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The Mapmaker's Children: A Novel Hardcover – Deckle Edge, May 5, 2015
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Intrusion: A Novel
A loving couple, grieving the loss of their son, finds their marriage in free fall when a beautiful, long-lost acquaintance inserts herself into their lives. Learn More
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“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
“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
"El Paso writer Sarah McCoy mined the archives for information about Brown’s daughter Sarah, an artist who is the titular character of her latest novel, The Mapmaker’s Children. The lacing of the two plots is seamless… [McCoy]’s unquestionably a gifted author.” — Dallas Morning News
“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
“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
“Sarah McCoy has illuminated a forgotten corner of American history with her signature empathy and spirit.” —Mary Doria Russell, author of Doc and Epitaph
“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 Journal, Hot Book Club Reads for Summer 2015
“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 Reviews
“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
“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.” —BookPage
About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
I was eager to see how Sarah McCoy would bring Sarah Brown to life in this novel and I began reading with eager anticipation. This novel alternates between a contemporary storyline and the historical one that revolves around Sarah Brown. I read the prologue and was immediately turned off by the dialogue between the contemporary characters as well as the interaction between them. I was relieved when the narration of the first chapter turned to Sarah's life and the life of her father, John Brown.
Unfortunately every chapter alternates with the contemporary storyline and the contemporary protagonist is such a harsh unlikeable character that I began to dread those chapters. I also didn't care for the precocious neighbor child who acts far to old and knows too much to be a realistic character. I considered only reading the chapters devoted to Sarah Brown's story but I decided that would be silly.
I wish the author had focused solely on the life of Sarah Brown because the contemporary storyline spoiled what might have been a decent book of historical fiction
I equally enjoyed the contemporary story of Eden. Looking back my own four year struggle with infertility seems short but in the moment, unable to see the future blessings, the longing and heartache regularly threatened to overwhelm. The Mapmaker's Children allows the reader to fully feel and sympathize with Eden's extreme emotions. While behaving at time erratically and foolishly, she is an empathetic character.
McCoy successfully weaves Sarah and Eden's stories together to provide continuity and power to their stories. Though at times unnecessarily wordy, The Mapmaker's Children succeeds at being a novel that induces a strong emotional reaction. It made me feel and for that very reason, I loved it.
McCoy presents the often maligned John Brown as a man of faith, a loving husband and father who raises his children to do the right thing and to have compassion for those in need, especially for slaves trying to escape to freedom. Daughter Sarah discovers many escaping slaves struggle to understand the maps her father shows them and asks them to memorize. So instead, the artistic Sarah draws maps with pictures which fleeing slaves are able to grasp and memorize. And so Sarah becomes the top mapmaker for John Brown and his abolitionists’ friends.
McCoy also introduces Eden, a young woman who purchases a new home and is unable to conceive a child, which becomes a major personal problem for her. She discovers in her root cellar the head of a porcelain doll – the remains of a doll from the days of the Underground Railway. McCoy weaves together the adventurous life of Sarah Brown with the struggles of Eden, who through a friendship with a young girl becomes acquainted with an older woman how is a historian and knows some of the secrets of Eden’s home.
I normally shy away from fiction that jumps from one time period to another totally different sets of characters in each but McCoy does a masterful job with this plot technique and pulls it off with relative ease. I love history and enjoy historical fiction and so I really enjoyed reading “The Mapmaker’s Children.”
These two seemingly different women from very different times have more in common than meets the eye. As the author alternates between these two well-developed characters, Eden and Sarah, she weaves an interesting storyline. This is a story of love, sacrifice, and making the most of what a person has in her life. This is an inspiring story.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great book written very well. Hard to put down. Great story weaved with history and fiction but very much based upon facts.Published 1 day ago by Monte A
The Mapmaker's Children tells two stories, over 150 years apart, bound together by a house and a doll's head found in that house. Read morePublished 1 month ago by thoughtsfrommillstreet
Switched back and forth too much betweed 1800s and 2014. At first it was hard to keep the characters straignt. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Lee
Sarah McCoy is a gifted author. Her descriptions are vividly beautiful. I enjoyed the dual narrative and everything about this book. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Tarheels
This book was a bit of a challenge to get through. It is a flip flop back and forth between a modern day woman, Eden and a Civil War era woman, Sarah. Read morePublished 2 months ago by seasons of grace
Two distinctly different storylines mesh and flow together throughout this book. McCoy tells the intriguing story of Sarah Brown, daughter of abolitionist John Brown, while... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Mary Koester