Title: The Mapmaker’s Children
Author: Sarah McCoy
Publication date: May 5, 2015
Genre: Historical fiction
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.
From the very first page, I was hooked. I read a little over 100 pages the first night and didn’t sleep until I finished it, on the second night. Yes, it’s that amazing!
The story alternates between past and present, shedding light on Sarah Brown (a young woman during the UGRR movement) and Eden ( a young woman married with some scars of her own). Eventually, their stories intersect and show how much the past can shape the future, while also bringing closure and peace to the past.
Sarah is the daughter of abolitionist, John Brown, and uses her talent of artistry to help with the UGRR movement. Eden finds a porcelain head with unusual drawings, a key, and a button that place that doll in the time frame of when Sarah was visiting the Hill family and helping them with those trying to flee the South. Sarah is a strong woman, who is extremely courageous and intelligent. She becomes even more vigilant to help the UGRR after her father is caught and hung for his “crimes”. It was interesting to learn the ways people communicated back then and the code words they had to use to share news. Time was a factor, too, so that messages had to be changed and revised often. There were many times that I felt that I couldn’t read fast enough, as I was eager to know what was happening next in Sarah’s life and those of her loved ones.
Eden is a woman, who is married and feels she has reached the end of the road in her marriage. After her last miscarriage, Eden’s husband gets her a dog, named CricKet. Worried she won’t bond with the dog, Eden’s husband hires a little girl to take care of the dog. Cleo is a young, vibrant, spunky, and super charming little girl. She helps Eden adjust to the new town, helps with the baking of some CricKet BisKits, and teaches her some valuable lessons along the way.
This book is so much more than just another story about slavery and the crusade that the Brown and Hill family fought. It’s about forgiveness, finding the silver lining, friendships, lost loves, and new beginnings. Many have heard of John Brown, but not many know about his daughter, Sarah Brown, and the courage she had to continue his work. John Brown’s death didn’t stop the family and others from pushing forward. Sarah is strong, courageous, and goes against tradition and expectations for women of that time period. Through her artistry, she is determined to finish her father’s work and be part of the fabric of change.
Sarah McCoy flawlessly brings these two very separate and individual women together, showing how the past helps the future and how history can help mend relationships, too. Most importantly, this novel shows two brave women, who are not defined by their pain and struggles, rather, they use it as a catalyst to do something greater and bigger than even they imagine. While Sarah works at saving her family and friends, Eden’s challenge is learning to trust people to join her inner circle of friends and family, too.
I loved the historical nuggets that Sarah McCoy includes in novel, along with some pictures. I am so glad she chose to write their story, as these women certainly had a lot to share! Sarah even shares the recipes to CricKet BisKits, which plays a big part in how everyone comes together and builds relationships with each other. Those who love historical fiction will love this book! It also makes for a great book club pick because the discussions will be endless! Overall, this is a book that I didn’t want to end! I know this is a book that will be discussed for many years to come and will be appreciated by those who love a great story about heroines, who were at one time forgotten.
P.S. As a fan of the tv show,” Shark Tank”, I laughed when I read Cleo’s suggestion! You will just have to read the book to know what I’m talking about.
*This book was provided by TLC Book Tours for review consideration.
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. Sarah enjoys connecting with her readers on Twitter at @SarahMMcCoy, on her Facebook Fan Page or via her website, www.sarahmccoy.com.
Sarah McCoy’s Book Tour Schedule:
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
Monday, May 25th: Diary of an Eccentric
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
Tuesday, June 16th: Kahakai Kitchen
TBD: 2 Kids and Tired Book Reviews
TBD: Readers’ Oasis
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One winner will receive a copy of the book. It’s open to US and Canada.
Giveaway ends June 12, 2015.