|When I heard that Delia Owen’s first novel, Where the Crawdads Sing, remained on the New York Times bestseller list for sixty-seven weeks with thirty weeks in the number-one position, I experienced a brief flash of jealousy. After all, I am a hard-working red-blooded author who’d never made that prestigious list once. Book reviewers used terms such as lyrical, lush, painfully beautiful, an unforgettable debut. But more than one year on the list? The summary described Where the Crawdads Sing as a coming-of-age story set in the marshlands of North Carolina with a murder mystery thrown in for good measure, so I knew the book would be my cup-of-tea. With my birthday coming up, I sent hubby out for a hardback copy to see for myself. On the big day, my devoted husband handed over a prettily wrapped package with the greeting, “Here you go, honey, enjoy. But I’m sure you can write just as well as Delia.”|
Armed with a cup of Lady Grey, I curled up in my favorite easy chair and found out very quickly: I certainly could not. Lyrical, mesmerizing, painfully beautiful—the book was everything the critics described and more. Delia Owens pulled me into the story of a mistreated backwoods young woman and made me not only root for Kya, but feel every bit of her pain by the end. Eager for my next trip to the beach, I googled every bug I saw and searched for mushrooms in the woods. What a world Kya lived in with those things most people pay little attention to, even those living on the Carolina coast. Well done, Delia Owens! Where the Crawdads Sing is a masterpiece.
Here’s a summary: 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. Where the Crawdads Sing is at once an exquisite ode to the natural world, a heartbreaking coming-of-age story, and a surprising tale of possible murder. Owens reminds us that we are forever shaped by the children we once were, and that we are all subject to the beautiful and violent secrets that nature keeps.
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