The Marsh King's Daughter

Written by Karen Dionne

Review written by Maureen Ellis

Maureen Ellis is a keen reader in the crime genre. She regularly posts on Goodreads.com


The Marsh King's Daughter
Sphere
RRP: £12.99
Released: June 29 2017
HBK

Helena was born in captivity, her mother having been abducted at the age of 14. To Helena, life in the marshlands is normal. She has no contact with the outside world, no electricity, no running water, no modern conveniences. She has grown to love her life of hunting and fishing; indeed she loves her Father and everything he teaches her about nature. Helena has no idea what her Father has done.

Helena’s only knowledge that there is a life outside of the marshes comes from some old National Geographic Magazines that she consumes with a passion. Her love for her Father is solid; but her mother on the other hand is something of an invisible creature, for she hardly ever smiles, never feels part of what Helena experiences with her father - so as the years pass, her mother becomes someone to be dismissed as inconsequential.

Helena knows her Father can be cruel and violent (particularly when he needs to teach her a lesson), but she doesn't know any other way of life so she accepts his punishments without question.

The narrative centered in the present day ratchets up the tension, for Helena is now married to Stephen and they have two young daughters Iris and Mari. She helps the family budget by making and selling jam to locals, and their life is good - until the day she hears the emergency broadcast announcing the escape of an armed and dangerous prisoner, the notorious child abductor ‘The Marsh King’, who is Helena’s Father.

Consumed with fear, Helena believes her Father will come looking for her as it was her fault that he was captured and incarcerated. She is now faced with confronting her past; a past she has kept hidden from her husband.

Despite the dark and disturbing theme, The Marsh King’s Daughter is a beautifully written book that swings effortlessly back and fro between the past and the present, slowly revealing the events leading up to Helena's escape from the marshlands.

I should indicate that the narrative includes visceral scenes of the hunting, killing of animals (as well as the cleaning of carcasses), though not gratuitous for the wildlife were killed for food, for survival and not for pleasure.

Karen Dionne’s remarkable thriller gives a fascinating insight into the relationship between captor and captive, as well as between hunter and the hunted. It is also a deeply engaging and thought provoking psychological thriller. The tension at times becomes unbearable due to the quality of the writing, making you turn the pages as if hypnotized by the narrative.

If you're brave enough to venture hand-in-hand with the author into the marshes, you'll certainly be well-rewarded, for The Marsh King’s Daughter is exceptional and hugely recommended.

 



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