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Publisher's Summary

Previously published as The Marsh King's Daughter

You'd recognise my mother's name if I told it to you. You'd wonder, briefly, where is she now? And didn't she have a daughter while she was missing?

And whatever happened to the little girl?

Helena's home is like anyone else's. With a husband and two daughters, and a job she enjoys. But no one knows the truth about her childhood. Born into captivity and brought up in an isolated cabin until she was 12, Helena was raised to be a killer by the man who kept her captive – her own father. Now he has escaped from prison, and Helena knows, instinctively, that he is coming for her. To keep her family safe she must find him, before he finds her. Even if it means returning to the darkest parts of her past. Even if she has to go home....

©2017 Karen Dionne (P)2017 Hachette Audio

Critic Reviews

"It's sensational." (Clare Mackintosh)
"A constantly surprising novel which never takes the obvious route, it is emotionally and intellectually thrilling as well as tremendously exciting." ( Sunday Express)
"Sensationally good psychological suspense - I loved this book." (Lee Child)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Simon
  • 06-15-17

Cunning Darkness!

I have to confess there is normally little more that will make me roll my eyes than a blurb that says something like "The suspense thriller of the year".  I mean, just how many can there be in a single year?  Luckily I read on and decided to overlook Hachette Audio's heinous crime because in publishing The Marsh King's Daughter they have done enough to earn a break.  Karen Dionne's story centres around Helena who had the most incredible upbringing.  Her mother was abducted as a young girl and forced to live in a remote cabin, deep in Michigan marshland.  Her father, the kidnapper is a deeply twisted character who dominates her life.

Dionne's story is a clever triple line intertwined consisting of the original Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale which is the inspiration for the story, the current day Helena desperate to protect her family and stories from the younger girl's upbringing in that remote wilderness.  The transitions between the two main timelines are smoothly done and both stories feel exciting.  There is an interesting take on nature vs nurture as Helena battles to reconcile her love for her father, her growing understanding of her mother's life and her imperative to protect her own family.  Can she overcome the loyalties and conditioning of that tough childhood enough to do what she has to?

Helena herself is an excellent female lead albeit forged from rather unique circumstances.  The narration by Emily Rankin is very good at building the atmosphere and the storyline.  She doesn't have the greatest range of voices but this isn't tested by the small cast of important characters in this one.  I did hanker slightly after a less generic voice for Helena's father given his heritage but maybe there I am splitting hairs a little.

In all this is an excellent read as the stories progress and we get to know Helena.  As with most thrillers of this type there may be a minor amount of chuffing involved as a cliffhanger is left dangling while we drift back to the past but the transitions are generally well done.  I would definitely recommend this one.

11 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Kindle Customer
  • 07-26-17

Unique and brilliantly written

I tend to stick to certain genres of book but, this time, wanted to try something totally different and boy did I manage to find one.

I can't say just how much I enjoyed this book because I would rave on for hours, suffice to say if your reading this review you must read the book - you will not regret it!!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Tracy Fleur
  • 08-27-18

Slow

I'd probably say it was good by the end but I found it slow going. Gave up half way through.

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  • Prisqua
  • 05-14-18

What a beautiful story.

I was kinda expecting the end, but was not expecting how it would get there. Difficult to put down the book. Loved it. I want to read more about how the story came to life.

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  • Yvonne
  • 09-04-17

Gripping

This is an odd book, it's not obvious what is going on early on, but if you stick with it I found it utterly gripping, weaving folk myth with horror, from the perspective of the innocent. This is a very clever piece of writing which I hope is fiction.

Gritty and brutal in parts, it is a fascinating puzzle, great value for money.

Oh and by the way there is no fairy godmother for all the aspects of mythology; just human humans.

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  • Sailaway
  • 07-25-17

Not for me

If this book wasn’t for you, who do you think might enjoy it more?

Those who prefer recent stories from the 21st century

What was most disappointing about Karen Dionne’s story?

Didn't engage me after some period pf time. Soon realised not for me

Who might you have cast as narrator instead of Emily Rankin?

Was disappointed with the book and found that I was not enjoying any of the book

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Beverly
  • 02-02-18

Great Story

It was a great story and narrated beautifully. Kept you guessing right to the end.

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  • Teresa
  • 11-15-17

interesting story and great narrator

I enjoyed this book but must admit to leaping over the fairytale Hans Christian Andersen story of the marsh kings daughter. I'm a grown up. at the beginning of each chapter was a mini chapter of nonsense. The main body of the story was fascinating and I wondered if children raised in an environment like that would share Helena's view of the world and love their Father inspite of his often unbelievable cruelty.

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  • Melanie McClure
  • 07-29-17

The story stayed with me.

This book left me thinking about the characters when I wasn't listening. I was absorbed in the story. One of the best I've listened to. Well researched, beautifully written, engaging on every level.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Emma
  • 07-21-17

A slow burner

I hated this book initially and almost gave up on it. I'm glad I stuck with it. This book sucks you in completely. The main character's complicated relationship with her parents was the highlight for me. This is definitely worth persevering with.