The Marsh King’s Daughter by Karen Dionne

When I first started working at a bookstore, I decided that I was going to be really into psychological thrillers.  And so I read and read and read them and then stopped and thought to myself, Why did I decided I needed to be this kind of reader.  I really wasn’t enjoying what I was reading.  After I stopped and looked back on what I had read, I realized that I was really only reading these books for the twist.  I was reading them because I wanted to know what was going to happen rather than for the writing or the greater story.  Really, I would have been just as happy reading a plot synopsis.

So I was a little resistant when our Penguin Rep kept telling me to read The Marsh King’s Daughter.  And then I received a galley in the mail (along with an adorable tiny jar of jam) and I no longer had any reason to put off reading it.  And while I am still not the biggest fan of this genre of book, I did enjoy this one and I’m glad that I read it because it will be a thriller that I will feel good about recommending at work.

The Marsh King’s Daughter tells the story of Helena, a woman whose father abducted her mother.  Flipping between her life in present day  (where she is dealing with the fact that her father has escaped from prison) and telling the story of her life growing up off of the grid, Dionne masterfully weaves a tale.  While the whole book was interesting, I really found myself enjoying the sections that talked about her time growing up.  Dionne also weaves through Hans Christian Andersen’s story of The Marsh King’s Daughter to add an extra dimension to the story.

My one complaint with the book is a personal one.  I have a really hard time with blood and gore but can usually deal with enough of it to be alright reading a thriller or a mystery.  Because of the fact that this book was set in the marsh where Helena and her father had to hunt for food, I quickly found that I had hit my threshold for the subject.  I found myself skimming sections that described in detail how animals were shot and skinned and how they died.  While I understand why these passages were in here, they really took some of the shock of the human on human violence away.

All of that said, if you are a plan of thrillers, this is a book you should definitely check out.  I think that this book will find great success upon its release.

4-stars

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