Blurb: For years, rumours of the ‘Marsh Girl’ have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be loved. When two young men become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life – until the unthinkable happens.
Title: Where the Crawdads Sing
Author: Delia Owens
Genre: Fiction, Literary Fiction, Historical
All Kya knows is loneliness and the marsh. Abandoned by everyone she’s ever loved, she keeps to herself and is the subject of cruel whisperings from the townsfolk who know her only as the Marsh Girl. But when Kya grows up, some boys start to take notice of her and it doesn’t necessarily make her quiet life any better.
This book was very kindly gifted to me as a Secret Santa present last Christmas and it’s been staring at me from my shelves ever since. I’d added it to my wish list on a whim purely based on the fact that I was seeing it everywhere and I’ve never been so grateful to past me. Right away I was pulled into the story of young Kya who is very quickly left to fend for herself at the tender age of six when her mother, father and siblings all go their separate ways. Immediately this connected me to both the story and the character as I so badly wanted to help the lonely little girl. I was fascinated by Kya’s character as she amazed me multiple times by not only figuring out how to survive alone but also by being able to really carve out a life for herself that she found joy in. My heart ached for her throughout the book and I even shed a tear or two as I watched Kya struggle on. She’s three dimensional and wonderfully written, making her a character you can’t help but feel for. To add to that, you can really see the author’s own knowledge of the natural world shining through which not only made the story more believable and grounded in reality, but was also a lovely nod to the author’s life. The story moves at a good pace, flicking back and forth in time to give us lots of context and to offer a really in depth look at Kya’s life and how we got to the events that dominate the story. I also want to note here that although the chapters jump around quite a bit between years and often flick from past to present and back again, I never once found myself lost or confused. Each chapter has the year in which it took place at the start and we’re often either reminded of Kya’s age at the time or another date of significance that helps to guide you.
I also can’t write a review of this book without praising the writing style. I’m not sure exactly what it was, perhaps it was the rich, detailed descriptions, but there’s something magical about the way this story is told. It genuinely feels like this is the work of an author who’s been writing fiction for years, not a debut! I can’t think of a way to explain it so you’ll have to pick it up and give it a chance yourself.
As for what I disliked, it’s difficult to think of something. The only thing I’d note (and I’ll try to avoid spoilers here) was that I wanted a scene where we got to see what actually happened on the night that Chase died. We get enough information to be able to piece it together but I would have enjoyed getting to read a full scene, especially as I loved the writing style so much.
Overall, I can’t recommend this book enough if you’re after something that’s so beautifully crafted that it’ll make your heart ache.
Have you read this book? Or maybe you’ve read something similar? What did you think? I’d love to know!
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