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From the New York Times bestselling author of The Baker's Daughter, a story of family, love, and courage 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 he From the New York Times bestselling author of The Baker's Daughter, a story of family, love, and courage 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.


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From the New York Times bestselling author of The Baker's Daughter, a story of family, love, and courage 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 he From the New York Times bestselling author of The Baker's Daughter, a story of family, love, and courage 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.

30 review for The Mapmaker's Children

  1. 4 out of 5

    Sarah McCoy

    Dear Reader Friends, As the author, I couldn't give THE MAPMAKER'S CHILDREN anything less than five stars. Yes, I'm incurably biased. I aim to write nothing less than my absolute best for you-- readers I consider the BEST GoodReaders on earth. I worked harder on this novel than any before, and I'll admit, I'm completely smitten with the main characters: contemporary Eden and the true, historical Sarah Brown. ☆☆☆☆☆ I hope you FIVE-STAR love them, too, and I pray that if Sarah Brown is looking dow Dear Reader Friends, As the author, I couldn't give THE MAPMAKER'S CHILDREN anything less than five stars. Yes, I'm incurably biased. I aim to write nothing less than my absolute best for you-- readers I consider the BEST GoodReaders on earth. I worked harder on this novel than any before, and I'll admit, I'm completely smitten with the main characters: contemporary Eden and the true, historical Sarah Brown. ☆☆☆☆☆ I hope you FIVE-STAR love them, too, and I pray that if Sarah Brown is looking down from above, she gives a twinkling jazz-hand of approval. I was honored to tell her story. So looking forward to officially sharing this novel with you all on May 5, 2015. Pre-order now and keep your eye to Goodreads giveaway contests for chances to win advance reader copies in the months leading up to release! Yours truly, Sarah

  2. 5 out of 5

    Angela M

    I really enjoyed Sarah McCoy's The Baker's Daughter so I was happy to have the chance to read an advanced copy of her new novel. She has a wonderful way of creating characters that you love and makes history come alive through them. I was equally taken by her storytelling in this book. . This is the story of the Underground Railroad and the brave people who helped the courageous runaway slaves find their way to freedom. It's a story about real people and imagined characters, their real and imagi I really enjoyed Sarah McCoy's The Baker's Daughter so I was happy to have the chance to read an advanced copy of her new novel. She has a wonderful way of creating characters that you love and makes history come alive through them. I was equally taken by her storytelling in this book. . This is the story of the Underground Railroad and the brave people who helped the courageous runaway slaves find their way to freedom. It's a story about real people and imagined characters, their real and imagined lives that bring to life the reality of John Brown, the staunch abolitionist of Harpers Ferry fame and the history of this country in the 1860’s. The story focuses on Sarah Brown, one of his daughters. Sarah McCoy in her notes writes of Sarah Brown, “Between her art education and commissioned pieces, there must be something more. But like her life, they seemed to have come and gone without detailed chronicling and, so they’re buried beside the people she aided as an abolitionist, the orphans she nurtured, the family, friends, and local community to whom she remained devoted.” This is Sarah’s story given to us by another Sarah’s imaginative writing and expert research skills. This is also one of those stories that alternate between the past and the present and in this case the present is 2014. The times are connected by a house, by the head of a porcelain doll, and by ancestors of people in the past. I almost always like the historical story better and I did once again in this case, but one of my favorite characters, next to Sarah, is Cleo, a smart, feisty eleven year old girl who stole my heart in the 2014 story. The present story is Eden Anderson’s story and how she comes to grips with personal struggles with the help of Cleo and a wonderful dog named Cricket. McCoy of Sarah Brown, also says, “I gained strength in the faith she displayed. I was inspired by her as a creative, independent woman. " I was too, Ms. McCoy. She also says “, I took liberties with some of the historical events and facts. I was more concerned with capturing Sarah’s heart ….” And she did it beautifully! I almost gave this 4 stars because I thought that the ending of Eden’s story was a bit predictable, but decided on 5 stars because I loved the ending of Sarah’s story. I highly recommend it. Thanks to Crown Publishing and NetGalley.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Melinda

    I was so excited to read this book, however I found myself let down. I know I am among the minority in my feelings. As you know from my reviews I am worn out with the alternating narratives of past and present. Fully aware alternating narratives will not be disappearing anytime soon, however, when they work they are terrific, when they fail, they take down the entire story. I liked Sarah, I liked her story. Sarah and her family - crusaders against slavery fight with all their might. Their streng I was so excited to read this book, however I found myself let down. I know I am among the minority in my feelings. As you know from my reviews I am worn out with the alternating narratives of past and present. Fully aware alternating narratives will not be disappearing anytime soon, however, when they work they are terrific, when they fail, they take down the entire story. I liked Sarah, I liked her story. Sarah and her family - crusaders against slavery fight with all their might. Their strength, sacrifices along with determination create a fascinating read. In fact the whole entire book could have focused on Sarah and her family and it would have been perfect. Fabulous historical references hold the reader's attention. By far the crux of the book was the Brown's and their firm stance and ultimate goal. Admittedly I wasn't a fan of Eden. I understand her frustration with infertility but my gosh could she try to be a little kinder and a littler stronger. Right off the bat she is angry and defeated, not exactly gaining fans. Such a disparity between the two - Eden pales in comparison to the stellar Sarah. Precocious young Cleo teaches Eden a few lessons, thank goodness. Cleo steals the show to some degree along with Cricket the canine wingman. Personally, if McCoy erased Eden taking another direction we would have a great book, as is it failed to stir me. Cleo and Cricket along with Sarah and her family kept me turning the pages hoping for so much more. No doubt the audience disagrees with me and found much more throughout the narrative and characters than I did.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Aditi

