“Roanoke girls never last long around here. In the end, we either run or we die.”
In Lisa Engel’s, THE ROANOKE GIRLS (CROWN), 15-year old, Lane Roanoke’s mother kills herself forcing Lane to move from New York City to rural Kansas and live with relatives she doesn’t know and her mother only talked about when she drank too much wine. Her parting note: “I tried to wait.”
Lane arrives in the small rural town, Osage Flats to find a house “equal parts horrifying and mesmerizing.” She’s immediately struck by the heat, smells of grass, wheat, dust, the wind, grasshoppers and songs of the cicadas. She’s ready and prepared since she’s had “a lifetime with a mother who gave her lots of practice with unpredictability.”
In addition to grandparents, Lillian and Yates, she has a cousin, Allegra, six months younger, who is energetic and equally unpredictable. Allegra welcomes Lane with open arms and shows her around, including the “Roanoke Girls” wall, which features photographs of aunts, cousins and even her mom, Camilla. But she also tells her, all of the women in the photos are gone: “Roanoke girls never last long around here. In the end they, we run or we die.”
It’s not long before Lane discovers an insidious secret on the farm and she runs away to Los Angeles. In La, she drinks and takes menial jobs to pay her bills. Eleven years later, granddad Yates calls saying she’s needed home, because Allegra is missing. Lane returns, mostly out of guilt because she left Allegra behind. She also may have a second chance with her boyfriend, Cooper, whom she just suddenly up and left behind. Of all the Roanoke girls who have left, she’s the first to return.
THE ROANOKE GIRLS is a gothic suspense novel that will creep you out. The pages ooze with murder, anger, guilt, shame, dark secrets, incest, and family bonds that are not easily broken. These are imperfect characters in imperfect relationships. That makes really good fiction. You want to read THE ROANOKE GIRLS.
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Amy Engel is a native of Kansas, though she lived in Iran and Taiwan as a child. She previously worked as a criminal defense attorney. THE ROANOKE GIRLS, a darkly psychological suspense story is her first novel for adults. She lives in Kansas City, Mo., with her husband and children.
Thanks to TLC Book Tours http://www.tlcbooktours.com and Crown Publishers, we have one copy of Lisa Engel’s novel, THE ROANOKE GIRLS to giveaway. Just tell us what you’re reading now. We’ll announce a winner Monday. Thanks and happy Wednesday.