Monday, June 19, 2017

The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel | Book Review

"Sometimes it’s a revelation, even to me, how much more comfortable I am with cruelty than with kindness."

I received a copy of this book from Jonathan Ball Publishing in exchange for an honest review. 

Amy Engel's writing is delectable - the story is extremely unsettling and makes you uncomfortable as you read but the writing and haunting plot creates an unputdownable masterpiece. 
Her work is like a culinary creation - something you shouldn't enjoy such as a cricket taco or a tarantula burger from Manchester's new Brazilian inspired restaurant, Favela, featuring a creepy crawly buffet menu. 
This book is just that. 
It's dirty and twisted, it's creepy and dark... crawling in disturbing secrets and it's by far the most unique tale I have ever come across. 

A murder mystery to the core with an underlying hint of romance that softens the edges of this fascinating 'who-dunnit' novel. 

How a book with such a stunning cover can conceal such a horrific, harrowing story is beyond me. 

The Roanoke Girls is about Lane, a young girl whose mother commits suicide.
Now parentless, Lane moves to Kansas to live with her mysterious grandparents and cousin, Allegra. 
Lane barely knows anything about her family besides that her mother had once run away from them and had vowed to never return. 
The wealthy Roanoke family is renowned for their array of beautiful young women, Lane and Allegra being no exception. 
However, there are dark, shocking secrets hidden behind the walls of The Roanoke house which lead Lane to flee from Kansas just as her mother once had. 
Many years later, Lane, a drifter with little to show in life, is lured back to the Roanoke's after receiving a phone call from her grandfather. Her cousin, Allegra, is missing... and she needs to help.

I loved the set of characters in this book from the doting grandfather to the introverted grandmother. The sexy tease Allegra and the strong-willed, empty hearted lost-cause, Lane. The hideous house-keeper Sharon, who lacks any form of culinary skills and the eerie groundsman, Charlie. 

It is a compelling book rich with stories of small-town life as it weaves effortlessly between the past and present tense. 

Although there is an excruciatingly grotesque element to this book, it is not graphic which makes it easier to stomach. It is mild and I am grateful for the mercifully subtle delivery (you'll understand why once you discover the twist which is revealed very early on).

It's the kind of book you feel awkward explaining to others and even giving it a high rating makes you feel like there could be something wrong with you. But I was so invested in this story! The only downfall I found was the ending. It is so easy to become engrossed with this story but the ending fell flat for me. I figured out who the murderer was pretty soon but even so, it would have been more riveting if delivered differently. Everything just fell together and slotted into place too quickly like the ending was rushed. I also felt the descriptions of certain body parts (boobs and butts....) could have been handled better.

Along with a number of my friends, I tore through this book and came to the conclusion that it hooks and reels you in - we were just the poor helpless fish that took the bait - and it was great.

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  1. Lovely post dear! Have a great week! xx

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