    “Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves” ----Abraham Lincoln Sarah McCoy, the New York Times bestselling and international best-selling American author, pens her new novel, The Mapmaker's Children , that traces the journey of the daughters of the Brown family, who helped the slaves to find their way to freedom through Underground Railroad, though this is a work of fiction, but the events are inspired from the real Sarah Brown and John Brown who were a slave traders of t “Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves” ----Abraham Lincoln Sarah McCoy, the New York Times bestselling and international best-selling American author, pens her new novel, The Mapmaker's Children , that traces the journey of the daughters of the Brown family, who helped the slaves to find their way to freedom through Underground Railroad, though this is a work of fiction, but the events are inspired from the real Sarah Brown and John Brown who were a slave traders of the late 19th century. Synopsis: 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. This story alternates between two timeline and between some real characters and imaginary characters. Sarah Brown, John Brown's daughter, who after her father's death row, works hard to keep up her father's legacy to save the Harpers Ferry's slaves and smuggle them out to unknown destinations. Sarah Brown along with her sister, Annie and her friend, Freddy embark on John Brown's footsteps to be a slave-trader. Sarah's life is a painful as well as a liberating journey, who never got married due to a defect that she could never be a mother, thus leaving the love of her life, Freddy, considering both their happiness. On the other hand, in the present days, we see another woman named, Eden who is going through IVF through ages along with her husband to be a mother in their new town. And while embarking on the hard road to IVFs and hormones, she gave up her old life. But this new town is proving to be a boon for her, when one day her husband brings home a little puppy. The connection between these two characters is the house in New Charlestown, where in a root cellar Eden found the head of an European doll with a number marked on the face of the doll and an old style button, which leads her and her neighbor named, Cleo to investigate further. The inter-parallel lives of both these women were not easy and both had to undergo a lot of personal struggles and their common problem which made them almost similar was their inability to become a mother. The author have skillfully and brilliantly depicted the two timelines and never once leaving us confused with the location and the period change. From the author's evocative writing style, I can comment that the author is a master story-teller who knows what web of mysteries and inter-connected stories she is spinning without getting her readers off the trail. From the very first chapter, I felt completely lost into the story-telling. The prose is beautifully paced, neither too fast not too slow, and given the fact that this is a historical fiction, the author have moderately detailed all the historical facts into her story without leaving us bored with all the details. Moreover, I felt this was more like an emotional journey of Sarah and Eden and how they overcome the challenges and shortcomings in their lives by standing strong and tall into the face of the storm. The characters are very well-developed, I mean the way the author have breathed life into a real character, is something really astounding to read about. Sarah's selfless demeanor captivated my mind from the very begining, whereas on the other hand, I was made to feel sorry for Eden with her short-temper and unhappy lifestyle. The backdrop that the author have portrayed in her book is very vivid and picturesque. The descriptions about Harpers Ferry and New Charlestown both in the present day and in the past are wonderfully captured by the author. In fact every scene inside the household is nicely featured and painted in her story thus letting anyone see through the scenes clearly through their own eyes. In a nutshell, this is a must-read book which will keep anyone engrossed and intrigued till the very end. Verdict: This poignant and heart-touching story is a must-read for everyone. Courtesy: Thanks to the publishers from Crown Publishing for sending me over a copy of the copy in return for an honest review.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Judy

    Quite a disappointment. I was looking forward to a great historical novel about John Brown's daughter, Sarah. It's become so popular to have a split narrative, one historical character and the other current time or at least a different time period. I've read a number of books with this structure and enjoyed them. (As I reflect it seems that women authors do this frequently, but I can't think of any book written by a man that use this technique.). It didn't work for me in this book. I really enjo Quite a disappointment. I was looking forward to a great historical novel about John Brown's daughter, Sarah. It's become so popular to have a split narrative, one historical character and the other current time or at least a different time period. I've read a number of books with this structure and enjoyed them. (As I reflect it seems that women authors do this frequently, but I can't think of any book written by a man that use this technique.). It didn't work for me in this book. I really enjoyed the segments about Sarah Brown, and she seemed a real character. I don't know how much of it is based on historical evidence, however. The current-day character, Eden is a whiny, self-centered woman. I couldn't stand how she treated her husband. In fact the entire current-day portions seemed contrived to me. Read Melinda's review. She says it better than I can. I give it two and a have stars. Most everyone seems to like it; so it's best you read it for yourself if you are interested

