• Hardcover: 320 pages
• Publisher: Crown (May 5, 2015)
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.
Buy, read, and discuss The Mapmaker’s Children
SARAH McCOY is the New York Times, USA Today, and international bestselling author of The Baker’s Daughter, a 2012 Goodreads Choice Award Best Historical Fiction nominee; the novella “The Branch of Hazel” in Grand Central; The Time It Snowed in Puerto Rico; and The Mapmaker’s Children (Crown, May 5, 2015).
Her 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. She calls Virginia home but presently lives with her husband, an Army physician, and their dog, Gilly, in El Paso, Texas.
Connect with Sarah
There are novels that you pick up thinking, “Hmm, this might be interesting,” and then you forget you have them until weeks later, when they resurface and you find yourself gripped – completely gripped – by the story, and kicking yourself for not reading it the second you got home. The Mapmaker’s Children was almost like that for me, because the original galley provider ignored my request for it more than once, and then when I finally got it, I was convinced it wasn’t going to be my cup of tea at all.
I was wrong.
I was so very wrong.
First, the historical part of this story – a fictional possibility of what the life of Sarah Brown, daughter of famed abolitionist James Brown (and, yes, you will have the song rolling through the back of your mind as you read this) may have been like, suggesting that she might have followed in her father’s footsteps, and put her artistic talent to use making maps for use on the Underground Railroad, is amazing. Yes, it’s fiction, but it’s fiction that feels completely plausible, especially since the author worked in real world touches. I especially liked the fact that Louisa May Alcott’s book of fairy stories was an important element of the story, and that so many real historical figures (including Louisa and her father Bronson) were rubbing elbows with the fictional, and quasi-fictional characters.
Then, there’s the contemporary part of the story. As a woman in her 40s who has had two miscarriages, Eden’s desperation to have a child resonated with me (though in my case, dogs are totally a substitute for children; I have five.) in a way that I wasn’t expecting. Her story was one where at times I wanted to hug her, at times I wanted to throttle her, and most of the time, I wanted to bake her some scones, brew some really good coffee and sit down for a cathartic venting session.
Author Sarah McCoy wove both stories, one based on history, one based on so many contemporary stories, into one lovely, gorgeous, satisfying tapestry of a novel. It made me want to go upstairs, pull out a quilting book and FINALLY learn to do something beyond hemming pants with my sewing machine. It also made me want to bake organic meatloaf suitable for all members of my family, whether they have two feet or four.
The Mapmaker’s Children is a well-crafted, brilliantly written novel, and I highly recommend it, especially to animal lovers, childless adults, and history buffs.
Goes well with Roasted free-range chicken with buttered carrots, and a spring green salad. Homemade cornbread on the side.
One lucky reader in the USA or Canada will win a copy of this book. How? Leave a comment on this post (include a valid email address in the comment form – only I will see the email address) telling me what historical figure you’d most like to hang out and have coffee with. Alternatively, find my post about this book in my twitter feed (I’m @melysse) and retweet it.
The winner will be announced next Thursday.
Tuesday, April 21st: Savvy Verse & Wit
Wednesday, April 22nd: My Book Retreat
Thursday, April 23rd: BookNAround
Monday, April 27th: Man of La Book
Tuesday, April 28th: 100 Pages a Day…Stephanie’s Book Reviews
Wednesday, April 29th: Always With a Book
Thursday, April 30th: Booksie’s Blog
Monday, May 4th: The Book Binder’s Daughter
Tuesday, May 5th: Books on the Table
Wednesday, May 6th: West Metro Mommy
Thursday, May 7th: Bibliotica
Friday, May 8th: Peeking Between the Pages
Monday, May 11th: Patricia’s Wisdom
Tuesday, May 12th: A Bookish Way of Life
Wednesday, May 13th: A Chick Who Reads
Thursday, May 14th: FictionZeal
Friday, May 15th: Bookshelf Fantasies
Monday, May 18th: Kritters Ramblings
Tuesday, May 19th: Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Wednesday, May 20th: Kahakai Kitchen
Thursday, May 21st: Diary of an Eccentric
Friday, May 22nd: 2 Kids and Tired Book Reviews
Monday, May 25th: Readers’ Oasis
Tuesday, May 26th: Walking With Nora
Wednesday, May 27th: Raven Haired Girl
Thursday, May 28th: Reading Reality
Friday, May 29th: Thoughts On This ‘n That
Monday, June 1st: Doing Dewey
Tuesday, June 2nd: Ms. Nose in a Book
Wednesday, June 3rd: Books in the Burbs
Thursday, June 4th: Drey’s Library
Tuesday, June 9th: The Book Bag
Wednesday, June 10th: Bibliophiliac
Thursday, June 11th: Literary Feline
Friday, June 12th: Broken Teepee
Monday, June 15th: Staircase Wit