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The Mapmaker's Children

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  5,181 ratings  ·  901 reviews
From the New York Times bestselling author of The Baker's Daughter, 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 he
Hardcover, 300 pages
Published May 5th 2015 by Crown (first published October 7th 2014)
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Popular Answered Questions
Sarah McCoy Yes, Hattie, all of the names and references to John Brown's children are authentic in THE MAPMAKER'S CHILDREN. He fathered quite a large progeny, bor…moreYes, Hattie, all of the names and references to John Brown's children are authentic in THE MAPMAKER'S CHILDREN. He fathered quite a large progeny, born of two women. Many died in childhood. Great question. I'm posting the genealogy list below. I hope you enjoy reading the book! I can't wait to share it with all Goodreaders on May 5, 2015.

Yours truly,

Here's the full list of John Brown's children:

Marriage to DIANTHE LUSK:

John Brown Jr., born 1821, died 1895.

Jason Brown, born 1823, died 1912.

Owen Brown, born 1824, died 1889.

Frederick Brown, born 1827, died 1831.

Ruth Brown, born 1829, died 1904.

Frederick Brown, born 1830, died 1856.

Unnamed son, born and died August 1832--Dianthe died with him.

Marriage to MARY ANN DAY:

Annie Brown, born 1832, died 1926.

Sarah Brown, born 1834, died 1843.

Watson Brown, born 1835, died 1859 at Harpers Ferry.

Salmon Brown, born 1836, died 1919.

Charles Brown, born 1837, died 1843.

Oliver Brown, born 1839, died 1859 at Harpers Ferry.

Peter Brown, born 1840, died 1843.

Austin Brown, born 1842, died 1843.

Amelia (called Kitty) Brown, born 1845, died 1846.

☆ Sarah Brown, born 1846, died 1916.

Ellen Brown, born 1848, died 1849.

Unnamed son, born 1852, died May 1852

Ellen Brown, born 1854, died 1916.(less)
Jennifer Lyon This book follows the lives of Sarah and Eden in different eras. It is engaging as you follow the lives of the two characters. I don't think a reader …moreThis book follows the lives of Sarah and Eden in different eras. It is engaging as you follow the lives of the two characters. I don't think a reader would feel lost at all if they are not familiar with the slave history. Sarah's life gives you a glimpse of the life of people trying to help slaves to freedom but it is more on a personal level. I would definitely recommend this as a book for all readers, not just history buffs. (less)

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Average rating 3.73  · 
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 ·  5,181 ratings  ·  901 reviews

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Sarah McCoy
Oct 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
Dear Reader Friends,

As the author, I couldn't give THE MAPMAKER'S CHILDREN anything less than five stars. Yes, I'm incurably biased. I aim to write nothing less than my absolute best for you-- readers I consider the BEST GoodReaders on earth. I worked harder on this novel than any before, and I'll admit, I'm completely smitten with the main characters: contemporary Eden and the true, historical Sarah Brown.

☆☆☆☆☆ I hope you FIVE-STAR love them, too, and I pray that if Sarah Brown is looking dow
Angela M
Aug 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed Sarah McCoy's The Baker's Daughter so I was happy to have the chance to read an advanced copy of her new novel. She has a wonderful way of creating characters that you love and makes history come alive through them. I was equally taken by her storytelling in this book. .

This is the story of the Underground Railroad and the brave people who helped the courageous runaway slaves find their way to freedom. It's a story about real people and imagined characters, their real and imagi
Jan 11, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2015
I was so excited to read this book, however I found myself let down. I know I am among the minority in my feelings.

As you know from my reviews I am worn out with the alternating narratives of past and present. Fully aware alternating narratives will not be disappearing anytime soon, however, when they work they are terrific, when they fail, they take down the entire story.

I liked Sarah, I liked her story. Sarah and her family - crusaders against slavery fight with all their might. Their streng
“Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves”

