The Marsh King’s Daughter by Karen Dionne

The Marsh King’s Daughter by Karen Dionne


The Marsh King’s Daughter follows Helena, who was born into captivity but didn’t know it at the time. Helena’s father kidnapped a 14 year old girl and held her against her will in his cabin located in the remote parts of Upper Peninsula Michigan. During this time, Helena is born, and as she grows up her father teaches her all the ways of his native people and the land. She learns to fish, track, hunt and sustain life without electricity or running water. When their cabin is finally discovered, Helena and her mother are rescued and The Marsh King goes to prison.

Years later, now that Helena is married and has children of her own,  her father has escaped from prison. She knows she is the only person who can find him in the marshland.  The book alternates between Helena’s childhood and her as an adult searching for her missing father.

I rate The Marsh King’s Daughter ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5 stars, even though it was not quite what I expected. Let me explain: I thought this would be a suspenseful race to escape her father, but it was more an account of Helena’s life in the marsh. I didn’t feel like there was much suspense, even at the ending, but it didn’t take away from the quality of the writing. The stories of Helena growing up were so beautiful and I thought the description of their life was very accurate to what it would be if this were a true story: you might expect Helena to hate her father, but she didn’t. You might expect her mother to fight or try to escape, but she knew what horrible things would happen to her if she tried.  To hear how the adult Helena struggled with love and contempt of her father was thought provoking, and my favorite parts were reading about life in the wilderness. So no, this was not the suspenseful thriller I thought it would be, but I still loved it for the story of love and struggle.

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