internationally bestselling nonfiction books about her life as a wildlife scientist in Africa including Cry of the Kalahari, her debut novel is an astounding piece of literary fiction.
Prejudice, injustice, solitude and conservation are the main themes in this novel and the narrative is a sensitive and creative ‘tour de force’. The inhabitants of the small town of Barkley Cove are wary and suspicious of the so-called Marsh Girl’, Kya Clark. She has lived a solitary existence on the marshes all her life. Abandoned by her mother and then her siblings, Kya is left as a small child with unpredictable Pa. With no schooling until the conservationist hungry Tate enters her waters, she is a bright and intelligent child whose love of the marsh natural heritage leads her into creative places where the birds become her friends and her artistic prowess is given free reign. Left completely alone at the age of ten the resourcefulness of this child allows her to use all the skills learnt from her Pa and brother Jodie to eke out an existence. She is a curiosity, not least to the immature teenage boys of the town who are fascinated by her wild beauty. But when one of their own, the golden boy of the town, Chase Andrews, is found dead in her territory the town turns on her. What transpires is an enthralling story, weaving together the magic of nature with the harsh realities of small town prejudice. At once a murder mystery, love story and coming-of-age novel. Hugely imaginative Owens has crafted a novel that is memorable and sensitive, yet at its core, disturbing.