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The Marsh King's Daughter    by Karen Dionne order for
Marsh King's Daughter
by Karen Dionne
Order:  USA  Can
Putnam, 2017 (2017)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Karen Dionne's engrossing psychological thriller, The Marsh King's Daughter, kept me glued to its fast flipping pages. Its heroine, Helena Pelletier, finally has a wonderful life - a loving husband (Stephen), two small daughters (Iris and Mari), and a job she designed to fit her own talents and interests, preparing and selling locally made jams and jellies.

But she knows that it's all at risk when her abusive and controlling father (who kidnapped her mother as a teen and kept them both close and under his eye in their cabin in Michigan's Upper Peninsula marshlands for over twelve years) escapes from jail, after killing two guards. Helena had not told her husband her background, which now (twenty years later) comes out. When it's revealed that her father is a 'murderous psychopath', Stephen leaves with their two daughters, taking them to his parents.

Helena is convinced that she's the only one capable of tracking down her father before he destroys her new life - after all, he taught her everything he knew about wilderness survival. But her feelings are mixed - despite his brutal treatment of her mother (and of Helena too on the occasions when he felt that she disobeyed or defied him) she still loves the man. Will she be able to do what she has to, to stop him? She sets off on her quest with her dog Rambo ... but who is the hunter and who the hunted?

The story moves back and forth in time, between current events and Helena's very unusual upbringing in the marshlands. Chapter headings recount Hans Christian Andersen's version of The Marsh King's Daughter. And the terrible happenings (past and present) do resonate with the original gruesome fairy tales, as opposed to the sanitized Disney versions. Will Helena be able to prevent a repeat of history? Read this compelling thriller to find out.

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