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The marsh king's daughter : a novel
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1 Wait here," I tell my three-year-old. I lean through the truck's open window to fish between her booster seat and the passenger door for the plastic sippy cup of lukewarm orange juice she threw in a fit of frustration. "Mommy will be right back." Mari reaches for the cup like Pavlov's puppy. Her bottom lip pokes out and tears overflow. I get it. She's tired. So am I. "Uh-uh-uh," Mari grunts as I start to walk away. She arches her back and pushes against the seat belt as if it's a straitjacket. "Stay put, I'll be right back." I narrow my eyes and shake my finger so she knows I mean business and go around to the back of the truck. I wave at the kid stacking boxes on the loading dock by the delivery entrance to Markham's--Jason, I think is his name--then lower the tailgate to grab the first two boxes of my own. "Hi, Mrs. Pelletier!" Jason returns my wave with twice the enthusiasm I gave him. I lift my hand again so we're even. I've given up telling him to call me Helena. Bang-bang-bang from inside the truck. Mari is whacking her juice cup against the window ledge. I'm guessing it's empty. I bang the flat of my hand against the truck bed in response-- bang-bang-bang --and Mari startles and twists around, her baby-fine hair whipping across her face like corn silk. I give her my best "cut it out if you know what's good for you" scowl, then heft the cartons to my shoulder. Stephen and I both have brown hair and eyes, as does our five-year-old, Iris, so he marveled over this rare golden child we created until I told him my mother was a blonde. That's all he knows. Markham's is the next-to-last delivery of four, and the primary sales outlet for my jams and jellies, aside from the orders I pick up online. Tourists who shop at Markham's Grocery like the idea that my products are locally made. I'm told a lot of customers purchase several jars to take home as gifts and souvenirs. I tie gingham fabric circles over the lids with butcher's string and color-code them according to contents: red for raspberry jam, purple for elderberry, blue for blueberry, green for cattail-blueberry jelly, ­yellow for dandelion, pink for wild apple-chokecherry--you get the idea. I think the covers look silly, but people seem to like them. And if I'm going to get by in an area as economically depressed as the Upper Peninsula, I have to give people what they want. It's not rocket science. There are a lot of wild foods I could use and a lot of different ways to fix them, but for now I'm sticking with jams and jellies. Every business needs a focus. My trademark is the cattail line drawing I put on every label. I'm pretty sure I'm the only person who mixes ground cattail root with blueberries to make jelly. I don't add much, just enough to justify including cattail in the name. When I was growing up, young cattail spikes were my favorite vegetable. They still are. Every spring I toss my waders and a wicker basket in the back of my pickup and head for the marshes south of our place. Stephen and the girls won't touch them, but Stephen doesn't care if I cook them as long as I fix just enough for me. Boil the heads for a few minutes in salted water and you have one of the finest vegetables around. The texture is a little dry and mealy, so I eat mine with butter now, but of course, butter was nothing I'd tasted when I was a child. Blueberries I pick in the logged-over areas south of our place. Some years the blueberry crop is better than others. Blueberries like a lot of sun. Indians used to set fire to the underbrush to improve the yield. I'll admit, I've been tempted. I'm not the only person out on the plains during blueberry season, so the areas closest to the old logging roads get picked over fairly quickly. But I don't mind going off the beaten path, and I never get lost. Once I was so far out in the middle of nowhere, a Department of Natural Resources helicopter spotted me and hailed me. After I convinced the officers I knew where I was and what I was doing, they left me alone. "Hot enough for you?" Jason asks as he reaches down and takes the first box from my shoulder. I grunt in response. There was a time when I would have had no idea how to answer such a question. My opinion of the weather isn't going to change it, so why should anyone care what I think? Now I know I don't have to, that this is an example of what Stephen calls "small talk," conversation for the sake of conversation, a space-filler not meant to communicate anything of importance or value. Which is how people who don't know each other well talk to each other. I'm still not sure how this is better than silence. Jason laughs like I told