The Marsh King’s Daughter by Karen Dionne.


About the Book

‘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 would have been a lot more understanding of my mother. I wouldn’t have adored my father.’
When the 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.

My Review

I always liked fairy tales when I was a child but I don’t remember reading The Marsh King’s Daughter by Hans Christian Andersen. The fairy tale appears at times at the start of some chapters in the novel. I thought this book was amazing. It was one that I had been intrigued by after seeing a lot of posts about on social media but I hadn’t felt the urge to pick it up immediately. How I wish I had read it sooner!
Helena had a different childhood to most. The daughter of a Native American tracker who had abducted her mother when she was a teenager and the three of them had lived together since her birth. There was no contact with anybody else, no phones, TV, magazines or anything that a normal family takes for granted. The events from her childhood and how she escaped from her father’s grasp is revealed throughout the novel. The way her childhood was spent explains the way she is in her adult life and how she views some of everyday life differently.
I struggled to understand how devoted she was to a father who was a cruel man. One who would often punish both mother and child physically and mentally if they disappointed him. Even though I think he loved his daughter it was hard to see anything in him that was likeable.
But despite her childhood I admired the way she moved on to have a family of her own and a successful business that she used the knowledge she gained as a child to create. The fear that she felt when she learned that her father had escaped from prison became a determination to capture him when she had ensured her own family’s safety.
I had been a little dubious reading the hunting scenes but apart from a small section there wasn’t too much graphic detail. Also, the hunting was done for survival not for the thrill of killing an animal. I thought the parts of the novel that described living in and understanding the wilderness was fascinating and if I was brave enough I would love to try it.
With thanks to the publisher for the copy received.
You can pre-order the novel at Amazon or Waterstones