Monday 13 March 2017

The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel @aengelwrites @EmilyKitchin @HodderBooks

The Roanoke girls seem to have it all. But there's a dark truth about them which is never spoken. Every girl either runs away, or dies.
Lane is one of the lucky ones. When she was fifteen, over one long, hot summer at her grandparents' estate in rural Kansas, she found out what it really means to be a Roanoke girl. Lane ran, far and fast. Until eleven years later, when her cousin Allegra goes missing - and Lane has no choice but to go back.
She is a Roanoke girl.
Is she strong enough to escape a second time?

The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel was published by Hodder & Stoughton on 9 March 2017 and is the author's first novel for adults.

The beautiful tantalising cover of The Roanoke Girls is not only attractive, it is also incredibly clever. At first glance, the reader is treated to the image of pastel pink roses; the sort of wallpaper design that is seen in the bedrooms of the young, beautiful girls of this story. Look closely though, and you'll notice that the wallpaper is damaged, and underneath the rip is a plain brown wall.

The Roanoke Girls of the story are also beautiful. They are rich and spoilt, with hired help in the large house that dominates their small Kansas town. However, they are damaged too. Hidden beneath the creamy skin and the flowing blonde lock are wounds that will never heal.

This is a dark story, with disturbing and potentially controversial themes that some readers will find difficult to digest. However, it is written with such clarity, such sense of place and filled with characters who are forceful, sometimes hateful, but always intriguing, I was totally consumed by the story, it has haunted me.

The author reveals the shocking truth about the Roanoke family with a subtlety that is so slight that the reader almost misses it, and then, when the awful truth sinks in, it's like being smashed around the head with a brick. The central character, the person who shapes the rest of the characters, who directs their future is a brilliant creation; should be a monster; is a monster, yet is loved, and admired. The girls themselves are also impressive; victims who don't really realise it, until they think it is too late.

Amy Engel shows a perception within her writing that is very accomplished. Stylish and very atmospheric, the contrast between corruption and glamour, between love and abuse is intensely compelling.  I loved this book.

My thanks to the publisher who send my copy for review.

Amy Engel was a defence attorney for ten years before she left to concentrate on her writing.
Her mother grew up in rural Kansas, leaving Amy fascinated by the rhythms and ritual for small-town life, and giving her the urge to incorporate them into a darker story.

Find out more at
Find her Author page on Facebook
Follow her on Twitter @aengelswrites


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