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Tuesday, August 11, 2015

The Mapmaker's Children by Sarah McCoy Book Review

The Mapmaker’s Children is marked by rich, closely observed storytelling full of warmth and heart.”
Charles Frazier, New York Times bestselling author of National Book Award winner Cold Mountain
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.

Praise for The Mapmaker’s Children

“McCoy deftly intertwines a historical tale with a modern one… lovingly constructed… passionately told… The Mapmaker’s Children not only honors the accomplishments of a little-known woman but artfully demonstrates how fate carries us in unexpected directions, no matter how we might try to map out our lives.”
The Washington Post

“In vibrant yet unassuming prose, McCoy tells a story of womanhood past and present, asking big questions about family, courage and love. Readers will enjoy solving the historical puzzle of the doll’s origins, but the book’s true strength is its portrayal of Eden and Sarah: two brave women bound together by the difficult, noble work of building worthwhile lives.”
— Shelf Awareness

“Engaging and emotionally charged… Eden’s realization that ‘what fable and history could agree upon was that everyone was searching for their ever-after, whatever that may be’ neatly sums up the novel’s heart—it’s about the family and the life we create, not always the ones we imagine for ourselves.”Kirkus
“McCoy carefully juxtaposes the past and the present, highlighting the characters’ true introspection, and slowly revealing the unusual similarities in the two woman’s lives, which leads to a riveting conclusion.”
Publisher’s Weekly
“A fascinating peek into the personal life of the legendary John Brown and keep the pages turning. The Mapmaker’s Children serves as a reminder of how objects persist, such as Sarah’s doll, and how memories connected with those objects can last through generations.”
“Sarah McCoy has illuminated a forgotten corner of American history with her signature empathy and spirit.”Mary Doria Russell, New York Times bestselling author of Doc and Epitaph
“I love the way this novel connects the past to the present. At first, these two heroines from different centuries seem to have little in common. But defining moments of bravery and resilience echo across generations for a truly satisfying story.”
Laura Moriarty, New York Times bestselling author of The Chaperone
“Poignant and deeply absorbing. McCoy weaves this moving tale of two women finding their way with style and thoughtfulness.”
Madeline Miller, New York Times bestselling author of Orange Prize winner The Song of Achilles
The Mapmaker’s Children is marked by rich, closely observed storytelling full of warmth and heart.”
—Charles Frazier, New York Times bestselling author of National Book Award winner Cold Mountain

“Linking a contemporary woman named Eden with the daughter of abolitionist John Brown is a provocative idea, and McCoy has the skills to pull off something talk-worthy…”Library JournalHot Book Club Reads for Summer 2015

SARAH McCOY is the New York Times, USA Today, and international bestselling author of The Mapmaker’s Children; The Baker’s Daughter, a 2012 Goodreads Choice Award Best Historical Fiction nominee; the novella “The Branch of Hazel,” featured in the anthology Grand Central; and The Time It Snowed in Puerto Rico.
Sarah’s 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.
The daughter of an Army officer, her family was stationed in Germany during her childhood. She calls Virginia home but presently lives with her husband, an Army physician, and dog, Gilbert, in El Paso, Texas.

The Unofficial Bio

I was born in Fort Knox, Kentucky, the daughter of an Army officer from Oklahoma and a Puerto Rican elementary school teacher. Being an Army brat, I didn’t stay in the Bluegrass State long enough to wear a Derby hat or sip the whiskey. By two years old, Edelweiss was my lullaby in Frankfurt, Germany, and so my gypsy life began. My family (me plus two baby brothers, now fully grown and married) moved every ten months to two years until I hit thirteen. Then, by the grace of God, the Army let us take root in Virginia, and I stayed in the Old Dominion for the next fourteen years. So by all accounts, I consider myself a Virginia lady. Nothing is dearer to me than the morning fog creeping over the Shenandoah Mountains, the sweet smell of cherry blossoms along the Potomac, or the lonesome horn of a ship in Norfolk harbor. But being the inherent wanderer, my love of travel and different cultures continues to weigh heavy on my life and writing.

