My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This one had been in my queue for awhile, as I got busy with other deadlines. But I was so happy to get to read it, and I am ecstatic to say that this book was well worth the wait. Creepy, suspenseful and full of drama – this book has it all and kept me turning pages late into the night.
First: one of the themes of this book is sexual abuse, and those who wish to avoid that topic should probably skip this book.
The book follows two timelines: Lane Roanoke moves to the family home in Kansas after the suicide of her mother. Living there are her grandparents and her cousin (also 16 years old at the time) live there. All Lane knows about her relatives is that her mother was estranged from them and that her and Allegra are the last of “the Roanoke Girls,” a line of young women who either die young or run away. After one fateful summer, Lane runs. Eleven years later, she learns Allegra is missing and she decides to return to Roanoke to find Allegra and face her family’s demons once and for all.
This book packs quite an emotional punch, really grabbing you from the first page and never letting go. There is a pervading sense of something being “off” as soon as Lane gets to the house, and while it doesn’t remain a secret for long, you can’t look away because you want to know how it all ends. There are so many things that you need to know.
The book also touches on a lot of issues that are really important (fidelity, love, abuse, etc.) and it really gives a great weight to the story. You don’t feel like you’re reading a gratuitous, dramatic novel, but something much more important, if that makes sense. It gets you thinking about different issues and things people face.
I really liked this book and can’t recommend it enough. It’s hard to describe why, but I guess the book just pulls you in and makes you care about the people in it.
I can’t wait for more from Amy Engel.