The Mapmaker’s Children
By Sarah McCoy
Publisher: Broadway Books
Release date: February 9, 2016
Genre: Literary Fiction
Length: 332 Pages
About the book:
Have you ever wondered if your decisions could change the course of history? Questioned whether or not bad things happen for a reason?
In Sarah McCoy's THE MAPMAKER'S CHILDREN: A Novel (in paperback February 9, 2016), two women's lives are inextricably linked as they struggle through personal conflicts and wade through mysterious secrets. As the chapters alternate between these two commanding female protagonists, the reader must redefine courage, family, and destiny alongside these two remarkable women.
Sarah Brown, the fiercely independent daughter of abolitionist John Brown, is a talented artist in 1860s West Virginia. When Sarah discovers that she cannot bear children, she turns her skills toward helping others and becomes one of the foremost mapmakers for the Underground Railroad.
Taking cues from Slave Quilt codes, she hides maps within her paintings as the United States moves toward a bloody civil war.
Over one hundred and fifty years later, Eden Anderson, a modern-day woman struggling to conceive a child, moves into an old house in West Virginia as a last-ditch effort to save her marriage and start a family. When she stumbles across part of an old porcelain doll in the root cellar, Eden slowly uncovers a dramatic connection to the Underground Railroad.
McCoy, whose novel The Baker's Daughter was a nominee for the 2012 Goodreads Choice Award for Best Historical Fiction, spent three years researching the Brown family history. This research became the basis for her inventive narrative, one in which McCoy honorably portrays the spirit ofthe real Sarah Brown and imagines her ties to the fictional Eden. Skillfully plotted and magnificently transporting, THE MAPMAKER'S
CHILDREN highlights the power of community and legacy, illustrating the ways in which history and destiny are interconnected on one enormous, intricate map.
About Sarah McCoy
SARAH McCOY is the New York Times, USA Today, and international bestselling author of the 2012 Goodreads Choice Award for Best Historical Fiction nominee The Baker's Daughter as well as The Time It Snowed in Puerto Rico and the novella "The Branch of Hazel" in Grand Central. She has taught English writing at Old Dominion University and at the University of Texas at El Paso. She calls Virginia home but presently lives with her husband and their dog, Gilly, in El Paso, Texas.
Sarah enjoys connecting with her readers on Twitter at @SarahMMcCoy, on her Facebook Fan Page or via her website, www.sarahmccoy.com.
What makes a family? Does a family only exist when there are parents and children? Or is family something we each have to define for ourselves? You might think those are strange questions to begin a book review but they’re just some of the questions I asked and answered for myself while reading The Mapmaker’s Children by Sarah McCoy. A beautifully written literary novel, Ms. McCoy’s tale is told by two very different women who were born generations apart. Alternating her characters voices by chapter, Ms. McCoy deals with some very heavy topics; slavery, freedom, human rights, infertility, marriage and family. If you like books that alternate between the past and the present, deal with important and often difficult issues, and make you laugh and then cry, this is a book you’ll want to put at the top of your reading list.Ms. McCoy begins her story by introducing us to a house in New Charlestown, Virginia. A house purchased by a father and son, who plan to “flip” it and make a profit, however as things often happen when family members attempt to do business together feelings get hurt, insults are hurled and the house sat empty for a couple more years. Ms. McCoy then introduces us to the two main characters who will tell us their stories – Sarah Brown, daughter of the famous abolitionist John Brown, and the mapmaker of the book’s title, and Eden Norton, a modern day woman dealing with infertility and a marriage that’s falling apart. While separated by time and circumstance, Eden’s life will forever be changed by what she learns about Sarah. I easily connected with Sarah’s character and found her to be intelligent, brave and determined. I had a harder time connecting to Eden, she was difficult to like at first, but she did grow on me and I eventually found myself equally invested in both women’s story.The secondary characters; Sarah’s family, friends and her “children”, along with Eden’s husband Jack Anderson, her neighbor’s granddaughter Cleo and their neighbors in New Charlestown, were all well developed and contributed a lot to both stories. Ms. McCoy did a good job blending the historical background and events that could have taken place in Sarah’s life and also did a good job with the current timeline. One of my favorite characters of course is “Cricket”, the dog Jack brings home after another attempt at IVF(Invitro) has failed, who brings everyone in the current timeline together.Will Eden discover that there’s more to “family” than blood relations? Will she give Jack, and their marriage another chance? Will Eden and Cleo’s investigation into the history of a doll they discover in the house help them uncover Sarah’s history and what happened to “her children”? You’ll have to read The Mapmaker’s Children to find out, I loved it and can’t wait to read another of Ms. McCoy’s books.My Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars and a Recommended Read.
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FTC Disclosure: I was provided a complimentary copy of this book as a part of a book tour for a fair and honest review.