the best joke he's heard all day, which Stephen also insists is an appropriate response, never mind that I didn't say anything funny. After I left the marsh, I really struggled with social conventions. Shake hands when you meet someone. Don't pick your nose. Go to the back of the line. Wait your turn. Raise your hand when you have a question in the classroom and then wait for the teacher to call on you before you ask it. Don't burp or pass gas in the presence of others. When you're a guest in someone's home, ask permission before you use the bathroom. Remember to wash your hands and flush the toilet after you do. I can't tell you how often I felt as though everyone knew the right way to do things but me. Who makes these rules, anyway? And why do I have to follow them? And what will be the consequences if I don't? I leave the second box on the loading dock and go back to the truck for the third. Three cases, twenty-four jars each, seventy-two jars total, delivered every two weeks during June, July, and August. My profit on each case is $59.88, which means that over the course of the summer, I make more than a thousand dollars from Markham's alone. Not shabby at all. And about my leaving Mari alone in the truck while I make my deliveries, I know what people would think if they knew. Especially about leaving her alone with the windows down. But I'm not about to leave the windows up. I'm parked under a pine and there's a breeze blowing off the bay, but the temperature has been pushing upper eighties all day, and I know how quickly a closed car can turn into an oven. I also realize that someone could easily reach through the open window and grab Mari if they wanted to. But I made a decision years ago that I'm not going to raise my daughters to fear that what happened to my mother might also happen to them. One last word on this subject, and then I'm done. I guarantee if anyone has a problem with how I'm raising my daughters, then they've never lived in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. That's all. Back at the truck, Mari the Escape Artist is nowhere to be seen. I go up to the passenger window and look inside. Mari is sitting on the floor chewing a cellophane candy wrapper she found under the seat as if it's a piece of gum. I open the door, fish the wrapper out of her mouth and shove it in my pocket, then dry my fingers on my jeans and buckle her in. A butterfly flutters through the window and lands on a spot of sticky something on the dash. Mari claps her hands and laughs. I grin. It's impossible not to. Mari's laugh is delicious, a full-throated, unself-­conscious chortle I never get tired of hearing. Like those YouTube videos people post of babies laughing uncontrollably over inconsequential things like a jumping dog or a person tearing strips of paper--Mari's laugh is like that. Mari is sparkling water, golden sunshine, the chatter of wood ducks overhead. I shoo the butterfly out and put the truck in gear. Iris's bus drops her off at our house at four forty-five. Stephen usually watches the girls while I make my deliveries, but he won't be back until late tonight because he's showing a new set of lighthouse prints to the gallery owner who sells his photographs in the Soo. Sault Ste. Marie, which is pronounced "Soo" and not "Salt," as people who don't know better often say, is the second-largest city in the Upper Peninsula. But that isn't saying much. The sister city on the Canadian side is a lot bigger. Locals on both sides of the St. Mary's River call their city "The Soo." People come from all over the world to visit the Soo Locks to watch the giant iron-ore carriers pass through. They're a big tourist draw. I deliver the last case of assorted jams to the Gitche Gumee Agate and History Museum gift shop, then drive to the lake and park. As soon as Mari sees the water, she starts flapping her arms. "Wa-wa, wa-wa." I know that at her age she should be speaking in complete sentences. We've been taking her to a developmental specialist in Marquette once a month for the past year, but so far this is the best she's got. We spend the next hour on the beach. Mari sits beside me on the warm beach gravel, working off the discomfort of an erupting molar by chewing on a piece of driftwood I rinsed off for her in the water. The air is hot and still, the lake calm, the waves sloshing gently like water in a bathtub. After a while, we take off our sandals and wade into the water and splash each other to cool off. Lake Superior is the largest and deepest of the Great Lakes, so the water never gets warm. But on a day like today, who'd want it to? I lean back on my elbows. The rocks are warm. As hot as it is today, it's hard to believe that when Stephen and I brought Iris and Mari to this same spot a