When the notorious child abductor known as the Marsh King escapes from a maximum security prison, Helena immediately suspects that she and her two young daughters are in danger.
No one, not even her husband, knows the truth about Helena’s past: they don’t know that she was born into captivity, that she had no contact with the outside world before the age of twelve – or that her father raised her to be a killer.
And they don’t know that the Marsh King can survive and hunt in the wilderness better than anyone… except, perhaps his own daughter.
The Marsh King’s Daughter was huge before and around the time of its release. People were raving about the novel for a long time and they still are, so I was really excited to read it. While I did love it, I think all the hype made me expect something different to what I got, hence a 4 star rating, not a 5.
What I loved about this book was that it didn’t hold back on some more contraversial opinions and thoughts that came from Helena. For instance, that she still adored her father even after everything, and that she had trouble caring about her mother at times. I think it was nice Dionne didn’t write things that would please all readers. There were definitely some uncomfortable moments for me.
The writing in this book is stuff of dark fairytales. It’s so dark and disturbing but you can’t stop reading becasue the way in which it’s written is beautiful and flows perfectly. Dionne’s writing takes you away, whether it’s into the marsh or trekking through the forest, you are planted directly into the scene, you lose your real surroundings.
One thing that I found disappointing about this novel was that most of it is set in the past, not in the present. From the way the synopsis writes the story, I was expecting this to be a lot more about a life and death chase between daughter and father. And OK, while it is technically about a life and death chase, it’s far more about Helena’s life growing up in the marsh, all that she was taught and all that she learnt. While this is essential to the way the plot plays out, I think the book could have been marketed differently so I didn’t have such a clear idea on how I expected the story to go.
This novel is a gripping, sometimes shocking, sometimes emotional fast paced action thriller with a lot to offer any reader. If you’re not so much a thriller fan, this one could still be a terrifc read for you, as at times this novels feels more literary fiction than anything else.
Will I read Karen Dionne’s work again? Oh sure, most definitely. I just wish this book was the one I’d imagined in my head.