G591 Book Review of The Mapmaker's Children by Sarah McCoy

Name of Book: The Mapmaker's Children

Author: Sarah McCoy

ISBN: 978-0-385-34890-4

Publisher: Crown Publishers

Type of book: West Virginia, abolition, legacy, slavery, Civil War, infertility and struggles, family, relationships, small town, John Brown and his family, 1859-1865, adoption, 2014, sacrifices

Year it was published: 2015


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.


Two characters that play a very important role in the book are Sarah Brown, John Brown's daughter who is resourceful, talented in the drawing, has a very warm heart and wants to do what she can for others. She also focuses on the present day rather than focusing on her lack of ability to procreate. In beginning of the story, I feel that Eden didn't really match up to Sarah Brown and I couldn't understand the connection between the two. Eden is determined, angry, bitter in the beginning of the story, but as time went on, she grew warmer and also wants to focus more on today and what she could do now rather than what she cannot do. There are other characters, but I feel that they don't play a big role as these two do.


There are many ways to create a family and a legacy


The story is in third person narrative both from Sarah Brown's point of view and from Eden's point of view, and each chapter goes back and forth from 1850s-1860s to 2014. I do have to say that I didn't understand the point of the prologue and although the reader learns a little bit of why towards the end, it didn't do a good job of tying the two separate point of views together.

Author Information:
(From TLC)

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Sarah McCoyAbout Sarah McCoy

SARAH McCOY is the  New York TimesUSA Today, and international bestselling author of The Baker’s Daughter, a 2012 Goodreads Choice Award Best Historical Fiction nominee; the novella “The Branch of Hazel” in Grand Central; The Time It Snowed in Puerto Ricoand The Mapmaker’s Children (Crown, May 5, 2015).
Her 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. She calls Virginia home but presently lives with her husband, an Army physician, and their dog, Gilly, in El Paso, Texas. Sarah enjoys connecting with her readers on Twitter at @SarahMMcCoy, on her Facebook Fan Page or via her website, www.sarahmccoy.com.


First of all my apologies for the late review for The Mapmakers Children; second of all, in many ways, its a very surprising and a very warm book that includes ways humans can create legacy outside of childbearing, as well as the people and pets that come in and out of the lives. What's also not mentioned is that its a good book for dog-lovers, about how its possible for dogs to heal the lives of their owners in one way or the other. I really enjoyed reading the story, and felt it was relevant to today and to people that want but cannot have children. What is also unique is that in the story its the women who are much harder on themselves than the men. A fast and an enjoyable read.

This is for TLC Book Tours

Sarah’s Tour Schedule:

TLC TMC Tour schedule 1of2TLC TMC Tour schedule 2of2
Tuesday, April 21st: Savvy Verse & Wit
Wednesday, April 22nd: My Book Retreat
Thursday, April 23rd: BookNAround
Monday, April 27th: Man of La Book
Wednesday, April 29th: Always With a Book
Thursday, April 30th: Booksie’s Blog
Monday, May 4th: The Book Binder’s Daughter
Tuesday, May 5th: Books on the Table
Wednesday, May 6th: West Metro Mommy
Thursday, May 7th: Bibliotica
Friday, May 8th: Peeking Between the Pages
Monday, May 11th: Patricia’s Wisdom
Tuesday, May 12th: A Bookish Way of Life
Wednesday, May 13th: A Chick Who Reads
Thursday, May 14th: FictionZeal
Friday, May 15th: Bookshelf Fantasies
Monday, May 18th: Kritters Ramblings
Tuesday, May 19th: Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Tuesday, May 26th: Walking With Nora
Wednesday, May 27th: Raven Haired Girl
Thursday, May 28th: Reading Reality
Friday, May 29th: Thoughts On This ‘n That
Monday, June 1st: Doing Dewey
Tuesday, June 2nd: Ms. Nose in a Book
Wednesday, June 3rd: Books in the Burbs
Thursday, June 4th: Drey’s Library
Tuesday, June 9th: The Book Bag
Wednesday, June 10th: Bibliophiliac
Thursday, June 11th: Literary Feline
Friday, June 12th: Broken Teepee
Monday, June 15th: Staircase Wit
Tuesday, June 16th: Kahakai Kitchen
4 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)


  1. I'm very pleased that you enjoyed this book and that it was so unexpected for you! Thanks for being a part of the tour.


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