  6. 4 out of 5

    TL

    The old house on Apple Hill Lane shuddered against the weighty snow that burdened its pitch. The ancient beams moaned their secret pains to the wintering doves in the attic. The nesting duo pushed feathered bosoms together, blinked, and nodded quickly, as if to say, Yes-Yes, we hear, yes-yes,we know, while down deep in the cellar, the metal within the doll's porcelain skull grew crystals along its ridges. Sharp as a knife. The skull did all it could to hold steady against the shattering temperat The old house on Apple Hill Lane shuddered against the weighty snow that burdened its pitch. The ancient beams moaned their secret pains to the wintering doves in the attic. The nesting duo pushed feathered bosoms together, blinked, and nodded quickly, as if to say, Yes-Yes, we hear, yes-yes,we know, while down deep in the cellar, the metal within the doll's porcelain skull grew crystals along its ridges. Sharp as a knife. The skull did all it could to hold steady against the shattering temperature for just one more minute of one more hour./i> Rounded up to 4.5 stars, A lovely start to the story :) The chapters go between modern day with Eden, Jack, Cleo alternating with chapters from the time of Sarah Brown and their dear friends the Hill family. The POV/time swaps never felt awkward at all, seamless actually.. despite a couple mini-cliff hangers between chapters. Sarah was easy to connect to. Her struggles, talent, courage, and faith... she was/is an incredible woman. The Hill family and Siby and hers were vibrant people... I fell in love with them and Auntie Nan (she was quite a character as well). Eden I didn't care for much at the beginning but she grew on me, many times over the novel I wanted to hug her and shake her for some things but I could see where she was coming from, sort of. I was rooting for her and Jack the whole time, crossing my fingers things would work out for them. Cleo was a fun kid, bonus points she loved reading so much. Eden and Cleo helped each other in a few ways and I loved seeing them grow close. Cricket: cutest puppy! Loved that little guy <3 Reminded me of my Tasha, sweet furry baby. It's easy to sink into this and let the pages fly by...the writing style (and I know I've said this before but I mean it each time) is beautiful, bringing you right into everyone's lives. The MCs and the towns came alive for me, making want to drive there and walk down the streets locating everything. It made me smile to think how everything connected together bit by bit over the course of the book... things seemingly not in common but sort of sitting by each other come together in sometimes unexpected ways. How some of the things survived so long, and passed along the family and still in existence today, what the people before us sacrificed to protect their legacy now. It's incredible when you think about the history, everything that happened and the amazing people who didn't give up, fought for what was right. Makes me proud that they lived, and sometimes sad because I wish could have met them, known them. Both stories end on a warm note, which made me smile.. still left me wanting more but that's just a compliment of the storytelling there. Well done Miss McCoy, I look forward to your other works! *big hugs* Side note: The recipe at the end and the author's note were nice touches :) ----

  7. 5 out of 5

    Lori

    Surprisingly, I really enjoyed both past/present stories... which very rarely happens for me. I have a tendency to enjoy the past story much more than the present one. Many times it feels that the present stories are used as 'fluff' and end up distracting from the 'real' story. However, McCoy did a very good job in creating two very interesting stories and characters that I felt fully invested in. 4.5 stars.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Mish

    The only time I brush up on history is when a lifelike treasure comes along like this book. The Mapmaker’s Children is set in the 1800’s situated around Harpers Ferry and New Charlestown. It weaves fact with fiction to give you a truly captivating story of a group of abolitionist and The Underground Railroad network, who fought to end slavery, and aid slaves in their escape to freedom. This part history is unearthed once again and brought it to life in the 21st century, due to one woman’s discov The only time I brush up on history is when a lifelike treasure comes along like this book. The Mapmaker’s Children is set in the 1800’s situated around Harpers Ferry and New Charlestown. It weaves fact with fiction to give you a truly captivating story of a group of abolitionist and The Underground Railroad network, who fought to end slavery, and aid slaves in their escape to freedom. This part history is unearthed once again and brought it to life in the 21st century, due to one woman’s discovery and enquiry into porcelain dolls head and other mysterious objects found in her root cellar. The heart of this story is the courageous Sarah Brown, daughter of the abolitionist leader John Brown. Her involvement in the abolishment movement came about when she over heard her father and his associate trying to convince a runaway the importance of memorising a map. “We can’t give it to you, lest you be caught and the slave masters discover our stations. Please, my dear, practice your keenest memorization” “My what?” asked Rolla “Remember in your mind,” clarified her father associate. “So that day or night, you’ll know the way.” “I’m trying Mr. Hill, but lines, numbers, words, maps – they all look alike,” she explained. “You ain’t got something with pictures? I does good with pictures.” This is where Sarah comes in; she used her artistic talent to create art, through paintings, quilts and even children’s toys. To the unknown eye they were just colourful pieces of artwork, but to the network they’re highly critical; they’re maps with hidden codes and symbols to direct runaways on a route to safety. Sarah McCoy made it clear in the author’s note that she didn’t set out to write a biographical account of Sarah Brown but imagined what her life might have been like. However Sarah’s involvement in the abolishment movement is real, as was her personal artwork and assigned one’s for the cause. And I praise McCoy of her interpretation of Sarah Brown life, McCoy showed the upmost respect for Brown and it radiated through in her spectacular writing. Sarah Brown was an intelligent and compassionate woman of her time; sacrificed her happiness for the man she loves, and took risked for her fellow allies and what she believed in. Where as women of that era would not think of interfering – not a woman’s duty, leave it to the men! The story shift back and forward in time to a modern day era, centres on a woman called Eden Anderson. The similarity between Eden and Sarah is that they’re unable to bear children. Eden has been on the fertility program for several years without success. The hormone replacement drugs, the miscarriages, the disappointments year after year are taking its toll on her marriage. Her doctor suggested a change of scenery; a calm place away from the hectic city living. And that’s when the Anderson’s move into an old home in New Charlestown where hidden treasure’s are uncovered. While Sarah story is intriguing, Eden story touched me in a way that resonates. Both women are trying to clarify what it means to them - not having children that they eagerly crave for – and what it means to their relationship/partners; how to find that ‘one thing’ to help them move on - and that’s what I loved; they find it in the most unexpected ways. McCoy description of the backdrop and New Charleston is so beautifully; vivid and picturesque in both eras. I loved the warmth, and harmony of the town folk of Eden’s time and their acceptance of her with open arms – it did well for Eden self-esteem and motivation and was very uplifting. You could feel the difference in dynamic within New Charleston in Eden’s time compared to Sarah’s time; it’s during the Civil War, there was a lack of food and divided views on slavery which made the atmosphere aggressive and frightening but picturesque nonetheless. McCoy’s characters are well defined, likable but not without faults which made them feel real and alive. Wonderful and engaging story and I’m so glad that I found Sarah McCoy.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Melissa Crytzer Fry

