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The Map of True Places: A Novel

3.65  ·  Rating Details ·  4,836 Ratings  ·  871 Reviews
“Masterfully woven…The Map of True Places is a gripping quest for truth that kept me reading at the edge of my seat to the very last page.”
—Lisa Genova, author of Still Alice


Brunonia Barry, author of the beloved New York Times and international bestseller The Lace Reader is back with The Map of True Places, an emotionally resonant novel of tragedy, secrets, identity, and
ebook, 432 pages
Published May 4th 2010 by HarperCollins e-books (first published January 1st 2010)
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May 07, 2010 Kathryn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
I did not read Brunonia Barry's novel "The Lace Reader," although being a librarian I was familiar with the book. It is on my to-read list. Since I was so aware of Barry's early work, I was thrilled to receive a copy of "The Map of True Places" through the First Reads giveaways.

Zee Finch is the main character. Her mother died when she was a child. After her mother's death,she spent her time spent stealing boats—a talent that earned her the nickname Trouble. As an adult, she is a respected psycho
Jun 01, 2011 Hillary rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I long for the day when Goodreads provides a half-star rating option; I'd like to give this novel 2.5 stars, but since I can't, I'm rounding down. Barry's second novel lacked the charm and mystery of her first, 'The Lace Reader.' I was already on the fence about the frequent use of local landmarks as points of reference in LR, and it is even more prevalent in this one. I'd be curious to speak with someone who wasn't as familiar with this area and get their take on this. Maybe it's supposed to co ...more
Carol Brill
May 25, 2014 Carol Brill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An incredibly well crafted novel with surprising and believable plot twists, mystery, and compelling characters. . Brunonia Barry has a special talent for moving between character point of view in a way that never disrupts the pace or flow of the story. I wanted to keep turning the page and also wanted to make myself read slowly and savor the writing
May 14, 2011 Rebecca rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
**SPOILER WARNING--references made regarding revealing story elements.**
This book is gripping from paragraph to paragraph--masterfully written, and difficult to put down.
There are elements that hard to take--the main character Zee works closely with severely mentally ill patients then returns home to care for an aging father suffering from advanced Parkinson's. The concept of suicide is also explored repeatedly--tough to swallow at times.

This book weaves together a number of illuminating subjec
Rosina Lippi
There are some wonderful things about this novel. It's well written and lyrical in parts, and the main character is compelling. A daughter coping with a mother's difficult legacy is generally good material for storytelling. The theme, too, is an interesting one: Sooner or later everyone has to stop and reconsider the course charted by personal decisions and circumstance.

But this novel is filled to overflowing. There is so much going on, so many subplots that it feels bloated. A number of them w
Reindert Van Zwaal
all together quite a good read. Though I wasn't completely sold in the beginning, I began to like the book more and more on my way through. The book was not too special but it wasn't boring to read either. The writer has a special skill to switch between characters without letting you know there has been a switch. Nevertheless it's always clear which character is written about.

Quite a few difficult topics are dealt with (suicide, dementia), but I missed the depth and feeling most of the time. W
Sara Strand
Jul 24, 2012 Sara Strand rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So.. what can I say. First off, the description doesn't really describe the book very well at all. Sure, all of these things happen throughout, but there are so many more things that happen. Zee is a frustratingly complex character and I found myself feeling bad for her but then at the same time wanting to smack her. I have a hard time with people who play the "I had a hard life/past/whatever so it impacts my current life" card. I hate it. I really dislike it. I had a shit alcoholic, drug addict ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 01, 2010 Pam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mystic sea ports.



Civil Liberties.

Honestly, what is there not to love about Salem, MA?

For Zee Finch, there’s more to add under the “not” column. A fading father, a memory of a mother gone, a harbor town that simply holds too many reminders of a less than stellar youth.

So, it is with heavy baggage and much regret that she finds herself dislodged from far away Boston and set on a rip current back to her homeland. It is the ghost of family past coupled with a much more recent case
Maybe my expectations for this book were just too high, since I absolutely loved The Lace Reader – it's become one of my all-time favorite reads. So I was hoping to enjoy The Map of True Places just as much, and I was very excited to get an advance reading copy of the book from the publisher. But I'm very sorry to have to say I was disappointed with Barry's second novel.

