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279 pages, Hardcover
First published March 7, 2017
Roanoke girls never last long around here. In the end, we either run or we die.
Sometimes it’s a revelation, even to me, how much more comfortable I am with cruelty than with kindness.
Her smile is so painfully polite it might as well be outlined in frosting.
I could never say aloud … How sometimes when I whispered those awful words to my mother the veins in her neck stood out so far from her skin that I thought they might explode. How her fingernails would leave red welts down the the side of her face. On the nights my words cut deepest, sliced quick and deadly as scalpels, her eyes practically bulged from her face, and I was filled with a rotten, hellish joy because at least she was finally looking at me. At least she finally, finally saw me. “Stop it,” she screamed sometimes, staring at me from between the bars of her fingers. “Stop it, you evil little bitch! Stop it! Stop it!” To me, it might as well have been a love song.
“Roanoke girls never last long around here. In the end, we either run or we die.”
Roanoke always felt slightly alive, especially when I was there alone, as if it could lead me astray down unused corridors, whisk me away into the unknown, never to be seen again.
Guilt, I’m discovering, is an emotion that’s almost impossible to kill. It’s like a poisonous weed that keeps on growing, burrowing into every vulnerable spot. Always reminding you of all the ways you’ve failed.
You can't outrun what's inside of you. You can only acknowledge it, work around it, try and turn it into something better.
All of THE ROANOKE GIRLS are dark haired and exceptionally beautiful. Generation after generation, nothing but mesmerizing knockout beauty, but they have a big problem. They all hail from a "sick" dysfunctional family and end up having short troubled lives.
The story begins when sixteen year old Lane is sent off to live with her rich grandparents and vivacious cousin after her disturbed ROANOKE mother commits suicide. (no spoiler here) So from New York City to a desolate farm in Osage Flats, Kansas Lane goes to discover a shocking past (and present) existence within the residence.
Although the big secret is obvious early on, and the subject matter distasteful, the author does a great job of handling the ugliness in a subtle way making this reader want to keep turning the pages to find out why no one sounded the alarm, what really happened to cousin Allegra, and how Lane's relationship with the hunky Cooper turned out.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Crown Publishing for the ARC in exchange for an unbiased review.
Look at this tangle of thorns ~ Vladimir NabokovOsage Flats, Kansas. Roanoke farm. A family of extraordinary beautiful women - descendants of Lily and Yates Roanoke; a mix-n-match architectural mansions; old hired hands; an old barn; corn fields; oil reserves.
“Sophia drowned in the North Fork during the spring floods. She was twenty-something. Penelope fell down the main stairs and broke her neck. Tripped on her nightgown in the middle of the night. She was like our age, maybe a little younger. Totally tragic. Emmeline was crib death. Sharon said Gran didn’t get out of bed for six months after. They all thought she was going to waste away. Die of grief.”The first time Lane saw Roanoke was in a dream, while living in New York. It stood stately and tall, tucked among a forest of spring-green trees. Its red-brick facade was broken up by black shutters, white trim, delicate wrought-iron balconies. A little girls fantasy of a princess castle.