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The Map of True Places

(Salem #2)

3.66  ·  Rating details ·  5,753 ratings  ·  961 reviews
Brunonia Barry, the New York Times bestselling author of The Lace Reader, offers an emotionally compelling novel about finding your true place in the world.

Zee Finch has come a long way from a motherless childhood spent stealing boats—a talent that earned her the nickname Trouble. She's now a respected psychotherapist working with the world-famous Dr. Liz Mattei. She's al
Hardcover, 403 pages
Published May 4th 2010 by William Morrow (first published 2010)
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Average rating 3.66  · 
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Jun 01, 2011 rated it it was ok
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
May 07, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: giveaways
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
May 14, 2011 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
Apr 09, 2010 rated it liked it
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
Dec 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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
Sara Strand
Jul 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Carol Brill
May 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Jul 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
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
Mar 09, 2010 rated it liked it
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
Feb 22, 2020 rated it did not like it
This book has no redeeming qualities, which is sad since I liked the Lace Reader. There is not a single sympathetic character, except maybe Anne, but that was mostly because she was a likeable character in the first one. The entire book is completely predictable, and the reason I kept reading was to see if any of my predictions would NOT occur. Nope.

There are two suicides, as well as affairs, abuse, suicidal ideation/attempts related to Parkinson's with Addison's crossover, attempted rape, drug
Nov 01, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Sarah Anne
Feb 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 14, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Sunny Shore
Apr 25, 2010 rated it liked it
I listened to this on audio. I have to say that when you do listen, you can get really tired of the reader's voice for many different reasons. So that was one gripe. If I had read it, would the number be higher. No. I wavered on this book, liking it, hating it, loving it, disliking it. That is a solid 3 to me. It moved me, but moved too slowly. I think the author could've taken this novel and carved small short stories out of it; it would've worked better. It is the story of a therapist and if I ...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
Therese Walsh
Jun 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
What do Salem, Massachusetts, mental health, family secrets, a love of the sea, and fairy tales all have in common? I guess you'll just have to read this book to find out. Brunonia Barry (author of The Lace Reader) serves up another Romantic love letter to the North Shore, dabbling some of the rich history of the place into the fanciful and yet realistic journey across The Map of True Places. With twists and turns (some predictable and some surprising), this was a book that I'd recommend if you ...more
Heather Fineisen
Jun 02, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book despite the often fantastical turns the story took. No spoilers. The relationships between the characters makes for a relatable read and the Hawthorne, Salem and Melville references enhance the setting. Perfect to throw in your beach or pool bag this summer.
Shay Caroline
Jan 19, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: american-stories
Despite some quibbles, on the whole I really enjoyed this novel. Briefly, it's about Zee Finch, a young woman whose father--an authority on the author Hawthorne--is declining rapidly from the effects of Parkinson's disease. She leaves her fiance in Boston and heads home to take care of him and to recover from the shock of the suicide of one of her patients. (She's a psychologist.)

To me, the real star of this novel is the Salem setting. I feel like I've just spent time there myself and quite enjo
Valerie Campbell Ackroyd
Aug 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I listened to this as an audiobook this week. I didn't know anything about the book when I began it and, for fun, decided I wouldn't look it up until I finished it. I had "purchased" it on an Audible promotion and I don't think I had even read the synopsis.

So I began it much as one would listen to someone's campfire story--was it a thriller, a fairytale, a romance...? Turned out it was that and more. The main character in the main story (there are several "stories" in the book) is Zee, a thirty
Jan 29, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is my first novel by Brunonia Barry, and I found it engrossing and engaging. I enjoyed the setting of Salem, Mass. and the characters of Zee, Hawk, Finch, and Melville very much. There were some unexpected twists near the end that I didn't see coming! I loved how the author wove the celestial navigation theme through the book, since I used to be a sailor (though never learned to navigate by the stars!) If you like medical topics, this was a fascinating study of a man with late-stage Parkins ...more
Nov 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
I thoroughly enjoyed this author's first book, The Lace Reader, and her second book did not disappoint me at all. I loved it. While it was a bit hard to get into at first I was quickly immersed in the story and the characters and the mystery that percolates just under the surface throughout the novel. Great read!!
Nov 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Well written interesting story
Jan 30, 2019 rated it it was ok
I got frustrated at how many times the author repeated information. The side stories dragged the pace of the story, and sometimes the book felt like a travel brochure for Salem. I did enjoy the metaphor of navigating by the stars though.
I just posted this on my main FB page yesterday. I should mention that I started reading it & thought it sounded familiar. I think I must've begun reading, then put it aside at some point, then had packed it away with other books when we had been planning to redo some space. I am so glad I picked it up again!

Very early this morning, I finished reading the very excellent novel THE MAP OF TRUE PLACES by Brunonia Barry. Some FB readers might recall my writing about completing my read of her la
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
Oct 03, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
May 16, 2011 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
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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

Other books in the series

Salem (3 books)
  • The Lace Reader
  • The Fifth Petal

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