    I am a big fan of the dual-period novel – especially when authors can braid together stories of past and present with what appears to be great ease. Author Sarah McCoy is among those talented individuals (adored The Baker’s Daughter, another dual-period novel). Blending the contemporary with the historical is such an engaging way to learn more about American (and world) history, and we should celebrate and devour these books! Despite my fascination with the Underground Railroad after visiting on I am a big fan of the dual-period novel – especially when authors can braid together stories of past and present with what appears to be great ease. Author Sarah McCoy is among those talented individuals (adored The Baker’s Daughter, another dual-period novel). Blending the contemporary with the historical is such an engaging way to learn more about American (and world) history, and we should celebrate and devour these books! Despite my fascination with the Underground Railroad after visiting once-lost-but-newly-found relatives on the family tree (we drove past several fabled UGRR farmhouses in PA), I didn’t know much about the operations behind the safe havens. McCoy’s book sheds light on the heroic conductors of the UGRR and – most notably – John Brown and his children. Anyone who has read about Civil War history knows abolitionist John Brown, but few know about his daughter, Sarah. It is her story – both historical and imagined – that is intertwined with the story of a contemporary woman, Eden. With expert stitchery, McCoy tucks and hems, aligning themes and experiences between two women, despite the decade-and-a-half separating them. It isn’t until the end of the book that the reader fully understands the connections to past and present. This book has something for everyone; it’s a story of love, animal companionship, history, lore and acceptance. Readers of contemporary women’s fiction will enjoy the present story, and those interested in the past will find themselves engaged with a historical story that is accessibly written and a quick read. Thanks go to Goodreads First Reads program for the advance copy (and to Read it Forward, from the publisher). So happy to have gotten an early preview of this book!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Raven Haired Girl

    I’m not a huge fan of split narratives. I feel as if one narrative overshadows the other, certainly was the case in this instance. I found Sarah Brown and her family’s narrative of the past riveting and fascinating. Abolitionists, risking all to annihilate slavery as well helping slaves escape. Historical facts cited made for a wonderful narrative along with an intriguing cast of characters. I wasn’t thrilled or taken with Eden and her present day narrative. Her poor attitude, anger failed to win I’m not a huge fan of split narratives. I feel as if one narrative overshadows the other, certainly was the case in this instance. I found Sarah Brown and her family’s narrative of the past riveting and fascinating. Abolitionists, risking all to annihilate slavery as well helping slaves escape. Historical facts cited made for a wonderful narrative along with an intriguing cast of characters. I wasn’t thrilled or taken with Eden and her present day narrative. Her poor attitude, anger failed to win me over. Her infertility issue become overbearing and frankly I tiered of hearing her woe is me attitude. In other words, I didn’t like Eden, comparing her to Sarah is similar to night and day with Sarah winning. I found Cleo and Cricket a breath of fresh air adding a soft touch to the rough and jagged edges of Eden. No doubt Cleo and Cricket deserve accolades as opposed to the surly Eden. The Brown family, specifically Sarah and their story really made the book, in fact I wish McCoy centered the entire narrative on the Browns and omitted Eden completely. Eden drew more away from the plot as opposed to adding anything of merit. “We can’t force life to do what we want when we want it. We can’t change yesterday or control tomorrow. We can only live today as best we can. And it just might turn out better than expected.” Disappointing nonetheless an enjoyable read despite my misgivings. I expected more instead I was handed less. I’m sure you will feel differently in your reading adventure. For this and other reviews visit http://ravenhairedgirl.com

