mapmaker's children book coverReviewed by Amanda Schafer

Sarah Brown is a young woman on the fringe of the Civil War, but she’s not naïve to the happenings around her. She knows that her father is a member of the Underground Railroad system, helping slaves to gain their freedom. When her father, John Brown, is hanged at Harpers Ferry, Sarah and her family are left to find a way through life with the reputation of their father hovering over them wherever they go. Sarah boldly decides to continue in her father’s footsteps and continue helping slaves, but in a way that won’t be as noticed:  through her art. She decides to create drawings of scenery but insert clues for slaves to use as they journey north. This way, if anyone found the drawings they wouldn’t be confiscated as maps.

Eden and her husband have been unable to have children, despite many fertility treatments and let-downs. When they move into an old house, Eden is determined to beef up the value of the house and sell it so that she can move on with her life, away from her husband. When Eden finds a porcelain doll’s head hidden in her house, she realizes that it’s more than just some castoff toy. The intricacies of the doll’s face cause her to think that there’s a story behind the doll and increases her thoughts that there is a story behind her house as well. As Eden continues pursuing the idea of selling the house, she makes friends in her new town that become very dear to her.

This is the first book I’ve read by Sarah McCoy and The Mapmaker’s Children left me a bit wanting. I saw the connection between the two women instantly and had the book pretty well figured out early on. While not a mystery, I was still bummed that it was so easy to see the connection. Sarah Brown is the only one of John Brown’s children that was truly focused on so calling it The Mapmaker’s Children made it seem like the whole story would be about all of his children. Eden’s character was very real in some parts of the story and in others she seemed shallow and very basic. While I really enjoyed the historical significance of The Mapmaker’s Children, I thought the character development could have gone a bit deeper.

Rating: ★★★☆☆ 

Amanda lives in Missouri with her engineering husband, two sons, and one daughter. In between homeschooling and keeping up with church activities she loves to read Christian Fiction, Women’s Fiction, and any Chick-Lit. She never goes anywhere without a book to read!

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Random House. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.