This book was on the top ten bestsellers for ages and I can see why. It is a beautiful story. It took me a few pages in to really appreciate the tale. However it begins in 1952 with six year old Kya Clark who lives in a rundown shack off the marshland of Barkley Gove, North Carolina. She faces horrible family breakdown and soon finds herself surviving in marshland alone. But she is not really alone – she has the gulls and the other wildlife to accompany her. Soon her isolated life is broken by the arrival of two very different young men who are captivated by her wild beauty.
Then in 1969 Chase Andrews, the local “jock” is found dead and the locals immediately suspect Kya, the “Marsh Girl”. The story moves from a coming of age story to a murder mystery. The descriptions of the marshland are gorgeous and you can feel the heat and swampland off the page. Highly recommended.