----Abraham Lincoln

Sarah McCoy, the New York Times bestselling and international best-selling American author, pens her new novel, The Mapmaker's Children , that traces the journey of the daughters of the Brown family, who helped the slaves to find their way to freedom through Underground Railroad, though this is a work of fiction, but the events are inspired from the real Sarah Brown and John Brown who were a slave traders of t
Mar 01, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Quite a disappointment. I was looking forward to a great historical novel about John Brown's daughter, Sarah. It's become so popular to have a split narrative, one historical character and the other current time or at least a different time period. I've read a number of books with this structure and enjoyed them. (As I reflect it seems that women authors do this frequently, but I can't think of any book written by a man that use this technique.). It didn't work for me in this book. I really enjo ...more
Feb 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
The old house on Apple Hill Lane shuddered against the weighty snow that burdened its pitch. The ancient beams moaned their secret pains to the wintering doves in the attic. The nesting duo pushed feathered bosoms together, blinked, and nodded quickly, as if to say, Yes-Yes, we hear, yes-yes,we know, while down deep in the cellar, the metal within the doll's porcelain skull grew crystals along its ridges. Sharp as a knife. The skull did all it could to hold steady against the shattering temperat ...more
May 25, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Surprisingly, I really enjoyed both past/present stories... which very rarely happens for me. I have a tendency to enjoy the past story much more than the present one. Many times it feels that the present stories are used as 'fluff' and end up distracting from the 'real' story. However, McCoy did a very good job in creating two very interesting stories and characters that I felt fully invested in. 4.5 stars. ...more
Aug 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
The only time I brush up on history is when a lifelike treasure comes along like this book. The Mapmaker’s Children is set in the 1800’s situated around Harpers Ferry and New Charlestown. It weaves fact with fiction to give you a truly captivating story of a group of abolitionist and The Underground Railroad network, who fought to end slavery, and aid slaves in their escape to freedom. This part history is unearthed once again and brought it to life in the 21st century, due to one woman’s discov ...more
Melissa Crytzer Fry
Jul 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
I am a big fan of the dual-period novel – especially when authors can braid together stories of past and present with what appears to be great ease. Author Sarah McCoy is among those talented individuals (adored The Baker’s Daughter, another dual-period novel). Blending the contemporary with the historical is such an engaging way to learn more about American (and world) history, and we should celebrate and devour these books!

Despite my fascination with the Underground Railroad after visiting on
Carol Brill
May 22, 2015 rated it liked it
3.5...The Story alternates between the mid-1800's and 2014. The historical part is told from the point of Sarah Brown, daughter of abolitionist John Brown. The present day story is told by Eden Anderson, who is mourning the loss of an unborn child and has just moved to New Charleston with her husband of 7 years, Jack.

The author does a good job using language that creates a strong sense of the different time periods. Sarah is an artist who helps her abolitionist father by drawing maps to help sl
Raven Haired Girl
May 27, 2015 added it
Shelves: 2015
I’m not a huge fan of split narratives. I feel as if one narrative overshadows the other, certainly was the case in this instance.

I found Sarah Brown and her family’s narrative of the past riveting and fascinating. Abolitionists, risking all to annihilate slavery as well helping slaves escape. Historical facts cited made for a wonderful narrative along with an intriguing cast of characters. I wasn’t thrilled or taken with Eden and her present day narrative. Her poor attitude, anger failed to win
Meredith ( on Semi-Hiatus until February)
The late 1850's and 2014 are woven together to tell Sarah Brown's story in the Mapmaker's Children. Sarah, daughter of abolitionist John Brown, uses her artistic abilities to paint maps to assist those traveling on the Underground Railroad. When Sarah travels to New Charlestown, West Virginia with her mother and sister to Annie to visit her father before his execution, she meets the Hill family and falls in love with Freddy Hill. Circumstances keep Sarah and Freddy apart, but their story, which ...more
Angie Reisetter
Mar 01, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: firstreads
The Mapmaker's Children is an enjoyable 2-tiered story, one in modern-day West Virginia and one in 1850s-60s West Virginia and New England centered on Sarah Brown, daughter of John Brown of Harper's Ferry fame. There are connections between the two stories that are revealed in the course of the book and I thought the historical 19th century story was particularly interesting.

I didn't give it more stars because of the simplicity of the language/story-telling and the fact that I never could come t
Deborah Blanchard
First of all, I would like to thank NetGalley for allowing me the honor of reading this book. I have been a fan of Sarah's books ever since I first read "The Bakers' Daughter" a few years ago. Sarah epitomizes what historical fiction should be and blends truth with fiction flawlessly. This book kept me reading well into the night for many nights. The characters that she creates are so realistic, that I felt a part of this amazing book. I truly enjoyed the way each chapter switched from past to p ...more
Apr 30, 2015 rated it liked it
Sarah McCoy's "The Baker's Daughter" is one of my all time favorite books. I was hoping that this effort would be added to that list, but sadly, I would have to disagree with the majority of the reviews. I enjoyed learning how children's dolls were used as maps to help slaves find their way to freedom through the Underground Railroads, and how Sarah Brown devoted herself to this cause. But, the present day portion of the book lacked a sympathetic character that you could root for. Sarah was a wo ...more
Nov 14, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
As a big fan of historical fiction (and Sarah's previous novel), I had great hopes for this book. However, it didn't WOW me. It's a character driven, sentimental novel with an interesting way of weaving two different storylines. Sarah Brown's story took awhile to become engaging and I was hoping for more accounts of The Underground Railroad. I also seem to be in the minority of liking the 2014 story more than the historical one. I say it is a good book - but it didn't live up to my expectations. ...more
Suanne Laqueur
2.5 stars. This book had such a great premise but it missed the mark for me. The Civil War sections with Sarah Brown worked perfectly—the writing, the historical detail, the tone, the storyline. Left on their own, this could've been a four-star book. But the present-day sections just flopped. They were filled with nonsense—babies and puppies, cookie-cutter characters, lack of communication. I didn't connect with Eden at all, and she ended up dragging the whole book down to a weak finish. Still, ...more
Received an ARC:

Overwritten. Gimmicky. Tolerable.
Oct 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
You've got to love a book which inspires you to spend time afterwards learning more about the historical characters in the story. The Mapmaker's Children introduced me to a part of America's history with names that I'd heard of but never really learned about (having grown up outside the States): John Brown, Harper's Ferry and the abolition movement. Plucky, clever, determined Sarah Brown, daughter of John Brown, was the wonderful main character.