  11. 5 out of 5

    Carol Brill

    3.5...The Story alternates between the mid-1800's and 2014. The historical part is told from the point of Sarah Brown, daughter of abolitionist John Brown. The present day story is told by Eden Anderson, who is mourning the loss of an unborn child and has just moved to New Charleston with her husband of 7 years, Jack. The author does a good job using language that creates a strong sense of the different time periods. Sarah is an artist who helps her abolitionist father by drawing maps to help sl 3.5...The Story alternates between the mid-1800's and 2014. The historical part is told from the point of Sarah Brown, daughter of abolitionist John Brown. The present day story is told by Eden Anderson, who is mourning the loss of an unborn child and has just moved to New Charleston with her husband of 7 years, Jack. The author does a good job using language that creates a strong sense of the different time periods. Sarah is an artist who helps her abolitionist father by drawing maps to help slaves escape via the Underground Railroad. I enjoyed learning the ingenious ways these maps were hidden in dolls features. At times Eden's behavior felt contrived and immature. Cleo, the little girl next door who lives with her grandfather was an interesting character. The development of the relationship between Cleo and Eden felt predictable. Their creation of a dog biscuit business was an interesting twist. Eventually the storylines are connected when Eden and Cleo explore the origins of a mysterious doll's head with the help of a neighbor and historian, Ms. Silverdash.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Angie Reisetter

    The Mapmaker's Children is an enjoyable 2-tiered story, one in modern-day West Virginia and one in 1850s-60s West Virginia and New England centered on Sarah Brown, daughter of John Brown of Harper's Ferry fame. There are connections between the two stories that are revealed in the course of the book and I thought the historical 19th century story was particularly interesting. I didn't give it more stars because of the simplicity of the language/story-telling and the fact that I never could come t The Mapmaker's Children is an enjoyable 2-tiered story, one in modern-day West Virginia and one in 1850s-60s West Virginia and New England centered on Sarah Brown, daughter of John Brown of Harper's Ferry fame. There are connections between the two stories that are revealed in the course of the book and I thought the historical 19th century story was particularly interesting. I didn't give it more stars because of the simplicity of the language/story-telling and the fact that I never could come to like the main modern character Eden. I know, it's one of those things where the main character starts off in a bad place and grows and learns and changes during the course of the book, but I disliked her so much in the beginning that I never warmed to her. She was a caricature for me more than a character. But it's an easy read and interesting, so it's still under the category of "I liked it". I got a free copy of this from FirstReads.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Myrna

    As a big fan of historical fiction (and Sarah's previous novel), I had great hopes for this book. However, it didn't WOW me. It's a character driven, sentimental novel with an interesting way of weaving two different storylines. Sarah Brown's story took awhile to become engaging and I was hoping for more accounts of The Underground Railroad. I also seem to be in the minority of liking the 2014 story more than the historical one. I say it is a good book - but it didn't live up to my expectations. As a big fan of historical fiction (and Sarah's previous novel), I had great hopes for this book. However, it didn't WOW me. It's a character driven, sentimental novel with an interesting way of weaving two different storylines. Sarah Brown's story took awhile to become engaging and I was hoping for more accounts of The Underground Railroad. I also seem to be in the minority of liking the 2014 story more than the historical one. I say it is a good book - but it didn't live up to my expectations. I highly recommend her previous novel, The Baker 's Daughter.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Deborah Blanchard

    First of all, I would like to thank NetGalley for allowing me the honor of reading this book. I have been a fan of Sarah's books ever since I first read "The Bakers' Daughter" a few years ago. Sarah epitomizes what historical fiction should be and blends truth with fiction flawlessly. This book kept me reading well into the night for many nights. The characters that she creates are so realistic, that I felt a part of this amazing book. I truly enjoyed the way each chapter switched from past to p First of all, I would like to thank NetGalley for allowing me the honor of reading this book. I have been a fan of Sarah's books ever since I first read "The Bakers' Daughter" a few years ago. Sarah epitomizes what historical fiction should be and blends truth with fiction flawlessly. This book kept me reading well into the night for many nights. The characters that she creates are so realistic, that I felt a part of this amazing book. I truly enjoyed the way each chapter switched from past to present without breaking up the wonderful flow of this magnificent book. We have all heard of the Underground Railroad, however, you must read this book to put faces with the history that encapsulates those two words. These may be characters in a book, though based on some factual people, but they put faces and words to what it was truly like to live during this time in our history. This book makes it more real to me than any history book could ever do. I applaud Sarah for her masterful storytelling and her uncanny ability to bring the past to life. I really can't say enough about this incredible book, except to buy it. Read this book, no, savor every single page of it. It was an honor for me to read. Thank you, Sarah McCoy, for never failing to impress me. You are a very gifted author and I will be reading every single book you write. You put your heart and soul onto every page and it is felt within every word. Please do not miss out on this amazing book. It would truly be your loss to do so. Again, Thank You Sarah McCoy, for being the amazing person and writer that you are. I feel truly blessed to have read this book.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Meredith

    The late 1850's and 2014 are woven together to tell Sarah Brown's story in the Mapmaker's Children. Sarah, daughter of abolitionist John Brown, uses her artistic abilities to paint maps to assist those traveling on the Underground Railroad. When Sarah travels to New Charlestown, West Virginia with her mother and sister to Annie to visit her father before his execution, she meets the Hill family and falls in love with Freddy Hill. Circumstances keep Sarah and Freddy apart, but their story, which The late 1850's and 2014 are woven together to tell Sarah Brown's story in the Mapmaker's Children. Sarah, daughter of abolitionist John Brown, uses her artistic abilities to paint maps to assist those traveling on the Underground Railroad. When Sarah travels to New Charlestown, West Virginia with her mother and sister to Annie to visit her father before his execution, she meets the Hill family and falls in love with Freddy Hill. Circumstances keep Sarah and Freddy apart, but their story, which covers the civil war, continues through letters. In 2014, Eden and Jack Anderson move into the Hill house in New Charlestown. Their marriage is strained due to their inability to conceive. Eden finds a a doll's head in the old root cellar, leading her to uncover Sarah Brown's role in the Underground Railroad. I really enjoyed this book. I was sucked in from the first page and couldn't put it down! There are some historical inaccuracies, but McCoy makes it known that this is a fictional account of Sarah Brown's life. I highly recommend!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Suanne Laqueur

