#BookReview: The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel @EmilyKitchin @HodderBooks


About the Book:

Roanoke girls never last long around here. In the end, we either run or we die.

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.

My Thoughts:

I have to admit that I didn’t really know what this book was about when I received a surprise copy in the post. I’d seen photos of the book cover, which is gorgeous, on social media but I hadn’t really taken in what it was about. I’m actually quite glad that I didn’t know what it was about as the secret running through this story is a topic that may have led me to thinking this book wasn’t for me and that would have meant I’d have missed out on this brilliant novel.

The Roanoke Girls is a really intense, dark and claustrophobic read. The dry heat that stifles Lane when she moves to Kansas emanates from this book so that even though I was reading it on a cold winter day I could feel the heat on me. I felt like I was trapped in this small town with Lane, that I was almost in her head and could almost see what had happened to Allegra but couldn’t quite shake it free from the recesses of my mind. 

This isn’t a fast-paced thriller; it’s more of a slow-burn noir that builds and builds until you feel like you can’t breathe (in a good way!). I was suspicious of everyone; there are lots of secrets in this book that are waiting to be discovered.

The cover of this novel is so perfect. It seems like a fairly innocuous, albeit very pretty and retro wallpaper that seemingly belies what the novel is actually about BUT that tear across the cover is so brilliant – the sneak peak of what lies beneath is just utter genius. The idea that something perfect and pretty can be damaged and ripped apart really does encapsulate what this novel is about.

The Roanoke girls seem to have a power over everyone they meet, they just captivate people, and they will get to you just the same. This book (and these girls) will weave a spell over you, it will pull you in and it won’t let you go until long after you’ve finished reading.

This book is disturbing and dark and twisted yet utterly brilliant! I highly recommend The Roanoke Girls and I already can’t wait to read whatever Amy Engel writes next.

I received a copy of this book from Hodder and Stoughton in exchange for an honest review.

About the Author


Amy Engel is the author of the young adult series The Book of Ivy. A former criminal defense attorney, she lives in Missouri with her family. The Roanoke Girls is her first novel for adults.


30 thoughts on “#BookReview: The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel @EmilyKitchin @HodderBooks

  1. Great review. I have been seeing this book around and I totally agree, the cover is really pretty. I like how you have described the cover in relation to the story. Definitely one for my TBR.

  2. I’ve been hearing about this book lately, and it certainly sounds brilliantly suspenseful. And I like it when the setting really comes through in a story. And the family history aspect is interesting, too. I may have to look for this one…

  3. Your cover is so much prettier than the US edition’s. I agree that The Roanoke Girls was a fun, dark read that many readers will love. I’d have liked to have the central premise explained a little more, but otherwise, excellent!

    • I didn’t write much about the central premise because it would give the whole mystery of the novel away as it centres on one issue. I struggled to think of a way of writing about it without saying what it is, so I decided to write more about how I felt as I was reading. I really try not to give spoilers but it does make writing a review difficult at times. Thanks for your comment, I do appreciate it.

  4. I just won a copy from Book Riot. On Monday or Tuesday I got an email notifying me I’d won, and the next day it showed up at my house. I can’t wait to read it!

  5. That cover is beautiful but weirdly, the story doesn’t appeal to me at all and the more I read reviews, the less I want to get the book! I can’t explain why, especially since I like disturbing and dark reads, but sometimes you just don’t feel it! Fab review 🙂

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