Journal

The Mapmaker’s Children

I have a number of books lined up for the next month or two, so in an effort to get reviews posted in a timely matter, I may be occasionally posting reviews on Wednesday as well.

I hope you enjoy hearing about a few more books!

There is something poignant about novels that are set in both modern day and some point in history. As someone who loves history, I adore stories that jump back and forth. They make the history relevant, and sometimes reveal a part of our natures that we may not have noticed before. Sometimes, there is comfort in knowing that there are people who lived over a hundred years ago that endured something similar to what we are now experiencing. No matter the connection, there is something about these stories that bridge that gap between then and now that leave a lasting impression.

**I received a copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.**

When Sarah Brown, daughter of abolitionist John Brown, realizes that her artistic talents may be able to help save the lives of slaves fleeing north, she becomes one of the Underground Railroad’s leading mapmakers, taking her cues from the slave code quilts and hiding her maps within her paintings. She boldly embraces this calling after being told the shocking news that she can’t bear children, but as the country steers toward bloody civil war, Sarah faces difficult sacrifices that could put all she loves in peril.
Eden, a modern woman desperate to conceive a child with her husband, moves to an old house in the suburbs and discovers a porcelain head hidden in the root cellar—the remains of an Underground Railroad doll with an extraordinary past of secret messages, danger and deliverance.
Ingeniously plotted to a riveting end, Sarah and Eden’s woven lives connect the past to the present, forcing each of them to define courage, family, love, and legacy in a new way.

“Today could not have meaning without the promise of ending.”

-The Mapmaker’s Children

The Mapmaker’s Children is a powerful story that weaves history and modern day stories. Eden Anderson and Sarah Brown (daughter of abolitionist John Brown) both have something in common, the inability to have children. But more than that connects them in this novel. Told through scenes that alternate between modern day and the 1860’s, newspaper articles, and letters, The Mapmaker’s Children bridges the lives of two women that lived over a hundred years apart.

There were parts of this novel that I loved, and other’s not so much. To start with, I had a really hard time enjoying Eden’s story initially. While I was sympathetic to her situation, she as a character annoyed me. Eventually though, the character started to move outside of herself and I found myself wrapped up in her story and all that was going on around her.

I occasionally had the same issues with Sarah Brown–although, the problem seemed to remain within the storytelling of her scenes of the novel. I found moments a bit hard to follow what was going on. But, the story told in these scenes was beautiful and captured the life of a woman that has faded out of history.

Overall, I enjoyed this book. There were a few things I didn’t care for as much, but I loved the way the stories intertwined, and puzzling out some small mysteries within the book. While there were times I wanted to put the book down, I found it harder to do the further on I read.

A Note to My Readers: This book is not Christian fiction and there are a few instances of strong language.

About the Author:

SARAH McCOY is the New York Times, USA Today, and international bestselling author of The Mapmaker’s Children; The Baker’s Daughter, a 2012 Goodreads Choice Award Best Historical Fiction nominee; the novella “The Branch of Hazel,” featured in the anthology Grand Central; and The Time It Snowed in Puerto Rico.

Sarah’s work has been featured in Real Simple, The Millions, Your Health Monthly, Huffington Post and other publications. She has taught English writing at Old Dominion University and at the University of Texas at El Paso.

The daughter of an Army officer, her family was stationed in Germany during her childhood. She calls Virginia home but presently lives with her husband, an Army physician, and dog, Gilbert, in El Paso, Texas.

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