“Where the Crawdads Sing” by Delia Owens is a beautiful novel steeped in the deep south with shades of nature, coming-of-age, mystery and murder.

For anyone who loves their remote, wild landscape, “Where the Crawdads Sing” will ring true to the small town aspects, the lonely woods one calls home and finding friends in the birds and the trees. 

Whispered tales and rumors of the “Marsh Girl” have long been shared and kept alive in Barkley Cove, a quiet town along the North Carolina coast. When a handsome local is found dead in 1969, the Marsh Girl — Kya Clark — is immediately suspected and blamed. 

Kya, though different and an outcast in her own community, is not what the vicious rumors say. Intelligent, sensitive and a fierce loner, she has survived alone for years from a child to now a young woman in the marshes where she has created a home within the reeds, friends in the gulls and lessons from the land. 

It’s when Kya meets two men, both intrigued by her wild beauty, that her untamed life spins out of control. Attempting to open herself to a new way of life, the unthinkable occurs. 

“Where the Crawdads Sing” is both a both a gripping mystery and a well-told coming-of-age that pays homage to the beauty of wilderness all with the twists of a possible murder. The novel is at times sad and heart-breaking yet beautiful as Kya rebuilds her life and learns to trust making connections with other people. The imagery of the southern coastal marshes is both hauntingly lovely and at times intimidating. It paints incredible descriptions of life in the isolation of nature. The emotional imagery also is touching and well-conveyed on every page. The writing is sharp and a truly unique voice. 

I look forward to reading more by this debut author. 

“Sometimes she heard night-sounds she didn’t know or jumped from lightning too close, but whenever she stumbled, it was the land who caught her. Until at last, at some unclaimed moment, the heart-pain seeped away like water into sand. Still there, but deep. Kya laid her hand upon the breathing, wet earth, and the marsh became her mother.”