Title: The Mapmaker's Children
Author: Sarah McCoy
Publisher: Broadway Books
Pages: Paperback; 336
Release Date: February 9, 2016
Source: TLC Book Tours
Genre: Historical Fiction
HDB Rating: 5 Keys to My Heart
Recommended to: Readers who enjoy lushly written historical fiction with vivid characters.
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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.
I find it necessary to tell you that I'm an extremely picky reader when it comes to Historical Fiction. As a genre, it just never seems to hold my attention as well as most others. However, once in a while I find a gem. A book that not only captures my imagination, but enfolds me in the rich history that hides inside of it. Sarah McCoy creates this beautiful, lifelike story that just begs you to keep reading. I'm proud to say that I devoured this book, and was eager for more.
The Mapmaker's Children brings to life the story of Sarah Brown, the daughter of abolitionist leader John Brown. While this is fiction, you can tell that there is a hefty amount of fact woven seamlessly in. Sarah's bravery, her artistic ability, her fierce love for her family, were all penned expertly into this story. I felt like I was right beside her, for all the pain and all the joy. She was such a strong woman, and I took an instant liking to her passion for the fight. With every page, I grew to love her more and more. McCoy makes you care, and it's brilliant. Brilliant, and heartbreaking.
Tied up in Sarah's story is the story of another, more modern day, woman named Eden. In fact, The Mapmaker's Children is told in alternating chapters between these two. Generally I'm not a fan of alternating points of view. In this case though, it works just perfectly. See, Eden's home holds secrets. Secrets that, as I soon discovered, directly tied in to Sarah's history as well. I was enamored with this fact. That two women, so similar and yet so different, could be tied together by fate. If Sarah's character wasn't enough to make me love this book, seeing her history slowly uncovered in parallel with Eden's life made it all the more enjoyable. I won't spoil, but trust me when I say that it's well worth the wait.
Truly, I could go on and on about this book. There's so much to it. It has this lushness about it that just makes you fall into the pages and not want to crawl out again. The settings are vivid, the characters are three dimensional, and the entire book has this sense of familial love to it that just made me feel at home. It takes a lot to impress me lately, but this book absolutely did. The Mapmaker's Children definitely deserves a space on your to-be-read pile.
FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.