couple of weeks ago to watch the Perseid meteor shower we needed sleeping bags and jackets. Stephen thought it was overkill when I packed them into the back of the Cherokee, but of course he had no idea how cold the beach gets after the sun goes down. The four of us squeezed inside a double sleeping bag and lay on our backs on the sand looking up. Iris counted twenty-three shooting stars and made a wish on every one, though Mari snoozed through most of the show. We're going to come out again in a couple of weeks to check out the northern lights. I sit up and check my watch. It's still difficult for me to be somewhere at an exact time. When a person is raised on the land as I was, the land dictates what you do and when. We never kept a clock. There was no reason to. We were as attuned to our environment as the birds, insects, and animals, driven by the same circadian rhythms. My memories are tied to the seasons. I can't always remember how old I was when a particular event took place, but I know what time of year it happened. I know now that for most people, the calendar year begins on January 1. But in the marsh there was nothing about January to distinguish it from December or February or March. Our year began in the spring, on the first day the marsh marigolds bloomed. Marsh marigolds are huge bushy plants two feet or more in diameter, each covered with hundreds of inch-wide bright yellow blossoms. Other flowers bloom in the spring, like the blue flag iris and the flowering heads of the grasses, but marsh marigolds are so prolific that nothing compares to that astonishing yellow carpet. Every year my father would pull on his waders and go out into the marsh and dig one up. He'd put it in an old galvanized tub half-filled with water and set it on our back porch, where it glowed like he'd brought us the sun. I used to wish my name was Marigold. But I'm stuck with Helena, which I often have to explain is pronounced "Hel-LAY-nuh." Like a lot of things, it was my father's choice. The sky takes on a late afternoon quality that warns it's time to go. I check the time and see to my horror that my internal clock has not kept pace with my watch. I scoop up Mari and grab our sandals and run back to the truck. Mari squalls as I buckle her in. I'm not unsympathetic. I would have liked to stay longer, too. I hurry around to the driver's side and turn the key. The dashboard clock reads 4:37. I might make it. Just. I peel out of the parking lot and drive south on M-77 as fast as I dare. There aren't a lot of police cars in the area, but for the officers who patrol this route, aside from ticketing speeders, there isn't much to do. I can appreciate the irony of my situation. I'm speeding because I'm late. Getting stopped for speeding will make me later still. Mari works herself into a full-on tantrum as I drive. She kicks her feet, sand flies all over the truck, the sippy cup bounces off the windshield, and snot runs out her nose. Miss Marigold Pelletier is most definitely not a happy camper. At the moment, neither am I. I tune the radio to the public broadcasting station out of Northern Michigan University in Marquette, hoping for music to distract her--or drown her out. I'm not a fan of classical, but this is the only station that comes in clearly. Instead, I pick up a news alert: "--escaped prisoner . . . child abductor . . . Marquette . . ." "Be quiet," I yell, and turn the volume up. "Seney National Wildlife Refuge . . . armed and dangerous . . . do not approach." At first, that's all I manage to catch. I need to hear this. The refuge is less than thirty miles from our house. "Mari, stop!" Mari blinks into silence. The report repeats: "Once again, state police report that a prisoner serving life without parole for child abduction, rape, and murder has escaped from the maximum security prison in Marquette, Michigan. The prisoner is believed to have killed two guards during a prison transfer and escaped into the Seney National Wildlife Refuge south of M-28. Listeners should consider the prisoner armed and dangerous. Do NOT, repeat, DO NOT approach. If you see anything suspicious, call law enforcement immediately. The prisoner, Jacob Holbrook, was convicted of kidnapping a young girl and keeping her captive for a dozen years in a notorious case that received nationwide attention . . ." My heart stops. I can't see. Can't breathe. Can't hear anything over the blood rushing in my ears. I slow the truck and pull carefully onto the shoulder. My hand shakes as I reach to turn the radio off. Jacob Holbrook has escaped from prison. The Marsh King. My father. And I'm the one who put him in prison in the first place. Excerpted from The Marsh King's Daughter by Karen Dionne All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.