    2.5 stars. This book had such a great premise but it missed the mark for me. The Civil War sections with Sarah Brown worked perfectly—the writing, the historical detail, the tone, the storyline. Left on their own, this could've been a four-star book. But the present-day sections just flopped. They were filled with nonsense—babies and puppies, cookie-cutter characters, lack of communication. I didn't connect with Eden at all, and she ended up dragging the whole book down to a weak finish. Still, 2.5 stars. This book had such a great premise but it missed the mark for me. The Civil War sections with Sarah Brown worked perfectly—the writing, the historical detail, the tone, the storyline. Left on their own, this could've been a four-star book. But the present-day sections just flopped. They were filled with nonsense—babies and puppies, cookie-cutter characters, lack of communication. I didn't connect with Eden at all, and she ended up dragging the whole book down to a weak finish. Still, I was bummed to find no Wikipedia entry on Sarah Brown because I'm curious about her now.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Suzanne

    You've got to love a book which inspires you to spend time afterwards learning more about the historical characters in the story. The Mapmaker's Children introduced me to a part of America's history with names that I'd heard of but never really learned about (having grown up outside the States): John Brown, Harper's Ferry and the abolition movement. Plucky, clever, determined Sarah Brown, daughter of John Brown, was the wonderful main character. There are two stories going on in this book, one in You've got to love a book which inspires you to spend time afterwards learning more about the historical characters in the story. The Mapmaker's Children introduced me to a part of America's history with names that I'd heard of but never really learned about (having grown up outside the States): John Brown, Harper's Ferry and the abolition movement. Plucky, clever, determined Sarah Brown, daughter of John Brown, was the wonderful main character. There are two stories going on in this book, one in the 1800s and one in the 21st century. Unlike some other books I've read, the jumping back and forth worked well. I was interested in both stories and really liked the way they were interwoven, dropping hints and details from both time periods that helped build up a better understanding of what was happening/had happened. It also - to use a cliche - brought history to life. Sometimes the modern-day characters would refer to something historical. Soon after, you'd actually find yourself living it with the characters in the 1800s - which made it real in a way that might not have happened otherwise. This book also had a quote about grief which really stood out for me: He let her cry without offering trite condolences. She'd been the recipient of the gamut of them when her father died, each a hollow bell of no solace. From the pillow-embroidered reflections - "Better to have loved and lost" - to the biblical - "You must be strong through the Valley of the Shadow of Death" - they did so little but force the sufferer into a position of gratitude: "Thank you so, so much for your kindness." When all you felt was ... loss. Deep, unrelenting loss. That kind of despair frightened people. Friends, neighbors, acquaintances feared it was catching like a virus, so they'd put on sterile gloves to hand out the "Our thoughts are with you" when really their thoughts were sprinting away as fast as possible. It was too painful to recognize: mortality. I was left with one question though: (view spoiler)[how did the key get inside the doll's head? Did I miss that somewhere? (If answering in the comments, please use spoiler tags. Thanks!) (hide spoiler)] Thanks to Crown Publishing for the advanced reader copy.

  18. 4 out of 5

    RoseMary Achey

    Mary Ann Brown with Annie (left) and Sarah (right) about 1851. Library of Congress The mapmaker is Sarah Brown, daughter of abolitionist, John Brown. She creates maps on the faces of children's dolls that assist runaway slaves find their way to freedom. Fast forward to current day-Eden Anderson moves into a very old house in West Virginia and finds a strange looking doll's head in her root cellar...and we have the perfect set-up for a dual-time novel. Sarah's story rang much truer than Eden's t Mary Ann Brown with Annie (left) and Sarah (right) about 1851. Library of Congress The mapmaker is Sarah Brown, daughter of abolitionist, John Brown. She creates maps on the faces of children's dolls that assist runaway slaves find their way to freedom. Fast forward to current day-Eden Anderson moves into a very old house in West Virginia and finds a strange looking doll's head in her root cellar...and we have the perfect set-up for a dual-time novel. Sarah's story rang much truer than Eden's to me. Or perhaps Sarah is an easier character to like. Eden seemed a bit immature and took all her frustrations out on her very loving and kind husband. Both characters were united in their inability to have children and of course by the historic house. An overall strong book that should keep you turning the pages.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Dorieke

    The reviews about this book here on goodreads are all very appraising. It makes me wonder have I read the same book as all these people?? I was so confused with this book, couldn't get the two story lines in check with one another, and the person of Eden didn't feel 'real' to me. I enjoyed The Baker's Daughter a lot, so I was really looking forward to reading this book, but I am sorry to say that I was pretty disappointed.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

    Ms. McCoy has created a lovely tapestry of a story in The Mapmaker's Children. I love when an author brings in an historical character into a fiction story and you can tell they have done their research. Sarah Brown, daughter of abolitionist John Brown, leaps off the pages and fits perfectly with the character of Eden in the present day chapters. The author has managed to tie everything together cohesively. It's completely believable. A wonderful read.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Pam Jenoff

