When I’m picking a new novel to read, it seems like I constantly gravitate toward historical fiction. I love the idea of escaping into the past, picturing what the characters wore, experiencing all the sensory details of a time long-gone, and thinking about how the past still impacts the present. Sarah McCoy’s The Mapmaker’s Children caught my attention because it is set in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, one of my favorite places to spend a day in nature, with its gorgeous view of the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers. I also thought the idea of telling a story from the perspective of John Brown’s daughter sounded intriguing.
Here is the synopsis:
Sarah Brown, the vibrant, talented daughter of abolitionist John Brown, is dynamically changed when she stumbles onto her father’s work on the Underground Railroad shortly after being told the shocking news that she won’t ever bear children. Realizing that her artistic talents may be able to help save the lives of slaves fleeing north, she becomes one of the movement’s leading mapmakers, hiding maps within her paintings while bigotry and hatred steer the country toward a bloody civil war.
Interwoven with Sarah’s adventure is the present-day story of Eden, a modern woman desperate to conceive a child with her husband, who moves to an old house in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. 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. Sarah and Eden’s connection bridges the past and present, forcing each of them to define courage, family, love, and legacy in a new way.
Sarah McCoy had me from the beginning of the book with her descriptive prose. Her storytelling ability is wonderful, though honestly I tend to always like the story from the past better than the present day one when I’m reading a novel that weaves present and past. If you are a fan of historical fiction, I would definitely recommend this book.
Blogging for Books sent me a copy of this novel in return for my honest opinion.