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.
As it weaves between Lane's first Roanoke summer and 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.
“Roanoke girls never last long around here. In the end, we either run or we die.” Amy Engel, The Roanoke Girls
The Roanoke Girls is an entertaining and fast read (read most of it on a plane ride). Engel is the author of the young adult series The Book of Ivy, and this is her debut adult novel. The plot is interesting and disturbing, but was somewhat predictable for me. Perhaps because I read too much V.C. Andrews back in the day? I also did not particularly care for the majority of the characters — except for one (Cooper Sullivan). The novel definitely has some V.C. Andrews vibes. The novel is about the Roanoke family – specifically the girls. When Lane Roanoke is 15-years-old, her mother commits suicide. She goes to live with her mother’s parents, whom she is meeting for the first time. Lane also meets and befriends her wild, and slightly younger cousin, Allegra. While there, Lane discovers the dark truth at the heart of the family, and decides to run away (home girl is o-u-t!). Eleven years later, her grandfather calls to tell her Allegra has gone missing. Lane reluctantly returns to help find her cousin as well as deal with some unfinished business (aka ex issues). Although the book did not wow me, read it and come up with your own conclusion. In summary, I do like Engel’s writing style and look forward to reading more of her work.