    I adored this book, which waves together a modern tale of Eden, a woman desperate to conceive a child with her husband, and the historic mystery she uncovers of Sarah Brown, the abolitionist's daughter who uses her artistic talents to create maps for slaves fleeing north. Sensitive, nuanced and ingeniously sewn together to form an emotional wonder.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Lady By the Lake

    What an amazing read! The author's gift for storytelling left me spellbound as she made each character, place and event come to life. I love a book that, once completed, keeps me thinking about what might have happened if the story had continued.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Tara

    Received an ARC: Overwritten. Gimmicky. Tolerable.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Christina (A Reader of Fictions)

    Pages read: 36 Since I loved The Baker's Daughter, The Mapmaker's Children was a must-read. Unfortunately, this one just isn't working for me. Though I think I would like Sarah's historical half of the book, the more contemporary timeline I already loathe. Eden's narration is off-putting and about a subject that doesn't interest me (her desire to have a baby and frustration with her marriage). I'm finding myself super unwilling to pick this one up and read it, which is a sign that I need to move Pages read: 36 Since I loved The Baker's Daughter, The Mapmaker's Children was a must-read. Unfortunately, this one just isn't working for me. Though I think I would like Sarah's historical half of the book, the more contemporary timeline I already loathe. Eden's narration is off-putting and about a subject that doesn't interest me (her desire to have a baby and frustration with her marriage). I'm finding myself super unwilling to pick this one up and read it, which is a sign that I need to move on. It's not you; it's me.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Maya B

    This was an ok read. I did not like the alternating chapters. first chapter in the present, next chapter in the past and so on. I felt like the whole book would have been better if the entire story was written in past tense.

  26. 4 out of 5

    CLM

    4 1/2 stars. This is one of my favorite reads of 2015: here is a link to my review and giveway http://perfectretort.blogspot.com/201... 4 1/2 stars. This is one of my favorite reads of 2015: here is a link to my review and giveway http://perfectretort.blogspot.com/201...

  27. 4 out of 5

    Mary Eve

    I close the pages of my book and stare, once again, at the cover of THE MAPMAKER'S CHILDREN. I run my hand over the front, smoothing out any imperfections. And then I release a long sigh of satisfaction. What an amazing story! I sit and ponder all of the research Sarah McCoy must have done in order to tell the story of Sarah Brown, daughter of American abolitionist, John Brown. I felt like it deserved my undivided attention. I read at a slower pace, savoring the story that unfolded. I enjoyed th I close the pages of my book and stare, once again, at the cover of THE MAPMAKER'S CHILDREN. I run my hand over the front, smoothing out any imperfections. And then I release a long sigh of satisfaction. What an amazing story! I sit and ponder all of the research Sarah McCoy must have done in order to tell the story of Sarah Brown, daughter of American abolitionist, John Brown. I felt like it deserved my undivided attention. I read at a slower pace, savoring the story that unfolded. I enjoyed the LITTLE WOMEN vibe it often evoked with me. When I read stories like this, I'm reminded why historical fiction is my favorite genre. McCoy does a brilliant job combining fact with fiction and I was easily transported back to an America divided by slavery, an America that was once North and South, divided by cruelty, greed, race, and hatred. During it all, the character of Sarah Brown remained devoted, loyal, and heroic in her beliefs and through her tireless efforts with the Under Ground Railroad. I was captivated by this portion of McCoy's novel. I found myself looking up real historical dates associated with the story and astonished at the accuracies. Of course, all authors take liberties with facts, trying to piece together bits and pieces, conversations, and relationships. McCoy is believable here, weaving a story that left me heartbroken for Sarah, her family, and those she loved and desperately tried to protect. Sarah Brown was a woman to be admired. She sacrificed so much, often risking her life. THE MAPMAKER'S CHILDREN is told in past and present. I'm not normally crazy about these kind of tales but it works. The stories merge nicely, finding a common thread. Eden Anderson is the main character in the present day story. Initially, I had a hard time identifying with Eden. She's the complete polar opposite of Sarah Brown. Eden faces difficulties in her life with anger, resentment, and an accusing tone. She's very bitter. She could learn a lot from Sarah Brown. And she will! I enjoyed the way the two stories tied in. Very creative and clever! Even a little spooky. Overall, I would recommend this book. I think this book will become a historical fiction fave for all but be prepared to have your heart broken along the way. *Super special thanks to Sarah McCoy for sending me this incredible book through the AuthorBuzz Shelf Awareness Giveaway. Sarah, you sure know how to package a book. One fun surprise after the other! I promise, I was in no way swayed or bribed. I genuinely liked this book.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Meg - A Bookish Affair

