Monday, June 22, 2015

Mapmaker's Children

Mapmaker’s Children by Sarah McCoy

Sarah Brown, daughter of John Brown, is forced to come to terms with her father’s death after the raid on Harper’s Ferry.  She discovers  her talent as an artist can be used to further the cause of Abolition by painting pictorial maps for use on the Underground Railroad.  Smuggled on pieces of cloth the maps are easily hidden in dolls that are sent south .  Some dolls are used to carry medical supplies, messages and the maps.  Sarah embraces her ability to help and keep the route alive.

Unable to have children, Sarah denies herself marriage to the man she loves yet maintains a by today’s standards,  cryptic correspondence with Freddy Hall for the rest of their lives.  What we know of Sarah’s activities is from these letters today.

Eden Anderson and her husband recently purchased Apple Hill House and she finds in the root cellar the porcelain head of a Civil War era doll.  Eden is desperate for children but finds she can’t carry a pregnancy.  Her marriage suffers but Eden finds through the people in the town reasons to focus on something other than herself.  As she comes out of and yet into herself she discovers other ways to love and nurture children.  

The mystery of the doll head is the thread carried back and forth between the stories of Eden and Sarah and we learn much more detail about the ways the Underground Railroad operated.
Sarah Brown is a real person, she was John Brown’s daughter, she did paint picture maps for the Underground Railroad.  That in itself made the story all the more compelling.  This book was provided by Blogging for Books for review

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