Thursday, April 27, 2017

Review: Roanoke Girls

The Roanoke Girls By Amy Engel
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Release Date: March 7th, 2017
Format: Hardback, 279 pages
Summary Via GoodReads

My Rating: ★★

Goodreads ★ Amazon ★ B&N ★ TBD
Roanoke girls never last long around here. In the end, we either run or we die.

After her mother's suicide, fifteen year-old Lane Roanoke came to live with her grandparents and fireball cousin, Allegra, on their vast estate in rural Kansas. Lane knew little of her mother's mysterious family, but she quickly embraced life as one of the rich and beautiful Roanoke girls. But when she discovered the dark truth at the heart of the family, she ran fast and far away.

Eleven years later, Lane is adrift in Los Angeles when her grandfather calls to tell her Allegra has gone missing. Did she run too? Or something worse? Unable to resist his pleas, Lane returns to help search, and to ease her guilt at having left Allegra behind. Her homecoming may mean a second chance with the boyfriend whose heart she broke that long ago summer. But it also means facing the devastating secret that made her flee, one she may not be strong enough to run from again.

As it weaves between Lane's first Roanoke summer and her return, The Roanoke Girls shocks and tantalizes, twisting its way through revelation after mesmerizing revelation, exploring the secrets families keep and the fierce and terrible love that both binds them together and rips them apart.
Let me just preface this review by saying this book just wasn't for me! Also before I get into the rest of my review, if sexual abuse is a trigger warning for you or just something you are really uncomfortable reading about (like me) I would suggest staying clear of this. There wasn't really any indication that this would be a major plot point in any of the promotional material, which I think really did a disservice to readers.

So I really did want to like this book, and when I first started it I liked the southern gothic feel I got from the setting and I thought the writing style was really lovely. I will say that I did like the back and forth narrative of "then" and "now" so we got a feel for Lane's life as a teen on Roanoke farm and as a broken adult coming back to help find her missing cousin. I thought it was going to be a cool mystery thriller, and I was almost hoping maybe it would have a supernatural touch to it. But, nope, this was just about how the grandfather has had sexual relationships with all the women in this family---his sisters, daughters, and his granddaughters-- and it really pissed me off!

Sexual abuse was pretty much the whole point of this book, and it's revealed like 50 pages in so I wouldn't really say that this is a spoiler. You learn early on that Yates (Grandad) has had relations with the women in his family, and none of these women (or really girls) think it's wrong. Having it being used as a plot device, where it is mentioned so much, but none of the characters in the book actually talk about it really annoyed me. Reading about all the gross incest made me sick to my stomach. The only reason why I actually finished this book was that I wanted to find out what happened to Lane's cousin Allegra. 

So other than the gross incest being used as major plot device, the rest of the novel was pretty predictable. I wanted to find out what happened to Allegra, but I wasn't surprised when I found out what did, and the outcome of that. I won't give that away, but if you've gotten this far in the book you will probably see it coming.

I just generally did not enjoy this book, but that doesn't mean other people won't like it. If you want to read about dysfunctional families with a slight thriller aspect, this is a book for you. It just did not work for me. 

*I received this book from in exchange for my honest review.

Happy Reads Everyone!