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Review: The Marsh Kings Daughter (Karen Dionne)

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.

The Marsh Kings Daughter (Karen Dionne) 4/5 Stars


The Marsh King’s daughter is a gripping and unique psychological thriller and I LOVED it.

When we first meet Helena she is happy with her own family but when we find out that her convicted father has escaped from prison we’re quickly thrown into a heart-stopping race against time to stop her father from reaching her family.

As Helena is searching for her father we learn from her flashbacks about her experiences of being raised in captivity by her father. Innocent and naive, young Helena is oblivious to the fact that she and her mother are being held captive. What made this story so compelling is we get to witness Helena slowly piece together what her father is. We see her go from loving and idolizing her father to understanding how controlling and evil he is.


What I often find when I read a psychological thriller is that I care much more about the twist than the characters who were involved. But what made this novel so impactful is Helena, the Marsh King’s Daughter. While the plot is suspenseful enough to make this a great psychological thriller, it is the character development, revealed through the past and present, that truly stays with you. For Helena, this is a real coming of age story.

As this is a crime novel, the story is rather dark, yet the book focuses on Helena’s desire not to be defined by her father’s actions and labeled as ‘the Marsh King’s Daughter’ by the media. From her birth to the now, she tells us the story of how she was first made and how she consequently remakes herself. This is what makes it so much more than your average crime thriller.


The pacing, setting, and characters made The Marsh Kings Daughter so compelling. The last couple of chapters of the book had me flipping pages as fast as I could as more of Helena’s story unfolded. I haven’t been this captivated by a thriller in a long time. This is a beautifully written, have-you-on-the-edge-of-your-seat story and I highly recommend you read it.

 And get this, they’re making a movie!

Deadline has recently reported that Star Wars lead Daisy Ridley will star as Helena in the movie adaptation of The Marsh King’s Daughter. Limitless and Divergent filmmaker Neil Burger is newly aboard to direct the film. 

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