    "The Mapmaker's Children" is a historical fiction tale focuses on two women, one in the past and one in the present. These women are connected by secrets hidden in an old house in Harper's Ferry, West Virginia. Sarah Brown, daughter of the famous abolitionist John Brown, is a woman before her time. She is brave and courageous. She gets involved with the Underground Railroad even though it could mean that her life is in danger. Eden and her husband are looking for a fresh start and buy an old hou "The Mapmaker's Children" is a historical fiction tale focuses on two women, one in the past and one in the present. These women are connected by secrets hidden in an old house in Harper's Ferry, West Virginia. Sarah Brown, daughter of the famous abolitionist John Brown, is a woman before her time. She is brave and courageous. She gets involved with the Underground Railroad even though it could mean that her life is in danger. Eden and her husband are looking for a fresh start and buy an old house to fix up. She will find a hidden past that will take her on a great journey. Historical fiction set in the past and the present is starting to grow on me because of books like this. Usually I like the parts of the books that are set in the past better than the parts set in the present. In the case of this book, I liked the part set in the present. I felt like I had something in common with Eden. I live in a really old house as well (not nearly as old as the one Eden has - mine was probably built in the 1890s). I liked the descriptions of her discoveries in her house because I always wished that I could find some connection to the past in my own house. I also liked getting to "meet" Sarah Brown through this book. I only really knew something about her father because of his rebellion but it was so interesting to see what she was up to and how she was making a difference on her own. This is Sarah McCoy's third book. One thing that I have liked about this book as well as her previous books is how intimately you feel like you get to know her characters. Her books are always cozy because the characters begin to feel more like friends than mere characters. She also loads her stories with interesting secondary characters that hold pieces of the story in a way that demands a reader's attention. Her distinctive writing style is also present in this book!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Darlene

    Originally posted on Peeking Between the Pages: http://www.peekingbetweenthepages.com... The Mapmaker’s Children by Sarah McCoy is a wonderful blend of the past and present that completely captivates the reader from the first page to the last. Sarah McCoy tells a beautifully written story that is told in the past by Sarah Brown (daughter of abolitionist John Brown) and in the present by Eden Anderson, a woman struggling to have a child. Having read and loved The Baker’s Daughter I had high hopes Originally posted on Peeking Between the Pages: http://www.peekingbetweenthepages.com... The Mapmaker’s Children by Sarah McCoy is a wonderful blend of the past and present that completely captivates the reader from the first page to the last. Sarah McCoy tells a beautifully written story that is told in the past by Sarah Brown (daughter of abolitionist John Brown) and in the present by Eden Anderson, a woman struggling to have a child. Having read and loved The Baker’s Daughter I had high hopes for The Mapmaker’s Children and Sarah McCoy lived up to every expectation I had with yet another mesmerizing story. The audiobook production of The Mapmaker’s Children is absolutely fabulous with multiple narrators including Abby Craden, Cassandra Campbell, Jane Jacobs, and the author’s note read by Sarah McCoy herself. With narrators such as these ladies you know you are in for a listening experience you won’t soon forget – very well done! Sarah Brown’s father John worked hard in the 1800’s to end slavery. While he kept his work from his family it still happened that he discovered that Sarah was artistically talented and that talent lent well to creating maps that were then used on the Underground Railroad. Since Sarah, having had a bad illness, would never bear children she threw herself completely into her father’s work and continued on even after his passing to do what she could for the cause. Eden, in the present time, has moved into an old house with her husband. She’s extremely unhappy with her inability to bear a child and this is consuming her every moment. When the young Cleo shows up at her door she’s pretty snarky but this young girl soon enough worms her way into her good graces. Meanwhile Eden has found a head from an old porcelain doll that had been used in the Underground Railroad in her cellar. Both she and Cleo discover the many hidden secrets and past lives that this doll has lived and in doing so this opens Eden up to healing her broken soul. The Mapmaker’s Children is a fantastic novel with such depth and beauty. With my love of historical fiction I loved Sarah’s story and while I’ve read some on the Underground Railroad before it was great to learn more of this strong woman and her bravery. I even liked Eden who is entirely an unlikeable character in the beginning but as the story progresses so does she. What I really loved though was how Sarah McCoy wove the two narratives together with an old house, a porcelain doll’s head, and a fascinating look back into history. Utterly fantastic storytelling! Highly recommended!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Wanda

    1859 – Harpers Ferry - A Negro insurrection has taken place where wagonloads of rifles were seized, with plans to distribute weapons to slaves for a national mutiny. Captain John Brown had been arrested as the leader of this uprising and was convicted of treason, murder, and conspiracy. Sarah Brown, daughter of John Brown, has a deep determination to follow the path of her father. She knows how deeply invested her father was in the Great Abolition calling. She would prove herself a significant c 1859 – Harpers Ferry - A Negro insurrection has taken place where wagonloads of rifles were seized, with plans to distribute weapons to slaves for a national mutiny. Captain John Brown had been arrested as the leader of this uprising and was convicted of treason, murder, and conspiracy. Sarah Brown, daughter of John Brown, has a deep determination to follow the path of her father. She knows how deeply invested her father was in the Great Abolition calling. She would prove herself a significant contributor to the Underground Railroad by drawing maps. She was a talented artist who would be very useful to the cause. 21st Century – New Charlestown, West Virginia – Eden Anderson finds a porcelain-doll’s head, with no body attached, in a root cellar. It appears to have been purposely removed. Why would someone remove a doll’s head? And the story unfolds as these two stories come together and the author weaves true historical facts into fiction. Sarah McCoy’s captivating writing style is simply superb as she paints a picture with her words. The story is thoroughly researched and beautifully written, giving you a good feel for the time and place. My rating is 5 stars. I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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