Book Reviews

Review: The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel

When someone told me this story reminded them of Flowers in the Attic, I should have taken that more seriously. The things that happen in this book range from confusing to uncomfortable. That being said, it is not in an entirely bad way, no, it is way more complicated.

Her death showed a kind of dedication, a purpose, I’d never seen from her in life.

It is so hard to give a summary of this book without ruining the big reveal, but I will try anyway. The Roanoke Girls tells the story of a deeply complicated family of women who struggle against the pull and dark secrets of home. Even though the protagonist, Lane, has gotten away, not unscathed, but must return again when her cousin disappears and the secrets of Roanoke must come to light.

My head knows this place is no good for me, but my stupid traitorous heart sings home.

This book is described as a mystery and thriller and it would be for me, if I did not see so many of the twists coming. There are layers of intrigue and questions, but I could tell early on the secrets of the Roanoke Girls. All sorts of questionable events occur that blur the lines between love and pain and deeply question the boundaries of love.

Sometimes you have to hurt people just to prove that you’re alive.

I do want to mention that the book was well framed, switching between not only different Roanoke Girls, but also past and present. This layout allowed the reader to become immersed in the setting and the plot. Additionally, it gave us the chance to try to see through their eyes, to take their perspective and give each girl a possibility of speaking. However, I cannot say I truly understand. That alone does not make me dislike the book. For me it comes from the predictability of the plot.

Beside me, the Roanoke girls wait and watch.

I enjoyed the novel, but it was not outstanding to me, more middle of the road. I cannot say I would read it again, but I would definitely recommend it to anyone who enjoyed Flowers in the Attic and likes to read about deeply complicated characters and a family built on a fragile foundation of secrets and betrayal. If this sounds like a book you would like to read, you can purchase a copy, check out the goodreads reviews, or visit the author’s site.

Book cover from goodreads.

Disclaimer: I received this book in exchange for an honest review from Netgalley.


Let’s Discuss: What is the best psychological novel you have read? It doesn’t have to me marketed as such, it can just have a really good or complicated character/villain.

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If you liked this review, you may like the complicated relationships in Pachinko.

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4 thoughts on “Review: The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel

  1. Okay, Flowers in the Attic has always been a favorite book of mine, one that I read over and over when I was younger. This book doesn’t sound completely like my type of book, but between your review and another I read recently, I may have to give it a try. Great review!

    1. Yeah I read it so long ago, and I definitely got that vibe, except it was not nearly as explored in the Roanoke Girls, I felt.

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