The Marsh King's Daughter by Karen Dionne

Helena had a very unique childhood. Her beginning was dark, born from the forced relationship between her mother and her mother's captor. She grew up in the small cabin in the marsh shared by her mother and father. Helena could never understand the disdain her mother showed her dad. To Helena, her father was everything. He showed her to hunt, track, and fend for herself in the harsh wilderness. He taught her all the skills that he employed in maintaining his own anonymity. It wasn't until she was twelve years old that she saw her father for who is really was.

It has been years since Helena first escaped the clutches of her dad. She's built a new life for herself in the home she once shared with her parents. Helena's husband and two daughters have no knowledge of her unusual past. How could she tell them that her father was the notorious Marsh King? But past and present suddenly collide when a state trooper comes knocking on her door. Her father, who has been locked away since she was twelve, has killed a couple of prison guards and escaped. There's no question in Helena's mind that he'll come for her. She is the only person left alive that he cares for. She may be the only person in the world who can stop him.

The Marsh King's Daughter has been on my radar since its publication. The book has garnered nearly universal acclaim, and I began reading it with high anticipation. Fortunately, the novel lives up to all of the hype. Karen Dionne builds her story in conjunction with a Hans Christian Anderson tale. Each chapter begins with a portion of the fairy tale before proceeding with the main narrative. I'm normally not a fan of the back and forth, but this one works really well. There are many flashbacks to Helena's childhood that read quite similar to the sections about Jack in Emma Donoghue's Room. Dionne takes her character a step further by exploring the effects of a traumatic childhood on her character as an adult. Both the past and present are completely engaging and Dionne keeps the suspense rolling until the very end. Equal parts triller and character study, The Marsh King's Daughter is one of the best books I've read this year.

For more information, visit the author's website, Amazon, and Goodreads.

(2017, 46)

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4 Responses to “The Marsh King's Daughter by Karen Dionne”

  1. Awesome! I have book club tonight and I know what I'm recommending!
    Rebecca @ The Portsmouth Review

    1. Fantastic! There are definitely several places a discussion on this one could go.

    2. Locked and loaded. I added it to my GR to-read list so I can describe it to my book club tonight. Hope it gets picked!

  2. Fantastic read!


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