I’m not sure why I decided to listen to the audiobook of this novel by Amy Engel. I was between audiobooks, looking for something new to try, and this popped up on OverDrive. Somehow it caught my eye and I decided to listen to it.
It’s so good!
I was hooked almost immediately. It’s narrated by Brittany Pressley and she does a phenomenal job.
The book is about Lane Roanoke and her seriously messed up family. It switches back and forth in time from Lane at fifteen and Lane at 26.
A few weeks before her sixteenth birthday Lane’s mother committed suicide and Lane (who never knew who her father was) is sent to live with her maternal grandparents and her cousin, Allegra, in Kansas. It’s a big change for a girl who’s grown up in New York City and has never met or talked to these people, but she’s excited to finally have a real family.
To say her relationship with her mother was rocky is an understatement. Lane never felt loved by her mother, so to move in with people who actually want her around is totally new for her.
Allegra is just as happy to have someone her age around. She has already decided she and Lane will be best friends, even after she immediately ascertains Lane is prettier than she is. Lane thinks they look remarkably alike, but Allegra insists Lane has “the Roanoke eyes.”
Allegra promptly takes Lane inside to show her around the big house, including the wall of pictures of the Roanoke girls. She names each girl and what happened to her – all are either dead or missing.
Fast forward roughly ten years and Allegra has gone missing. Lane has been living in L.A. for the past ten years without any visits home or communication with her grandparents. She’s had limited communication with Allegra, but she never bothered to respond to Allegra’s latest attempts to contact her. It’s not until she gets a phone call from her grandfather (without any idea how he got her number) that Lane grudgingly agrees to return to Kansas.
Lane is sure she’ll only be there a few days, but as those days pass without any sign of Allegra, Lane gets slowly dragged back into life in Kansas with her grandparents and the few friends she made that one summer with Allegra.
Like I said, the book switches back and forth in time from teenaged Lane’s summer on the ranch to mid-twenties Lane’s summer on the ranch. As a result, the reader knows fairly early on the family’s deep dark secret that teenaged Lane has yet to learn and we get to watch her figure it out. It’s phenomenal.
The mystery of what happened to Allegra is a minor plot compared to the story of just how seriously messed up this whole family is, how Lane figures it out, and how it has impacted her entire life – including her relationship with her mother.
I had to zip through this book pretty quick because, shortly after I started listening, another audiobook I had requested became available and I wanted to make sure I finished them both before they were due back. That was no problem because all I wanted to do was listen to this audiobook to find out what happened next.
What did you guys read/listen to this week? Anything else you selected on impulse that turned out to be awesome?