Karen Dionne’s superb psychological suspense, The Marsh King’s Daughter, brings readers the story of a child born in captivity to her abducted mother and kidnapper father. Not realizng until age 11 that her mother had been taken against her will as a young teen, Helena’s youth story is told in recall throughout the modern story of adult Helena’s desperate attempts to track her father before he can find her.

With exquisitely detailed prose of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, born out of Dionne’s own expericences living off the land in the wilderness in the 70’s, the author creates Helena’s world, raised so far off the grid that she has rarely seen other humans except thoe in old copies of National Geographics she’s used to teach her self to read. What she has learned is how to hunt and trap, and to use the land to live off of it.

All of these skills become extraordinarily useful as an adult. After leaving the UP with her mother, in an unforgettable scene that is detailed later in the book, Helena must adjust to life in the outside world. It’s an uneasy experience, one that leaves her with scars deeper than the tattoos her father gave her as a child.

Restarting her life under a new name, Helena is married with two little girls to her photographer husband when her father escapes from prison. She knows he is on his way to find her and hurt her and her family for turning him in–and knows she must hunt him down first.

It’s a complicated relationship, as Helena’s father taught her everything she’s learned, and a part of her loves him. But as she’s been in the modern world, she realizes more and more the control and abuse she and her mother suffered at his hands.

It’s a remarkable story that is by turns amazing and absolutely terrifying, causing Lee Child to call it,” sensationally good psychological suspense…” Highly recommended.

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