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  New York Times Review

THE 2000S WERE THRILLING here in America, in the most strictly neutral sense of the word - sensation after sensation, the fall of the towers, two wars, financial collapse, natural disaster, fear. Adults responded, very sanely one could argue, by devoting the period to reading about teenage vampires. (Or waiting on Platform 9¾ for the next train to Hogwarts.) Then things slowly stabilized, and perhaps our mood shifted too. The immense success of "Gone Girl" in 2012 seemed to consolidate that sense: The most popular novels could be about grown-ups again. Less frightened that our houses might be taken, we began to wonder instead who might hurt us while we were inside them. But this summer and fall will bring, depending on the vicissitudes of publishing industry timing, the last of those Obama-era thrillers. What are people going to read during a Donald Trump administration? Precisely how thrilling will these years prove? And just how much will we long to escape them? What a shame it would be to revert to the reading habits of the "Twilight" age, if it meant missing out on books as subtle, brilliant and mature as Karen Dionne's newest novel, THE MARSH KING'S DAUGHTER (Putnam, $26). It's the narrative of Helena, the child of a teenager and her abductor, who kept them hidden for years in a beautiful lost corner of Michigan. "I didn't know we were captives until we were not," Helena says. Her understanding of the world during that time comes largely from a stack of old National Geographic magazines and what her father - a master tracker and hunter named Jacob, part Ojibwa, charismatic, domineering, loving and cruel - teaches her to believe. The novel begins 15 years after her escape, Helena having made a life for herself, with a family and a small business selling jam made with cattails, a wisp of wilderness knowledge obscure enough to appeal to hipsters, a nice metaphor for the chasm between her childhood and theirs. Then her father escapes from prison, killing two guards. Helena immediately thinks of her daughters. She knows which one he would take, she realizes, and this horrifying unbidden thought decides her. "If anyone is going to catch my father and return him to prison, it's me. No one is my father's equal when it comes to navigating the wilderness, but I'm close." The book adopts a plaited structure, with alternating chapters set in the past and the present, the former relating the tale of Helena's flight from the marsh where she grew up, the latter her return to it to search for the man who raised her. Two elements make Dionne's book so superb. The first is its authenticity. There's a strain in the contemporary American novel ("Maud's Line," by Margaret Verble, and "The Snow Child," by Eowyn Ivey, are recent examples) defined by a knowledge of nature that feels intimate, real and longitudinal, connected to our country's past. When Dionne describes the swamp maples that make a cabin invisible from the air, or the way one digs chicory taproots, then washes, dries and grinds them to make a coffee substitute, it seems effortless, plain that her fluency has a deeper source than Wikipedia. The second is the corresponding authenticity of Helena's emotions about her father, painfully revisited and refined as she tracks him. She has no doubt whatsoever that he belongs in prison, but she doesn't hate him - or at least, part of her hatred is love. She recalls him putting on his waders every spring, going into the marsh and digging up a marigold for their porch. "It glowed like he'd brought us the sun," she says. One of her daughters is named Marigold. In its balance of emotional patience and chapter-bychapter suspense, "The Marsh King's Daughter" is about as good as a thriller can be, I think. Take Dionne's ending, usually the moment when, as E. M. Forster said, a novel's plot exacts its cowardly revenge. In most such books, Helena's daughters would come into jeopardy. But this author isn't interested in feeding us those cheap calories. Nor does she quite grant us the confessional reckoning we wish Jacob would finally give his daughter. Then again, how many terrible fathers - terrible, precious - ever have? Like everything else in "The Marsh King's Daughter," the choice feels right. The title character of LOLA (Crown, $26), by Melissa Scrivner Love, is also in a race to preserve her life, but in a location as different from the cold, unyielding woods of Michigan as possible: gangland Los Angeles at the height of summer. The book's plot, which involves a botched money handoff, is thorny - at one point Lola thinks of her choice of which drug kingpin to betray as belonging to some "awful romantic comedy" - but makes the usual basic urgent sense: We want Lola (tough, resourceful, tender whenever her circumstances on the periphery of the drug trade allow her to be) to keep being alive, and not start being dead. I blazed through "Lola," a debut as fast, flexible and poised as a chef's knife. At its best it has the lithe energy of a Lee Child novel, combined with Dennis Lehane's - or, to step outside of the genre, Stuart Dybek's - sense of the exhausting intimacy of poor neighborhoods. "What would she have done," Lola wonders, "if she'd grown up in a two-story ranch house far from South Central? What would she have done if she'd