It goes without saying that I’ve had a lifelong love affair with creative writing. But I’ve found that just about every published author has a similar tale: “From the time I could write my ABC’s, I’ve been writing little ‘books’ for my family and friends.” And so it was for me. I think I presented my mom with my first “book” when I was in pre-school. It had a cover design (tulips on a lawn, drawn by yours truly) and opened (like a book) to rows of carefully formed words of devotion for my mom and dad that culminated with “I love you.” The End.

I’ve tried to progress from there. Throughout my elementary and high school education, I found ways and reasons to hide out in the library, tipsy on the reading possibilities around, and writing, always writing diaries, essays, fiction stories, school news articles, poems, reviews, whatever! All that eventually led me to Virginia Tech, majoring in journalism and public relations. I was dead-set I’d either be an on-air reporter or a magazine writer. Either way, I was fascinated by people, places and most importantly, stories. But then a little birdie told me that journalists didn’t make a dime, and I started to think twice. After all, I had student loans to pay back! So on graduation, I took a job as a public relations coordinator at a chemical company in Richmond, Virginia. It put food on my table but didn’t exactly feed the soul. I spent my days doing technical writing and my nights writing fiction. In fact, I wrote a whole novel—gobbledygook, yes, but it showed me what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.

I applied to an MFA program at Old Dominion University near where my husband (fiancé at the time) was in medical school. I was ecstatic to be accepted and nervously quit my job to move to Norfolk, Virginia and join the unpaid, indebted graduate student ranks. I couldn’t have been happier. In that program, I met some of the most instrumental people of my life and wrote my first novel, The Time It Snowed In Puerto Rico.

Puerto Rico? People asked. Yes, Puerto Rico. Despite my transient childhood, I always felt my “home-home” was the one stable location where I had a majority of family on my mother’s side. Growing up, we’d fly to Puerto Rico once or twice a year. My grandparents lived and owned a farm in Aibonito, in the mountainous heart of the island. The farm had seen my grandfather plant beans and corn, my great-grandfather sugarcane, and my great-great grandfather tobacco. Land is as constant as it comes! And unlike my ever-changing military childhood, I could always count on the island, my people and their stories. So it was natural that my first novel be set in that rich, beautiful culture. My grandparents still live on the farm with a majority of my second-cousins, great-titis and tios, etcetera spread from San Juan to Mayaguez.

So how did I end up in Texas? It just so happened that my husband and I graduated from our respective graduate programs the same year. He was at med school on an Army scholarship and so, off we went to Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas, for his military residency. He’s a bone guy, an orthopedic doc. I get to hear a lot about fractures and splints and diabetic feet around the dinner table. And despite knowing him for nearly two decades, I still find him the most interesting, funniest man I’ve ever met. He sees me through long, dark days of writing for eight hours straight, my hair and teeth un-brushed, my face unwashed, the same stinky clothes for days, and he still calls me beautiful. Don’t ask me why—I’m a complete writing troll!

I wrote my second novel, The Baker’s Daughter, in El Paso, and it certainly served as inspiration.  The Mapmaker’s Children, set in contemporary and Civil War West Virginia, released in May 2015. I’m currently working on my fourth historical novel. Like‘ my Facebook Fan page for more info on that!

My review;
"The Mapmaker's Children", was a very interesting novel. It is the story of 2 women who are from different worlds. One of them lives in a tumultuous time in our history and the other lives in our modern day. Sarah Brown was a woman who loved others. She saved a lot of people that would not have lived without her help.  Eden the modern day woman wants desperately to have children and has done everything humanly possible but has still not been able to have a child. The author has written a novel with many twists and turns that are very touching. I liked the way that the author goes backand forth between the two women's lives. I give the book a 4/5. I was given this book by Blogging for Books and all opinions a re my own.

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