WHEN THE CRAWDADS SING by Delia Owens

A novel about a young woman determined to make her way in the wilds of North Carolina, and the two men that will break her isolation open.

For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. She’s barefoot and wild; unfit for polite society. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark.

But Kya is not what they say. Abandoned at age ten, she has survived on her own in the marsh that she calls home. A born naturalist with just one day of school, she takes life lessons from the land, learning from the false signals of fireflies the real way of this world. But while she could have lived in solitude forever, the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. Drawn to two young men from town, who are each intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new and startling world–until the unthinkable happens.


Title : Where The Crawdads Sing
Author : Delia Owens
Format : Paperback Arc
Page Count : 368
Genre : Literary Fiction
Publisher : Corsair/Little Brown
Release Date : December 12, 2019

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★ .5


Micky’s 4.5 star review

WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING was a singular story, carried by a cast of many in the background but only Kya in the foreground. It was a story evoking strong emotion, anger and empathy and I experienced all of these feelings many times whilst reading. It was also a tough reading experience from a contextual perspective in a number of way and therefore there may be trigger themes for some readers.

Kya was a young girl, a ‘marsh girl’ abandoned by first her mother, then her siblings and finally by her father. She resided in a shack in the marshlands and learnt how to live. This aspect was much of the early book and my heart ached on reading. Kya was vulnerable, naive but a survivor with the kind of resilience that was hewn out of circumstance; it was do or die. Seeing Kya’s unfulfilled longing for love and relationships was distressing. There were themes of racism, prejudice and extreme poverty. I felt that these aspects were written exceptionally well with such tangibility.

There were people who came into Kya’s life and made it bearable, Jumpin’, Mable and Tate. I adored Jumpin’ and I loved Tate’s desire to help Kya without wanting anything from her. The lack of plain sailing was inevitable but it stung to read how things turned out. Chase was rotten from the first encounter and it was hard to see Kya’s naivety lead her in a sticky direction. The mystery that later unfolded was fascinating in a painful way.

The narrative and description in this book was decadent in terms of the flora and fauna but there were no holds barred in terms of the reality of marsh and shack life. Delia Owens had a way of bringing nature to life, birds, trees and feathers, through their sights and sounds. My visualisation was vivid and that was down to the descriptive prose.

I was grateful for the time frame and the journey in this book. I was relieved to have answers at the end and some surprises. This book has the kind of story that would appeal widely, regardless of what genre you might prefer; it is worth any reader’s time. WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING was a rare case of a book that lasts a lifetime and I sense it could also stay with me as long.

Thank you to Corsair and Little Brown for the proof copy for review.