'I was born two years into my mother's captivity. She was three weeks shy of seventeen. If I had known then what I do now, things would have been a lot different. I wouldn't have adored my father.'
When notorious child abductor - known as the Marsh King - escapes from a maximum security prison, Helena immediately suspects that she and her two young daughters are in danger.
No one, not even her husband, knows the truth about Helena's past: they don't know that she was born into captivity, that she had no contact with the outside world before the age of twelve - or that her father raised her to be a killer.
And they don't know that the Marsh King can survive and hunt in the wilderness better than anyone... except, perhaps his own daughter.
Packed with gripping suspense and powerful storytelling, The Marsh King's Daughter is a one-more-page, read-in-one-sitting thriller that you'll remember for ever.
We are drawn into Helena's life from the first page and she feels so real. Not perfect, perhaps a little flawed, but essentially, I found myself so profoundly engaged in her narrative I didn't want to put this book down. We know she has escaped the life she shared with her mother, we also quickly realise that to Helena the so-called Marsh King was the father she loved but was she blinded by childish adoration and just how did Helena and her mother return to the outside world?
This is a chilling tale that definitely has a dark side. Helena's father is a hard man, domineering, narcissistic, and cruel. Yet to the young Helena he was almost Godlike, capable of turning his hand to anything and the parent she so wanted to emulate. As a reader, we see what lies beneath the surface but the innocent child that is Helena was so malleable and yes, there's a sense of not cruelty exactly but perhaps a lack of empathy within her that her father fosters. Now grown up with her own family she finds herself hunting down the very man that molded her and as she does the author fills in the blanks showing us just how her psychopath father managed so easily to endear himself to her and control her. The isolation of Helena's youth is explored, her apparent lack of feelings towards her mother, and ultimately just how and why Helena left it all behind.
Wow such a powerful book. Helena is without a doubt a creature created in her father’s image and at times her actions are shocking. It made me question the nature versus nurture debate and then I had to wonder just who Helena would be if things were different. Clearly the remote setting added to this story but this can happen, we do see in the news women who manage to escape captivity and yes, there are even those who give birth whilst imprisoned.
The Marsh King's Daughter is fantasy, designed to entertain, but it evoked so many feelings in me. As much as it's a tale of a child growing up it is ultimately about how children eventually realise that parents are not perfect and for Helena it's a story of survival.
This voluntary opinion is of a copy I requested from NetGalley and my thoughts and feelings are honest and I believe fair.