Donna Radcliff's Reviews > The Map of True Places

The Map of True Places by Brunonia Barry
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Jul 29, 10

Read from July 27 to 29, 2010

I’ll say this for Brunonia Barry, she is an engaging writer that can snag the reader quickly and hold on through the very last page. And three-quarters into The Map of True Places I would have said I liked this new book better than The Lace Reader. Unfortunately, once again as in her debut novel, the ending plopped instead of popped.

Zee Finch is a young woman tormented by her past and present. She watched her mentally ill mother commit suicide in a particularly horrific manner. Now a therapist herself, she watches as one of her patients, who eerily reminds her of her mother, commits suicide. Her father is in a fast decline from Parkinson’s disease with the beginning stages of dementia. She is being stalked by someone who means to do her harm and may have caused the death of her patient. And the best she can say about her feelings towards her upcoming wedding is that she’s ambivalent.

Throughout the book it feels as if the reader is being lead towards a big payoff, something huge in the offering. Unfortunately, I had figured out most of it as the plot unfolded and nothing was much of a surprise. And the parallel between the 18th century fairytale and the present day was a little too predictable. Also, a little less rape and the walking wounded would be nice as well.

However, I like the Salem setting, and its honest portrayal of the commercialism and tourism that exist there, unlike some other recent fiction that downplays that aspect. Her side characters are great too and I’d like to see more of them in the future. I thought it a bit mean, though, of Barry throwing in references to main characters from The Lace Reader without updates on their current situations. All this to say, I will most definitely read her next novel.
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07/29/2010 page 403
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