‘The Roanoke Girls,’ by Amy Engel; a truly gripping, disturbing, page-turning, uncomfortable read that had me hooked.
We are introduced to Lane under desperately sad circumstances; her mother has killed herself and Lane has gone to live with her grandparents, the charismatic Yates and his wife, Lillian, cool and distant. There she meets her cousin Allegra, beautiful, vivacious, but deeply disturbed who introduces her to the long line of Roanoke girls in pictures on the walls, all now dead under tragic circumstances. Lane spends one long, hot summer and she and Allegra grow close, before Lane runs, escapes from the house and doesn’t return – for fifteen years. The disappearance of Allegra from the family home draws her reluctantly back, and as the search for her cousin continues, the full horror of the family secret is revealed to Lane in all its disturbing truths – a family secret she ran from all those years before, and must run from again…somehow!
Told in a ‘Then’ and ‘Now’ format in flashbacks from Lane’s point of view, it did take me a little while to work out who everyone was that made up the full story. The final revelation was hinted at many times through the story, but the shocking truth finally spelled out, made me silently gasp in disbelief.
A great read!