The Marsh King’s Daughter by Karen Dionne (2017)

Review by CJ

Page count:



When the child abductor, rapist and murderer known as the Marsh King escapes from his maximum security prison, it throws Helena’s world upside down.

Helena’s husband and daughters don’t know that Helena is the Marsh King’s daughter; that Helena was born two years into her mother’s 14 year captivity; or that Helena is the only person who can out hunt, out track and outsmart the Marsh King. But the Marsh King knows … and he’s coming home.

The Marsh King’s Daughter is one part thriller, two parts fictional autobiography of a captive who didn’t realise she was a captive and one part the story of the survivor. This makes The Marsh King’s Daughter an eclectic and engrossing read.

Dionne has created characters who are rich in personality and invoke strong emotions. I loved and admired Helena, worried for her husband and daughters, deeply pitied her mother and loathed her father. Seeing her father through Helena’s eyes, a strange thing happened — I began to admire some of the things he did, despite my disgust at nearly everything else he did. If that’s not character depth, I don’t know what is.

The Marsh King’s Daughter is a smart thriller, it doesn’t give away too much too early and doesn’t try to force twists for the sake of twists. Instead, it is a controlled balance of Helena’s life with her father, after her father was imprisoned and now that he has escaped.

I would recommend The Marsh King’s Daughter for fans of clever, character based thrillers who enjoy getting to know where the characters have been as much as what they are doing now.



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