• Hardcover: 320 pages
• Publisher: Crown (May 5, 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 ofthe 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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Sarah Brown, daughter of abolitionist and Underground Rail Road conductor, John Brown is invested in her father’s cause to help escaping slaves. She wants to assist in any way that she can, especially since she was left barren after her fight with dysentery; Sarah offers up her artistic skills to paint landscapes that act as maps to freedom. After her father is wounded and sentenced to death for his raid on Harper’s Ferry, the Brown women travel to the Hill household in West Virginia to see their father for one last time. While at the Hill’s Sarah learns more of the Underground Railroad from their son, Freddy Hill, as well as making a lifetime Friendship. In the present, Eden and her husband Jack look for a new start in an old home in West Virginia. Eden and Jack have been trying to conceive for years with no luck, leaving Eden feeling emotionally drained. A new home, a new dog and new relationships with the people in the small town might be just what Eden needs. When she finds a broken doll’s head in her basement, Eden and the girl next door, Cleo begin a mission to find out it’s mystery that will link them to the past.
I love dual-time stories and historical fiction, so I feel that this story was made for me. Both Sarah and Eden’s stories were interesting and I felt an equal investment in each. I was happy to learn more about Sarah Brown and her father, John Brown and Sarah’s important role in the Underground Railroad. Sarah is an inspiring character; she was educated, talented and determined to help with the abolitionist cause. Her paintings may not be as remembered as her father’s raid, but they impacted many people. Sarah’s link with Eden in the future was well done, I was glad that they were not related in some roundabout way; but were two women unable to have children and feeling the constraints of the emotional and societal effects of that fact. In their stories they each eventually come to terms with that fact and find happiness in their own ways.
This book was received for free in return for an honest review.
SARAH McCOY is the New York Times, USA 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 Rico; and 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.