Primary Genre: Historical Fiction
Published: 14 Aug 2018 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Page count: 384
Memorable Factor: High
Would I recommend it: Absolutely!
Commission Link: https://amzn.to/2UimbSb
My rating: ★★★★★
Synopsis from Goodreads
For years, rumors 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 touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life–until the unthinkable happens.
I’ve seen all the hype about this book over the past several months and I actually put off reading it because of the massive publicity. More often than not, for me anyway, I am disappointed with highly praised books. I think I just expect too much and then I get let down… but not this time. This book deserves all the praise and hype it has gotten. I’m not sure how much more I can add to the countless reviews that already exist for this book, but I’ve outlined my thoughts anyway. Here are my pros and cons:
- I just spent the last two days in a North Carolina marsh and I loved every minute of it! I was so immersed in the environment that it really felt like I was in the story. I don’t tend to like overly descriptive stories, but this one was so well done that I basked in it.
- I never lost interest… not one time.
- Kya is a great example of exquisite character development. She is a strong, smart, resourceful character and you will absolutely love her.
- I loved how Kya went from abandoned and destitute to fully-functional and self-educated. Educated beyond what many of the local folks achieved – even though they continued to look down on her. I have told many people in my life that if you want something badly enough you can do it – you may have to work harder or longer than others to achieve what you desire but YOU CAN DO IT. Kya didn’t let anything stop her! When she needed something she found an honest way to get it. Everything she had she got from her own hard work, along with a little kindness from others, and I LOVE reading stories about people that persevere.
- Tate is another great character. You will fall in love with Tate.
- I enjoyed the incorporation of science and nature into the story. I particularly loved how Kya’s observations of animals, birds, and insects were symbolic of human relationships and behaviors.
- This book definitely has a To Kill a Mockingbird vibe considering the prejudice, murder, and a courtroom drama; but it wasn’t just a copy of that novel. In an Entertainment Weekly interview in 2018, the author was asked which book made her a forever reader. She identified a nature book first and then said that second place was “To Kill a Mockingbird. One of my all-time favorites, the one who gave me permission to write the truths of the world through the eyes of a little girl.” To Kill a Mockingbird definitely influenced the author, but Where the Crawdads Sing stands strongly on its own merits.
- I mentioned above that the pacing of this story was flawless. I would ultimately describe the pacing as slow, but it wasn’t plodding. You meander through this book. You flow through it effortlessly. You let nature envelope you. You see everything through Kya’s eyes… and there is no need to rush because Kya has all the time in the world.
- The title of the book is brilliant. Unique, relevant, and creative.
- The ending! Didn’t expect it and loved it. Perfect.
- It needed to be longer! Yes, I know this is really a pro, but it is the only thing I can think of that could conceivably be considered wrong with the book! I didn’t want to leave Kya and the marsh… I want more!
The author has written other non-fiction, but this is her first novel. How in the world is this a debut novel? If you made a list of what makes a perfect novel, this book would check off every single box! The characters, the pacing, the style, the plot, the ending… everything was absolute perfection and such a pleasure to read. Delia Owens is a master with words and an expert storyteller. I hope she continues to write fiction because she tells amazing stories.
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