had a mother who defrosted vegetables every night for dinner?" Crime fiction, because its exigencies feel natural, has been our country's best way of thinking about class for more than a century now. In its weaker moments "Lola" suffers from a certain teleplay sleekness, picked up, perhaps, during its author's stints at "CSI: Miami" and "Person of Interest." To take one instance, Lola, who was the victim of sexual abuse in service to her mother's drug addiction, spends a lot of her scarce free time trying to protect a girl in an exactly identical situation, a symmetry that feels executive- filtered, false to life. The book's ventures into philosophy are similarly inert. ("All people everywhere, rich or poor, skinny or fat, are animals," we learn. "Looking for a fight. Looking to turn everyone against the weakest." Blurgh.) But it's still an unshakably engrossing read, and in Lola and her allies, who trace their connection to the familiar blocks they've loved and loathed their whole lives, Love is vibrant and cleareyed, an exciting new West Coast observer. Like Love, Peter Blauner has taken his turn in the Hollywood churn, writing for the television drama "Blue Bloods," but somehow, perhaps because he first spent a long career in journalism and fiction, he remains obstinately idiosyncratic in PROVING GROUND (Minotaur, $25.99), his first novel in 10 years. His garrulousness salvages a story that's only intermittently engaging. Blauner's tale involves the murder of David Dresden, an idealistic lawyer with a significant case pending against the F.B.I. He's shot in Prospect Park, and immediately two people sense deeper machinations - Dresden's son, Natty, a veteran with PTSD, and a zaftig, astute young police detective named Lourdes, fighting to make it in a department designed without her interests particularly close to its heart. They converge from different angles on the same possible perp, who is, alas, catastrophically easy to spot. Luckily the people who fall for "Proving Ground" will care far more about its voice, filled with moments of surprising New York stoop-sitting joy. Blauner is a bad-ball hitter - he'll miss on an easy description, overwriting Dresden's widow for instance ("a long-backed Park Slope lioness with vaguely Eurasian-looking features"?), but then capture with beautiful easy precision, for instance, a flash of dialogue between cops, who talk skells and Rockefeller time, "flip tin," banter at each other to signal that they care. The cynosure of this style is Richard Price, and Blauner shares his intricate gabbiness. But Price's gift(particularly in "Clockers," his masterpiece) is partially for invisibility, for the lurk; Blauner is always there, writing his way into every line. It slows the book down. "Lola" is a better widget than "Proving Ground," better paced, clearer in its stakes. But Blauner's fable seems truer to its emotional beats, Natty and Lourdes powerfully real in their lucid, disillusioned idealism. In both characters, Blauner returns repeatedly to the book's truest subject, the inescapability of the past. "Why keep looking back?" Natty asks his therapist, irritated, when he's on the verge of solving his father's murder. "Because that's probably where the answers are," she replies. New York, drawn so lovingly in "Proving Ground," has always been the city closest to matching Baudelaire's definition of beauty: the infinite within the finite. IF WE WERE VILLAINS (Flatiron, $25.99), a melodramatic but satisfying debut by M. L. Rio, takes as its subject the only infinite writer we've had yet, no matter how hard Karl Ove Knausgaard pushes - Shakespeare, of course. The book is set across a school year at Dellecher Classical Conservatory, a Midwestern analogue to Juilliard, "less an academic institution than a cult," where seven senior actors immerse themselves with radical intensity in both one another and the works of the glovemaker's son from Stratford-on-Avon. One of their passionately close-knit number, Oliver, narrates their tale, years later. The twist is that he does it just as he's getting out of prison. The novel's first third is plotted ingeniously, as we wonder who might die. The bully during "Julius Caesar"? The seductress during "Macbeth"? At last a body falls. The rest of the novel is a whodunit, occasionally clumsy but entertaining. The solution, when we learn it at last, proves clever, and as the book ends the six remaining students, older and scattered now, move tentatively toward the idea of reunion. RIO'S MODEL COULDN'T be clearer: "The Secret History," by Donna Tartt. But this is not that eerie, half-mad novel; it's too nerdily good-natured, and too nerdily (and winningly) in love with Shakespeare. Every page is scattered with his words, which the students toss at one another as easily and endlessly as a shared second language. There's a kind of elation in seeing both famous and obscure phrases from the plays plucked and resituated, the effect first-rate - distancing, salutary. "If We Were Villains" is, then, a readable, smart, pretentious, youthful book, at once charming and insufferable, at once good and bad. It's steeped in the hysterical significance the young ascribe to their own lives. Middleaged readers often tend to scorn this sort of hothouse fictional narcissism. (I know, having written a novel about an American at Oxford that everyone