‘I was born two years into my mother’s captivity. She was three weeks shy of seventeen. If I had known then what I do now, things would have been a lot different. I wouldn’t have adored my father.’
When 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.
What a year 2017 is turning out to be, there have been some truly outstanding thrillers published this year and I was convinced I had read the best in this genre and then along came The Marsh King’s Daughter by Karen Dionne. Oh my oh my what a book, this one is definitely going to be one of the top books of summer 2017 and it’s one that’s immediately gone on my top reads of 2017.
Helena had the best time and the most horrifying time growing up, daughter of a child abductor she spent the first twelve years of her life in captivity, raised to be a hunter everything her father teaches her has a disturbing purpose. Fast forward a few years and Helena is married with children living a fairly normal life, that is until her father the aptly named Marsh King escapes from prison and what follows is a heart pounding and throughly compelling read.
From the opening chapter the author grabbed my attention, this novel is beautifully written with breath taking descriptions of the marsh lands, a place that despite the wilderness felt claustrophobic. Poor Helena what a wonderful and complex character she is, The Marsh King is not purely a figure of evil, to Helene he’s a father, the man who taught her to fish and to hunt, but there is always an undertone of darkness and something very sinister about The Marsh King’s parental skills. The story alternates between the present as Helena hunts for her escaped father, and the past when they lived alone in the marshlands. The author moves deftly between the two time lines and I found myself equally fascinated by both.
Each chapter starts with a part of the The Marsh King’s Daughter fairytale by Hans Christian Anderson, as we all know some of the best fairy tales are also the scariest and as the story relates to Helena’s own life it adds to the overwhelming sense of foreboding that radiates from the pages of this novel.
Expertly plotted and wonderfully written this novel made for haunting and compelling read, it’s one of those books that just begs to be read in one satisfying sitting. This is one book I will be recommending to anyone and everybody.
I’m sure it will come as no surprise to hear I’m giving The Marsh King’s Daughter the very prestigious Gold Star Award Rating. It’s given to a book I feel is particularly outstanding, a book that covers every aspect of what I look for in a good read, fantastic plot, great characters and a storyline that draws me in from the first page and keeps me in its grips until I reach the very last page.
Print Length: 322 pages
Publisher: Sphere (13 Jun. 2017)