Where the Crawdads Sing, by Delia Owens
Published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 14th August 2018
Genres: Historical fiction, Mystery
Trigger warnings: domestic violence, sexual assault
Rumours of the “Marsh Girl” have circulated for years in the small coastal village of Barkley Cove. Kya Clark is uneducated, barefoot and wild, not fit for civilised society. So when handsome and popular Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya. But Kya is not what everyone thinks she is.
Abandoned by her family and forced to fend for herself from a very young age, Kya is a born naturalist and learned life’s lessons from the land and wildlife around her. But while she has the skills necessary to survive, as she grows up, Kya feels her lack of community ever more keenly. Drawn to two very different young men from the village, she opens herself to a new and startling world, until the unthinkable happens.
Does anyone else have a tendency to avoid reading books when they get so hyped up and talked about everywhere? I don’t know why, but I have often shied away from the books that everyone is reading, the new hot release. Because sometimes they just don’t live up to the hype, and I’d rather find out for myself if I like a book or not, rather than be told something is amazing. For that reason, I have avoided this book for a while, but I am so glad that I finally read it and it surpassed my expectations and the hype!
This is a masterful combination of an intelligent coming-of-age story and a head-scratching mystery, two of my favourite things! The mystery throughout, about who killed Chase, had me hooked. I had my suspicions, but I was never sure of anything and there were constant surprises throughout. I loved it!
The descriptions of the marsh environment in which Kya lives, with its diverse bird and wildlife, really captured my imagination. I was not surprised to find out that the author lived for a large part of her life in Africa. Having spent some time there myself, immersed in the extraordinary natural diversity, I can easily imagine how that would have influenced the author’s writing. And the world she describes on the page is so real you can almost smell the marsh and see the heron fishing and the gulls circling.
I also really loved the switching of time frames, from past to present, from trial to memories. This really helped to set the scene and increase the sense of mystery.
I actually read this book earlier this year, but hadn’t managed to post the review yet, and I have now seen the recent film adaptation. Although not entirely true to the book, I think it it a very good adaptation. It really captures the beautiful world of the marsh and the tension of the trial. I would recommend it to anyone, as with the book.
My rating: 5/5