There are two stories going on in this book, one in
RoseMary Achey
Jul 10, 2015 rated it really liked it

Mary Ann Brown with Annie (left) and Sarah (right) about 1851. Library of Congress<br />
Mary Ann Brown with Annie (left) and Sarah (right) about 1851. Library of Congress

The mapmaker is Sarah Brown, daughter of abolitionist, John Brown. She creates maps on the faces of children's dolls that assist runaway slaves find their way to freedom.

Fast forward to current day-Eden Anderson moves into a very old house in West Virginia and finds a strange looking doll's head in her root cellar...and we have the perfect set-up for a dual-time novel.

Sarah's story rang much truer than Eden's t
Jan 31, 2015 rated it it was ok
The reviews about this book here on goodreads are all very appraising. It makes me wonder have I read the same book as all these people?? I was so confused with this book, couldn't get the two story lines in check with one another, and the person of Eden didn't feel 'real' to me. I enjoyed The Baker's Daughter a lot, so I was really looking forward to reading this book, but I am sorry to say that I was pretty disappointed. ...more
Mar 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Ms. McCoy has created a lovely tapestry of a story in The Mapmaker's Children. I love when an author brings in an historical character into a fiction story and you can tell they have done their research. Sarah Brown, daughter of abolitionist John Brown, leaps off the pages and fits perfectly with the character of Eden in the present day chapters. The author has managed to tie everything together cohesively. It's completely believable. A wonderful read. ...more
Pam Jenoff
Nov 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I adored this book, which waves together a modern tale of Eden, a woman desperate to conceive a child with her husband, and the historic mystery she uncovers of Sarah Brown, the abolitionist's daughter who uses her artistic talents to create maps for slaves fleeing north. Sensitive, nuanced and ingeniously sewn together to form an emotional wonder. ...more
Lady By the Lake
Sep 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
What an amazing read! The author's gift for storytelling left me spellbound as she made each character, place and event come to life. I love a book that, once completed, keeps me thinking about what might have happened if the story had continued. ...more
Christina (A Reader of Fictions)
Pages read: 36

Since I loved The Baker's Daughter, The Mapmaker's Children was a must-read. Unfortunately, this one just isn't working for me. Though I think I would like Sarah's historical half of the book, the more contemporary timeline I already loathe. Eden's narration is off-putting and about a subject that doesn't interest me (her desire to have a baby and frustration with her marriage).

I'm finding myself super unwilling to pick this one up and read it, which is a sign that I need to move
Maya B
Apr 15, 2015 rated it liked it
This was an ok read. I did not like the alternating chapters. first chapter in the present, next chapter in the past and so on. I felt like the whole book would have been better if the entire story was written in past tense.
4 1/2 stars. This is one of my favorite reads of 2015: here is a link to my review and giveway
Mary Eve
I close the pages of my book and stare, once again, at the cover of THE MAPMAKER'S CHILDREN. I run my hand over the front, smoothing out any imperfections. And then I release a long sigh of satisfaction. What an amazing story! I sit and ponder all of the research Sarah McCoy must have done in order to tell the story of Sarah Brown, daughter of American abolitionist, John Brown. I felt like it deserved my undivided attention. I read at a slower pace, savoring the story that unfolded. I enjoyed th ...more
Meg - A Bookish Affair
Jan 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
"The Mapmaker's Children" is a historical fiction tale focuses on two women, one in the past and one in the present. These women are connected by secrets hidden in an old house in Harper's Ferry, West Virginia. Sarah Brown, daughter of the famous abolitionist John Brown, is a woman before her time. She is brave and courageous. She gets involved with the Underground Railroad even though it could mean that her life is in danger. Eden and her husband are looking for a fresh start and buy an old hou ...more
May 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audiobooks
Originally posted on Peeking Between the Pages:

The Mapmaker’s Children by Sarah McCoy is a wonderful blend of the past and present that completely captivates the reader from the first page to the last. Sarah McCoy tells a beautifully written story that is told in the past by Sarah Brown (daughter of abolitionist John Brown) and in the present by Eden Anderson, a woman struggling to have a child. Having read and loved The Baker’s Daughter I had high hopes
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SARAH McCOY is the New York Times, USA Today, and internationally bestselling author of the novels MARILLA OF GREEN GABLES, THE MAPMAKER'S CHILDREN, THE BAKER'S DAUGHTER, THE TIME IT SNOWED IN PUERTO RICO, and "The Branch of Hazel," a novella in GRAND CENTRAL.

The Baker's Daughter was praised as "a beautiful heart-breaking gem of a novel" by Tatiana de Rosnay and "a thoughtful reading experience in

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