The Marsh King’s Daughter by Karen Dionne
The kidnapping of young women by psychotic men is not uncommon in today’s headlines. Sometimes these women are held captive for years and may even have a child fathered by the abductor.
This story is told from the viewpoint of one such child, Helena.
Helena and her mother were held for many years in a cabin in the wilderness of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. The abductor is a Native American man called Jacob, who knows how to live off the land and teaches those skills to his young daughter.
Helena has no idea of the story behind her parent’s lives. She simply accepts that her mother is timid and subservient while her father is dominating and at times cruel. She is respectfully afraid of him, but also admires him for his strength and skills.
Helena tells her story in an unruffled, matter-of-fact way because she was unaware for many years of the trauma and violence that created the life she and her mother lived. When they manage to escape and Jacob is put in prison, Helena struggles to live a civilized life she doesn’t understand or even like.
Then Jacob escapes and Helena is forced to use the skills she learned from her father to terminate the connection between them once more.
Karen Dionne has done an amazing job of putting herself into the mind of a young abduction survivor. This novel is great psychological suspense.
Kerry Pettis is a retired elementary school teacher and children’s librarian who has lived in Broomfield since 1975. Reading is her favorite occupation.