The Marsh King’s Daughter, by Karen Dionne, was a book I found browsing through my library’s new books section. I knew nothing about it, therefore had low expectations, and then absolutely loved it. I naturally gravitate toward psychological thrillers, especially over summer break, but over the last year have felt that many authors of this genre tend to copy storylines of other bestsellers. You’ll see on these covers, “If you liked [insert bestseller of last year], you’ll LOVE this book!” After awhile, I noticed that often these new books end up being poor imitations of the original books that deserved their popularity.
So I was pleasantly surprised to find that The Marsh King’s Daughter was unlike any thriller I had read this year and was quickly sucked in. Here’s my quick, hopefully non-spoiler(!) review of this book…
Helena was born, raised, and unknowingly held captive by her father in an abandoned cabin surrounded by a swampy marsh in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. She loved and idolized her father, disliked her mother (who had been kidnapped by the father as a young teenager), and grew up emulating his strength and ruggedness while overlooking his monstrous, brutal side.
Fast forward 15 years… Helena escaped from her father and has her own family. She’s changed her name to escape the sensational-loving press and yet lives on her father’s parent’s land. [Side note: Helena had no family ties to this land, other than the fact she inherited it – why not sell it and move across the country to start over??] Her father escapes from the prison she sentenced him to, and he’s out to find her. Helena has to stay one step ahead to figure out his next move and what his motive was for escaping.
I would recommend this book to someone who likes suspense, engrossing narrative fiction, originality, and an unexpected climax. I think it could also be a great book club pick.
Let me know what you think after reading it, and if you have other suggestions in this genre!