FICTION//The Roanoke Girls- Amy Engel


Sometimes a novel gets under your skin and you can’t quite decide whether it’s a good thing or a bad thing; The Roanoke Girls is one of those books. It’s a novel that makes you feel you’re rubbernecking a bit- you’re unsettled by what you’re reading, but you can’t look away. I read this in a day. I can’t remember the last time I did that.

The novel tells the story of the Roanoke family: beautiful and wealthy, but prone to losing their girls. To paraphrase Oscar Wilde, to lose one girl is a misfortune- but to lose all of your girls is careless. There’s a deep secret hidden in this family, which is blown apart when Lane goes back to her grandparents’ house after the disappearance of her cousin. She finds herself confronting her past and the claustrophobia of small town life, revisiting not only family bonds but discovering a shady uncurrent everywhere she looks.

This is one of those reviews where I don’t want to give too much away, although I will say that you will probably pick up on the cause of the uneasiness early on. I also slowly came to my own conclusion as to what had happened, but found it was unfolded carefully and skilfully (often thrillers smack you in the face and leave you with the denoument equivalent of a black eye. This novel is more subtle.)

It’s definitely an interesting read and will appeal to fans of Gone Girl and those who want a quick, but unsettling read.

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