The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel has arrived!!
Was this book written just for Ms. Pickett? It’s so in my wheelhouse! It’s ringing all of my bells! I’m here for The Roanoke Girls! Here’s why: that intriguing cover, a spookily labyrinthine farmhouse, seemingly idyllic small-town life churning with betrayals, a young woman’s struggle to break free of her own history, and the (really) dark secrets of the Roanoke family ….
After her mother’s suicide, 15-year old Lane Roanoke is sent to New Osage, Kansas, to live with her grandparents and cousin Allegra. Ten years later, Allegra has vanished and Lane returns to the Roanoke estate at her grandfather’s request. Chapters alternate between Lane’s indelible summer in Osage Flats (“Then”), and the fraught days following Allegra’s disappearance (“Now”). It all feels like standard girl-gone-missing fare until Amy Engel tosses a literary flash bang at the reader on page 32. Allegra’s own words are prophetic: “Roanoke girls never last long around here. In the end, we either run or we die.” It’s finding out why the Roanoke girls don’t last long that will keep you turning pages at a frantic pace even as the chills run down your spine.
This modern twist on a rural Gothic noir calls to mind some of my recent favorites: S•Town Podcast, Where All Light Tends to Go by David Joy, The Weight of Blood by Laura McHugh, All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda, My Sunshine Away by M.O. Walsh, and (from my TBR list) Let Me Die In His Footsteps by Lori Roy.
The Roanoke Girls is available now in the Ridley High School Library. Thank you to Blogging for Books for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review!