Sarah McCoy has written a wonderful book, “The Mapmaker’s Children”. It is the fictional story of Sarah Brown, daughter of Mary and John Brown. John Brown, who with his family lived in New York, was the famous abolitionist who, in October 1859, targeted the U.S. military arsenal at Harpers Ferry with an assault by an armed band of abolitionists. The raid was intended to be the first stage in an elaborate plan to establish an independent stronghold of freed slaves in the mountains of Maryland and Virginia. Brown was captured during the raid, convicted of treason, and hanged. During this time, his family is taken in by the Hill family in New Charlestown, West Virginia and protected from those who would see them come to harm. She and Freddy Hill become more than friends, but because Sarah is barren, she will not consent to wed him.
What became of his family? This novel looks at the life of Sarah Brown and her continued assistance with the Underground Railroad. She becomes one of the movement’s mapmakers – drawings that lead slaves along the route to freedom. The southerners have no love for John Brown or his family and they are in peril. So, Sarah, her sisters and mother flee to Iowa and then on to California to establish a new life there.
On to present day…Eden and Jack Anderson bought the Hill house in New Charlestown, Virginia, leaving Washington, D.C. and its hectic life. Eden has been trying for five years to have a child and finally determined that it was not to be. She is contemplating leaving her husband, even though she still loves him, to free him to re-marry and have children. However, Eden and the little girl next door discover a doll’s head in the cellar under the pantry. They are determined to find out the significance of this find. In their search, Eden is swept into a new life. She accepts that she probably will not have a child and stumbles upon a new role.
I enjoyed this book very much. I took the true history and the fictional history that is the story and found a wonderful place of parallel time. The letters between Sarah Brown and Freddy Hill are so poignant and telling. I was sent a print copy of this book by Blogging for Books.com in return for my honest review.