The Marsh King’s Daughter by Karen Dionne

marsh kingThe Marsh King’s Daughter is the mesmerizing tale of a woman who must risk everything to hunt down the dangerous man who shaped her past and threatens to steal her future: her father.

Helena Pelletier has a loving husband, two beautiful daughters, and a business that fills her days. But she also has a secret: she is the product of an abduction. Her mother was kidnapped as a teenager by her father and kept in a remote cabin in the marshlands of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Helena, born two years after the abduction, loved her home in nature, and despite her father’s sometimes brutal behavior, she loved him, too…until she learned precisely how savage he could be.

More than twenty years later, she has buried her past so soundly that even her husband doesn’t know the truth. But now her father has killed two guards, escaped from prison, and disappeared into the marsh. The police begin a manhunt, but Helena knows they don’t stand a chance. Knows that only one person has the skills to find the survivalist the world calls the Marsh King—because only one person was ever trained by him: his daughter.


I wanted to read this book from first moment that I saw it on NetGalley. The story-line sounded quite intriguing. It took me quite a while but thanks to an Angel, I finally got my hands on a copy of the book.

The story begins with Helena discovering that her father has escaped from prison. Known as the Marsh King, her father is a notorious criminal who years ago abducted Helena’s mother and held her in captivity for over a decade. Through Helena’s narration, readers get to find out just how dark and twisted The Marsh King was. He was a cruel man with psychotic tendencies. Knowing his background heightened the tension in the book as it became apparent the kind of danger he posed to everyone while on the run.

One thing that I didn’t expect when I started reading the book is the narrative style. The narrator is Helena and for most of the story, readers are stuck in her mind. The past is narrated through recollections of her childhood. The present is also narrated by the MC. In a way, I kinda felt like the entire story was taking place in her mind. This is not a complaint though. The narrative style does work for this book.

I liked the characterization in this book. Helena definitely was an intriguing MC. I was fascinated by her childhood and how it impacted on her character. I wish there was more about her mum though. Understandably though, this is the daughter’s story and the book is not titled Marsh King’s wife so I get it but I was still curious.

The Marsh King’s Daughter turned out to be an interesting read. However, I had difficulties connecting with the MC. I just didn’t get her. I understand that her character was deliberate due to her upbringing but I couldn’t connect with her and so I wasn’t really excited about spending time in her mind. There was also a fairytale that I honestly didn’t get for most part of the story and some graphic scenes that I had to skim over. Other than that, this was quite a disturbing, fast-paced read and I am glad that I finally got a chance to read it.

19 thoughts on “The Marsh King’s Daughter by Karen Dionne

  1. I’m glad you can check this off your want to read list Diana, I know you were curious about it for awhile. Sounds like you liked it better than me and I totally agree with you about the parts that didn’t work for you

    1. Thanks Renee. I remember your review and you mentioning having to skim through the texts. That happened to me a couple of times but I did like the book in the end 🙂

    1. Thanks Dee. Glad to hear that you liked it too. I wish there was more about the mother. I was curious about her. I don’t even remember seeing her name being mentioned though.

  2. I’m happy you can cross it off your list now :-). I was wondering about her mother too and what she felt and thought and maybe she could have divulged a bit more ‘afterwards’ but she was always distant and I think she didn’t even trust her own daughter with the way she looked up to her father, so it is in line with her character not to share so I guess it makes sense too. I’m very sorry, I can’t help it, I still love this one ;-).

    1. haha I know you loved this one and I think you are right about the mother. Her relationship with Helena was strained and there wasn’t much a connection. I guess that is why Helena’s narration focused more on the dad than the mom.

      Really happy and grateful that I finally got the chance to read this one.Thank you Inge ❤

  3. I loved this one but I can also see why you had some issues with it, it’s definitely not an easy read! But I remember I read it in like one morning so I still remember it fondly haha

  4. Whoa, I’m already reeling from trying to get into the mindset of the protagonist because of her lineage. Too bad you couln’t connect with her as much as you wanted. I do agree with you, even though the story seemed to be focused on how Helena’s character was molded by herr father, her mother must have had some sort of influence. I could see the author contrasting these two influences.

    1. Helena was such a complex character and yes, I really wish the author told us more about the mother and her life with Marsh King. It was still an interesting read though 🙂

  5. I’ve been curious about this book and while I’m pleased to hear the narrative style of being in the protagonist’s head worked ok, I’m not sure about that fairy tale element. Thank you for the thoughtful and honest review.

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