The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel

MY RATING : ★★ (4/5)

“Roanoke girls never last long around here. In the end, we either run or we die.”
― Amy Engel, The Roanoke Girls

After reading this book, Roanoke will be a name you won’t be able to forget. For me it’s Flowers in the Attic meet Riverdale (the TV SHOW). Suspense, thriller and devious scheming is what you’ll find in this book.The book introduced us to Lane, whose mother just committed a suicide leaving her orphan in New York City. Until one day, a social worker informed her that her two only relatives from Kansas wants to take her in. There,  begins the journey of Laney-girl into the house of dark secrets and the most twisted relationships.

Amy Engel’s prose is as enchanting as her characters. The peculiar thing about this book is when you tell the story out loud to a friend, or reflect on it, it doesn’t have any extraordinary aspects but somehow she managed to get me hooked through every page. The writing is simple yet delicate. You can feel the charisma from the characters through the descriptions and their behaviours. You become attracted yourself to the characters without knowing why.


Lane and her cousin Allegra has one of the most toxic yet relatable relationship I’ve ever seen. I can relate to the relationship I have with my sister. It’s like this unconditional family love that you seem to never escape. Even if they are cruel to each other, jealousy crawling out of every part, they seem to always find each other and need each other’s presence.  An eternal curse in the family.

But the real disturbing thing about the novel is the manipulative grandfather. He doesn’t talk much but when he does it’s like the world stops spinning and no one else existed only him. The author succeeded in portraying the manipulation aspect without having to describe and use as much words. It’s in the little gesture and manners.

I love the cult aspect of the Roanoke Girls. Where Allegra and Lane are the last of them but the Roanoke family have made such a big impact in their town that everybody knows about them. No one knows what makes them so different yet so beautifully attractive. We have a mystic side to a family name and I think the author incorporate it perfectly.

The only downside of the novel, is the ending. I don’t want to spoil anything here so I’ll just say I find it unfair how she portrays the strong aspect the two protagonists to have an ending that illustrate the total opposite of it : they seem weak, victimized. But the reality is, life is unfair and I guess that’s what the author wanted to show us.

If you want to give it a try you can purchase it here: Chapters-Indigo

Did you read this book ? 🙂 Would you want to ?

Thank you to Penguin Random House for giving me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review !



24 thoughts on “The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel

  1. LairOfBooks says:

    Flowers in the Attic meets Riverdale = you NAILED it! 👌🏼 haha! This was a good read for me but I do agree with you on the ending, I mean I get it but at the same time like you mentioned, it did seem a little to neat for all that occurred. Great review 😃

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Donna says:

    Brilliant review! So far, all the ones I’ve read have kept me on the fence about reading the book, but you convinced me! It sounds as if the book looks simple but has that “magical key element” to make it such an engrossing read.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. LizScanlon says:

    Fabulous review..I’ve been on the fence about the book, like Donna, I kind of want to read it, but then I’m not entirely sure… Time will tell… if I’m meant to read it, I’;m sure it#ll find its way to my hands! XD

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Books, Vertigo and Tea says:

    Wonderful review Trang! I absolutely agree with it from all angles. I laugh because I also found myself making a VC Andrews comparison (gotta love those dysfunctional families). Have to say that the ending was a bit off for me as well, but agree that I feel the author was establishing something here. Fantastic!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. StaticScreens says:

    Really great review, wonderfully indepth without sacrificing spoilers. I’ve been looking forward to this book for a while and I think you just sealed my next amazon order

    Liked by 1 person

  6. theorangutanlibrarian says:

    Gotta admit my mind does a little squeal of terror at any mention of Flowers in the Attic (I never actually read it, but had a friend who did me the favour of giving me a rundown of the plot so I never have to!!) But I love the sound of the writing and it sounds like a powerful book (even if the ending was a letdown). Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

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