The story of the wild child is not new, but it's done very well here with only a touch of implausibility. The murder mystery was very well done, and I loved that I was still undecided about the identity of the killer until the end. Kya's comparison of the small-town prosecutor to the weaker marsh animals' antics to make themselves appear bigger, stronger, and more desirable was purely delicious. The marsh is the real star of this story, with plenty of beautiful, satisfying detail. The descriptions of Kya feeding the gulls made my heart ache with longing for that experience.
Where the author fails pretty miserably is in trying to write dialogue in the vernacular. To do that well, a writer must pay close attention to consistency, which Ms. Owens does not. She has words and like sounds pronounced differently in the space of a single sentence, and more often than not, this reader was yanked right out of the story by the clumsy attempts at conveying an accent. Her rendering of the "colored" language was especially caricatured, to a painful degree. "Gwine"? Really? It's a shame that the enjoyment of growing to love this wild, solitary woman was interrupted by something so easily avoided.