younger than 31 seemed to love, and everyone older than 31 seemed to loathe.) But perhaps there's something forgetful in that rejection. "We . . . looked at each other with wide, unguarded eyes," Oliver says in the hovering moment before a kiss, and this is a book with wide, unguarded eyes. Most of us looked at the world that way once: not so happy, yet much happier. Rio, however clunky her book's characters and plotting can sometimes be, captures that, the exhilarating dummy immortality of youth. She may become a more adroit writer, but she won't become a younger one. That's a trade that people with more experience can be too sure is in their favor. As Joan Didion observed, it's best "to keep on nodding terms with the people we used to be, whether we find them attractive company or not." The protagonist of William Christie's panoramic, smart, hugely enjoyable thriller A SINGLE SPY (Minotaur, $25.99) does nothing but keep on nodding terms with who he used to be, because he knows that keeping a careful genealogy of his identities is his only chance of staying alive. His name is (sometimes) Alexsi and he stands out in his orphanage for his resourcefulness and instinct for escape; these gifts, after a brief interlude running guns in Iran, lead to his recruitment as a Russian spy, just in time for World War II. Hurray. That recruitment is the fulcrum of "A Single Spy," but despite being a war novel it's more "Odyssey" than "Iliad," with its hero on the perpetual run. Alexsi twists out of countless dead ends, and Christie does, too; each time his tale seems to be drawing into a cul-de-sac, he pulls it sharply and headily in some new direction, from Azerbaijan to Moscow to Germany, Alexsi shifting between passports, killing easily when he must, trying to balance the ruthless spymasters who would be delighted to sacrifice his disloyalty to the state. "Ugadat, ugodit, utselet," Alexsi tells himself. "Sniffout, suck up, survive." This is a subject too little acknowledged in thrillers, the giftthat some people have for life, for going on living. Because of his (marvelously credible) character, Alexsi's survival seems both impossible and inevitable. The spy novel keeps trying to save the world, but the beauty of "A Single Spy," what makes it a truly great example of a genre that has not lately been very good at all, is how closely it sticks to Alexsi's crucial, statistically meaningless survival, the slight cant of his personhood. It reminded me in this sense of "The Orphan Master's Son," by Adam Johnson, another novel about a state's unrelenting effort to deindividualize its members. Of course, the problem with humans is that the largest unit they come in is one; otherwise, totalitarianism would be a breeze. Alexsi's stubborn defiance of any state's rules - he betrays Russia to Germany to England to Russia to England, betrays everyone but himself - captures a thread that runs through all five of these worthwhile novels, the idea of holding out against dishonesty, slipping through its maze to remain true to one's self. Who knows how relevant that example may become in the next 1,250 days? What are your favorite thrillers for the beach? "At the top of my list is John Grisham's 'Camino Island,' a 'trouble in paradise' tale in which a central character is a bookseller. Noah Hawley's 'Before the Fall' takes offafter a mysterious plane crash. I'm also a fan of Y.A. - E. Lockhart's 'We Were Liars' has a twist most readers won't see coming." -JAMES PATTERSON

  Publishers Weekly Review

Helena Pelletier, Dionne's title character, protagonist, and narrator, is living a happy, uneventful life in Michigan's Upper Peninsula with her husband and two young daughters when that tranquility is shattered by the news that an infamous murderer and child molester has escaped from a nearby prison. Reader Rankin captures all of Helena's fearful concern as she explains that the escapee is her father, Jacob Holbrook, a monster who abducted her mother at age 14 and kept her and Helena captive in a cabin in the middle of an uncultivated, otherwise unpopulated marshland. Actor Rankin moves from present to past effortlessly, switching from the soft-voiced but strong-willed adult Helena, searching for her father, to the confused, troubled, yet adoring child of a mesmerizing madman. She also gives two versions of Jacob: In Helena's memory, the wilderness man sounds powerful and omnipotent and cruel. Newly freed after over a decade of imprisonment, he's croakier, wilier, and unpleasantly ingratiating. As the novel nears the moment when Helena discovers whether the smart but humane daughter can defeat her craftier sociopathic father, Rankin's enactment revs up the tension. A Putnam hardcover. (June) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
THE INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER <br> <br> "Brilliant....About as good as a thriller can be."-- The New York Times Book Review <p> " A] nail-biter perfect for Room fans."-- Cosmopolitan<br> <br> "Sensationally good psychological suspense."--Lee Child <p> Praised by Karin Slaughter and Megan Abbott, The 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. <p> 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. <p> 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. <p> A Michigan Notable Book
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