BKMT READING GUIDES
The Mapmaker's Children: A Novel
by Sarah McCoy
Paperback : 336 pages
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4 members have read this book
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 ...
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 her maps within her paintings. She boldly embraces this calling after being told the shocking news that she can’t bear children, but as the country steers toward bloody civil war, Sarah faces difficult sacrifices that could put all she loves in peril.
Eden, a modern woman desperate to conceive a child with her husband, moves to an old house in the suburbs and discovers a porcelain head hidden in the root cellar—the remains of an Underground Railroad doll with an extraordinary past of secret messages, danger and deliverance.
Ingeniously plotted to a riveting end, Sarah and Eden’s woven lives connect the past to the present, forcing each of them to define courage, family, love, and legacy in a new way.
From the Hardcover edition.
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Discussion Questions1) Have any you ever moved into a house that had a mysterious past or an unexplained component—a trapped door, a secret closet, attic or basement that gave you the heebie-jeebies for reasons you couldn’t explain? Perhaps you found an artifact like Eden. Did you try to determine the historical significance of it? If so, what did you discover. If not, did you have a reason for leaving the past in secret?
2) Women’s roles have come a long way over the last 150 years, yet we still battle stereotypes of how to live and define our families. What similarities do you see in Sarah and Eden’s worlds and what major differences? How do you see yourself as similar or different to each of these women and to those of past generations in your family?
3) Were you previously familiar with the Underground Railroad, John Brown’s Secret Six Committee, the Raid on Harpers Ferry, slave quilt codes and songs, or the greater Abolitionist Movement? As a book group, discuss what elements you’d heard of before and what elements you discovered through reading THE MAPMAKER'S CHILDREN.
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