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Ratings and Reviews (3 20 star ratings
3 reviews

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4.2 out of 5
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  • 1 person found this review helpful

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    Deeply Dark Secrets

    Lane Roanoke has spent childhood desperate to find out more about her family. Frustrated by her mother’s depression and secrecy, she is still stunned when she discovers that her mother left this world and her behind by suicide. Even more stunning is when she discovers there has been a family waiting to meet her and bring her back to her mother’s childhood home. But Lane only stayed for one summer. One summer was far long enough and chaotic enough for her to understand why all of the Roanoke Girls are special. And why they all leave. Or die. Although Lane makes it out of Roanoke alive, she is called back years later when her cousin Allegra goes missing. Lane and Allegra were inseparable that summer that she spent at Roanoke. Despite the time and distance that separated them, Lane knew immediately that she had to go back and find her. Roanoke does not seem to have changed much in the time Lane has been gone. Nor do the people in it. Can she find her way back out alive once again? This novel was a dark and twisted novel about how things can be too good to be true. Also, it is about how those who seem perfect on the surface often have twisted secrets buried deep away from the light. My favorite character was Cooper because he worked hard to overcome what he came from. This is a daily struggle and he strives to make the right choices. Lane tests these choices yet he continues to try to do the right thing, and is understanding and forgiving with her. I also enjoyed that he was somewhat of an underdog figure in the beginning. A character that could be easily assumed would never change, yet develops and deepens the more contact the reader has with him. This book jumps from the past to present every other chapter. It is mostly told in Lane's perspective, however, there are a few brief chapters where the perspective is given to the other Roanoke Girls. I thought the alternating perspectives in this case added to the story as it mostly told about how those Roanoke Girls left or died. The main thing that is holding me back from giving this book a five star review is that there were some points throughout the novel where I felt it lagged in action. Furthermore, the setting was beautifully described but the heat of the summer discussed far too much that it seemed repetitive to me. I would recommend this book for those interested in a dark novel about how family secrets can stay with us forever, regardless of how far we try to stretch our ties. On the other hand, I would not recommend this book for readers who may be uncomfortable with the following: foul language, violence, explicitly sexual scenarios, adultery, incest, depression, suicide, abortion, miscarriage, substance abuse, manipulation, and physical abuse. Please note: a paperback copy of this book was generously provided for free in exchange for an honest review.
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    Disturbingly good!

    I thought that this book was fantastic! I actually have looked at this book several times since its release and didn't pick it up sooner because I wasn't sure that I would like it. I had nothing to worry about. This story is disturbing and made me very uncomfortable but I loved it. Once I started reading this book, there was no stopping and I ended up reading it in a day. As I said, this book tells a rather disturbing story. In some ways, it was like a train wreck that you know you shouldn't look at but you can't help yourself. This book deals with sexual abuse and could be difficult for some readers. I went through a wide range of emotions while reading this book. There were parts that made me mad, others that made me want to cry, some parts gave me hope, and some parts just made my skin crawl. Lane goes to live with her grandparents after her mother's suicide. She has never met her Gran and Granddad, not to mention her cousin, Allegra. Allegra and Lane bond right away and become quite the pair. They spend almost all of their time together either in town with Tommy and Cooper or on the farm. Years later, Lane is called back to the farm because her cousin is missing. Lane works to figure out exactly what happened and where Allegra is. This story is told through two timelines. One timeline follows Lane and Allegra as teenagers when Lane first comes to live at the farm. The other timeline is set in the present with Lane back at the farm to look for her lost cousin. These two timelines worked perfectly together. Information from the past that would be needed to fully explain the present seemed to be worked in at just the right moment. There were also a few passages from the other Roanoke girls which gave a lot of insight as to the history of the family. I would highly recommend this book to others. This is the kind of story that will stay with me for a long time. I really appreciated that the book ended on a hopeful note with all questions being answered. This is the time that I have had the chance to read Amy Engel's work and I am looking forward to reading more of her novels in the future. I received a review copy of this book from Random House via Blogging for Books.
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    Family Secrets

    Could not put this one down. It was disturbing and dark and I had to know what happened. Highly recommend and will be watching for more from this author.

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