The Mapmaker's Children
From the New York Times bestselling author of The Baker's Daughter and Marilla of Green Gables, 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.
McCoy's (The Baker's Daughter) latest is a journey into the past that reveals the hidden depths of the lives of two very different women separated by more than 150 years. Sarah Brown, one of the children of abolitionist John Brown, survives deadly dysentery only to learn that she will be barren from complications of the illness. Despite the devastating diagnosis, Sarah is determined to give meaning to her life. She assists in drawing maps for the runaway slaves her father is harboring in their Plattsburgh, N.Y., home. In present-day West Virginia, Eden and her husband, Jack, have left their life in Washington, D.C., behind to get a new start after Eden has a series of miscarriages. But Eden's depression over her loss and seeming inability to conceive has left her doubting the stability of her marriage. When Jack leaves on a business trip, Eden is forced to deal with the puppy he bought her as she adjusts to life in the small town and seeks to uncover the history behind her house. 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.