The tidal marsh is a character in this beautifully written novel about abandonment, love, and survival. Young Kya is left alone to fend for herself in the marsh by her siblings, her abused mother, and her drunken father. She is helped by a few locals, including the gas dock owner, his wife, and most significantly by Tate, who teaches her to read and write. Kya’s isolation, love of the marsh, and innate talent make her a superb observer and chronicler of marsh life. In fact, aided and encouraged by Tate, she publishes several beautiful and significant books on marsh animal and plant life. Her isolation also leaves her vulnerable to the attentions of Chase, which turns to obsession when she ends the relationship. Kya is a heroine who saves herself, in spite of the significant obstacles she faces.