When Lane Roanoke was 15 her mother killed herself, and she was taken to Kansas to live with her grandparents at their large country home. There she also met her cousin Allegra who told her that all Roanoke girls either run away or die. The home is beautiful, her grandfather is handsome and kind and makes her feel wanted, and she finally feels cherished for the first time. Maybe being a Roanoke Girl isn’t so bad?
Years later, Lane returns when she gets a call to tell her that Allegra has disappeared. She heads back to her grandparents house, and starts to unravel the truth of the mysterious Roanoke Girls and her one Summer there.
It’s a dark and twisted tale, where some secrets are revealed early on, and others unfold slowly. I fell into it and was immediately drawn in, not just by the mystery but also by the beautiful writing style of Amy Engel. I was really moved by Lane’s story, from her isolation as a child with a disturbed mother to the chilling ending of this story. The writing was so evocative that I really felt myself sinking into the landscape and smelling the dust on the roads.
There is a dark heart to this story, and I love the way that Engel takes you into it. She really has grasped the way that abused children are vulnerable and the way that girls can be groomed and shaped by the adults around them, as well as the reasons that other adults don’t intervene. It’s a novel rooted in understanding and emotional intelligence, and perhaps that’s what for me makes it so remarkable and moving. I highly recommend it.
Read It If: you ever wished you were someone else as a teenager, this will make you glad you didn’t get what you wished for.