Book eight of my books read so far this year is completely worthy of its own blog post to grace you this week.

The coming of age novel is much more that the murder mystery that first intrigues you, it reminds us to be true to ourselves.

There is something for everyone within this novel, for me that was identity:

The ‘Marsh Girl’ is effectively an outcast from society. She is portrayed by onlookers as wild, unruly, uncivilised, and uneducated.

Admittedly, some of these elements are somewhat true: Kya lives in the wild and people-less marsh, she hasn’t had a ‘proper’ upbringing and has practically raised herself.

For this reason, most avoid the ‘Marsh Girl’ as though she is dirty and unpleasant.

Kya, abandoned by her family, finds friends in the Marsh. She finds comfort in the gulls and peace with the her feet in the water, and spends her time learning all about the Marsh. As she finds passion in the Marsh, she also begins to find herself too including her name; Catherine Danielle Clark.

As she grows older two boys from the town find Kya intriguing and begin to fall for the once thought wild ‘Marsh Girl’, and begin to see her for the sensitive, captivating, and intelligent Kya that she is. Tate teaches her how to read before he goes to university, and Chase sparks her womanhood.

This romance entwined with the overarching murder plot in the novel that reinforces the misinterpreted portrayal of societies views of Kya as a ‘Marsh Girl’ heartbreakingly shows why even if she wanted to leave the Marsh, she couldn’t. She is defined by others as unruly and cannot escape their definitions and as a result becomes the seemingly only possible murderer of Chase Andrews because of their misconceptions.

Throughout the romance, mystery and suffering that Kya is put through; she stands taller than her loneliness and studies the Marsh and does what makes her happy. She fulfils her identity and passions through her studies and publications on the Marsh regardless of what others think. She remains true to herself.

Her growth and passion is beautiful and inspiring.

Even though identity is what I took most from this novel, Delia Owens also writes a fabulous plot. The flicking between the past and present of Kya’s life and growing suspension of her as a murder suspect is brilliantly written, as well as all the relationships Kya forms with both human and nature. There is something for everyone in this novel.

It was a very original novel and really beautiful to read, albeit a bit painful at times on behalf of Kya’s suffering.

I highly recommend this book and hope you enjoy reading it if you fancy giving it a go.