I thought the plot, with so many different story lines, was annoyingly convoluted. All that jumping around in time occasionall
Sarah Anne
Feb 10, 2010 Sarah Anne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brunonia Barry's second novel, "The Map of True Places," promises to be another hit. The main character, Zee, comes to Salem from her home base of Boston to visit her father. Zee is a psychologist in Boston and is dealing with the death of one of her patients. She hopes her time at home will help cure the unease she's feeling.

Zee struggles with her father's failing mental health, and her own past surrounding her mother's suicide. Similar to "The Lace Reader," this book has a great plot twist, si
Jul 02, 2011 Brian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this book a lot, especially the writing style, but there was one small thing that bothered me. Zee is a therapist who is dealing with a patient who kills herself in a way that is very similar to the way her mother died. As the plot unfolds, you will meet more and more characters who are very fleshed out. That's one major plus for this book, you WILL get to know a lot of characters, who are mostly all likable. MY complaint was the ending, which got to be a bit confusing, as well as slight ...more
Readers rejoice! Brunonia Barry, author of The Lace Reader, is back with another gripping novel of human relationships and their consequences. It's again set in Salem, with some returning characters, which made it very easy to fall into the place and just flow with the story. Zee Finch, a psychotherapist, has come home to take care of her ailing father and to try to figure out her own life after the suicide of one of her patients, which was made even more difficult by Zee's past--her mother comm ...more
Therese Walsh
Jun 18, 2013 Therese Walsh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: women-s-fiction
I positively adored this book--its many layers, its use of symbology, its strong and compelling voice, the complex, true-to-life characters who shadowed other characters throughout, the beautiful way Barry has of revealing character through setting. (One of my favorite scenes described a child's wild scribblings buried under wainscoting--a brilliant hint to the main character's layers, buried via her relationship with her mother.) I loved the plot of this book, along with its strong literary cor ...more
This book wasn't as captivating as The Lace Reader or The Fifth Petal. It was slower paced than those two. I liked it as a whole, Zee goes on quite the journey throughout the book. There's a lot of ups and downs but it's not as exciting. There's a lot of sad parts, she's dealing with her father's Parkinson's and her unenthusiastic relationship and her therapy practice and her own tumultuous past. She has a lot on her plate. I think Melville should have told her what he knew though. I like these ...more
Julie Smith (Knitting and Sundries)
This review first appeared on my blog:

LOVE: the descriptive Salem setting; the seemingly accurate portrayal of Finch's (Zee's father) degenerative illness and what we read of his background, and the folklore that is woven in to this novel.

Even with that, I could not immerse myself in this one. I felt like an impartial observer to Zee's life. Other than a twist in her burgeoning new relationship, there was nothing in this central character that drew me in
Shoma Patnaik
I picked up this book because I had read Brunonia Barry's first novel, "the Lace Reader" almost exactly a month ago and thought her writing held promise. As with that book, it was mostly the atmosphere and the setting that I liked in "The Map of True Places."

I liked the use of sailing and Salem's maritime history as practically another character in the book. Many of her characters are likable. However, I didn't seem to be able to connect with the protagonist Zee here as much as the others althou
Not as thrilling (in my opinion) as Brunonia Barry's first novel, The Lace Reader, but I enjoyed it. Zee (short for Hepzibah) Finch is a young psychotherapist practicing in Boston. Zee is engaged to a doctor but something appears to be keeping her from going ahead with her wedding plans. Meanwhile, she is treating a troubled patient with bipolar disorder, a young mother of two who reminds Zee of her own mother Maureen. Zee's mother had been diagnosed with manic depression and committed suicide w ...more
May 16, 2011 Susan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio, 2011
Once again this author wrote an unforgettable story. She is now one of my favorites to read.

While the story doesn't necessarily have that happily ever after ending and at times felt really depressing, the characters seemed so real that it didn't matter. For me, this is what a well written book is all about.

The few quibbles I had was that it seemed at the end of every sentence a character spoke, the author wrote 'she said/he said'. I don't know if it was the way the narrator was reading it or no
Kim D
Jan 28, 2012 Kim D rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: general-fiction
Similar to the "Lace Reader," I didn't have high hopes for this story. Which made it a pleasant surprise to finish. One of the larger appeals for me is that the book also takes place almost exclusively in Cape Ann/North Shore area of Boston. And if it weren't for my in-laws and their Cape Ann residency, the descriptions of the scenery and townships would have zero relevancy. But hey - I've been to Beverly Farms! I've seen the Miseries! I've watched The Friendship II sail.

