October Reads - The Roanoke Girls

With longer nights drawing in, I feel like my reading mojo has picked up a bit. It's that or I've spent too long in a bookstore this past month and I've fallen back into my old Waterstones ways! Last month I decided to go through my books and purge some of them. With Christmas around the corner, I like to do a big declutter and the books always seem to be the first to go. I'm not sentimental so I pass them onto friends, hospitals and charity shops. What it does mean is that I find hidden gems that I have bought and forgotten about. 

October was a month where I read some fantastic books. It made it a tough choice to find just one that I loved enough to call my book of the month. Having said that, once I finished this book on the last few days of October, I knew it was a favourite.

The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel is an adult coming of age book with a mystery twist. It's one that was on my radar for ages, that I picked up and bought but took a while to actually read. I'm so glad that I actually did end up reading it as it blew me away.

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.

The tale of the Roanoke Girls reminded me of a haunting tale mixed with notes of The Girls (Emma Cline) and The Virgin Suicides (Jeffrey Eugenides). In fact you could almost declare this book to be disturbing and uncomfortable to read. It's one that you can't give much away about without spoiling it. 

I loved the way that the story flipped between past and present, telling the twisted tale of the Roanoke girls and the current day where Lane is trying to find her cousin. The way that the tale unravelled left a sour taste in my mouth but I couldn't put the story down. Whilst I had worked out what the twists and secrets were quite early on, to see it played out and watch the repercussions of how it affected Lane just kept me turning the page. 

I have to say that this story might not be for some, with plenty of trigger warnings from abuse to suicide, it's not the easiest or nicest of reads. But it's a read that doesn't glamorise, doesn't sugar coat and is one I highly recommend.  

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