Published by Hodder & Stoughton on 7 March 2017
THE ROANOKE GIRLS
The Roanoke girls seem to have it all. But there's a dark truth about them which is never spoken. Every girl either runs away, or dies.
Lane is one of the lucky ones. When she was fifteen, over one long, hot summer at her grandparents' estate in rural Kansas, she found out what it really means to be a Roanoke girl. Lane ran, far and fast. Until eleven years later, when her cousin Allegra goes missing - and Lane has no choice but to go back.
She is a Roanoke girl.
Is she strong enough to escape a second time?
This beautiful flowery book cover hides a dark family secret, one that has been covered up for many years and for many reasons.
At the beginning of the book there is a family tree of all the girls in the Roanoke family which I kept referring to throughout the story - I do love maps and family trees in books!
The story is mainly narrated by Lane whose mother committed suicide and left her all alone in New York ..... or so she thought .... until she discovered she had grandparents and a cousin, Allegra, in Kansas who were more than happy to look after her - why had her mother never talked about them?
The story travels back and forth in time between Lane first arriving on the farm and then in the present when we learn that she left the farm ten years ago and has now been asked to go back as her cousin Allegra has disappeared.
Also interspersed with Lane's story are the voices of the other Roanoke girls who either died or disappeared. Very eerie and which added so much to the back story.
I liked Lane, she was a complex character who was more comfortable with cruelty than with kindness due to her loveless upbringing by her single mother, and I warmed to her slowly over the story. She wanted to do right by Allegra.
Even though the secret was revealed quite early on there was so much going on in this story that made me keep turning the pages eagerly wanting to know what had happened to Allegra.
It is a story of obsession, love, healing and hope. Recommended reading.