But enough about settin
Jul 24, 2011 Mel rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Map of True Places was...interesting. It's the story of Zee, a psychotherapist who returns to Salem, the town in which she grew up, in order to care for her father, a man suffering from Parkinson's Disease. However, she is also still coping with the fact of her mother's suicide years earlier, as are her father and his lover.

So, I found Zee's relationship with her father Finch heartbreaking, since she is watching him gradually lose himself. And equally difficult is watching Melville, Finch's
Mar 18, 2015 Chris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult-crf
This book has been sitting on my shelf for a long time - purchased because I'd read The Lace Reader, the first book Barry'd written. The intricate, weaving plotline goes from story to story of the major players - always rejoining the protagonist, Zee Finch. The setting, Salem, Massachusetts; Boston; Marblehead - encompassing both the maritime history of Salem as well as the witchy history - were familiar and memory-inducing. However, there was a darkness to this book that was quite depressing, w ...more
Oct 03, 2010 Rachel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, first-reads
The Map of True Places is the story of Zee Finch, a psychotherapist whose world is shaken up when one of her patients commits suicide. Zee goes home to Salem and discovers that her father Finch’s Parkinson’s disease is much more advanced than she’d thought. Zee’s mother killed herself when Zee was twelve and now Finch’s longtime companion has moved out. Zee extends her visit in Salem to care for her ailing father. While there, Zee must confront her unresolved issues about both her mother and her ...more
Apr 21, 2010 Tahleen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult-fiction
I read an ARC of this title, so I think my reading is a bit tainted because of all the errors and various other changes that might happen after it is proofed. This is the story of Zee Finch, who goes back to her hometown of Salem to care for her ailing father, who has Parkinson's. He recently broke up with his long-time partner, nicknamed Melville, who is like a second father to Zee. She's also dealing with the suicide of a patient of hers (she's a therapist) who reminded her of her mother, and ...more
Ashley FL
I have to start off by saying that I LOVED this author's first book, The Lace Reader. I read it just a few weeks ago, in preparation for reading this one, as for some reason I thought this was some sort of loose sequel. While there are some over-lapping characters, they are minor in both books and there isn't really any "update" on the characters from the first book.

I liked this book, but I think I would have liked it more if it had been the first one I had read. Though the plots are different,
Mar 14, 2011 Serena rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Brunonia Barry‘s The Map of True Places (out on March 22 in paperback) is set in New England — Boston and Salem with a touch of Irish charm — much like her first book The Lace Reader. Zee Finch is a psycotherapist working for the prestigious practice of Dr. Liz Mattei and with patients who have bi-polar disorder. Her patients’ symptoms remind her of her deceased mother in many ways, but Lilly Braedon, her problems, and her suicide take center stage for Zee.

“She carefully placed the bottle into t
Sep 30, 2012 Marla rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Zee Finch loses her mother at a young age and ends up spending part of her childhood stealing boats— which has earned her the nickname Trouble. She's now a psychotherapist and is about to marry Michael. But the suicide of her patient Lilly throws Zee into emotional chaos and takes her to Salem after Lilly's funeral where her father, Finch, long ago diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, has been hiding how sick he really is. His longtime companion, Melville, has moved out, and it now falls to Zee t ...more
May 27, 2010 J.R. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brunonia Barry has done it again! I enjoyed her first book, "The Lace Reader" and was thrilled to discover that Mrs. Barry had published another. As in the first, the characters are compelling, the story is completely different, mysteries keep the reader guessing, and a fantastic setting...Salem, Massachusetts.

It was great fun "taking a trip back home" through this book, but even more so than Mrs. Barry's first. She easily portrayed the "New England attitude" through her characters, and threw a
Tattered Cover Book Store
Jackie says:

Readers rejoice! Brunonia Barry, author of The Lace Reader, is back with another gripping novel of human relationships and their consequences. It's again set in Salem, with some returning characters, which made it very easy to fall into the place and just flow with the story. Zee Finch, a psychotherapist, has come home to take care of her ailing father and to try to figure out her own life after the suicide of one of her patients, which was made even more difficult by Zee's past--her
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Brunonia Barry is the New York Times and international best selling author of THE LACE READER, THE MAP OF TRUE PLACES, and THE FIFTH PETAL, which will be released in January 2017. Her work has been translated into more than thirty languages. She was the first American author to win the International Women’s Fiction Festival’s Baccante Award and was a past recipient of Ragdale Artists’ Colony’s Str ...more
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