book: Book Depository
Recommended for: Fans of dark tales.