New HNS Feature: Sarah McCoy Ties the Past and Present Together in The Mapmaker’s Children

Sarah McCoy, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the smash hit, The Baker's Daughter, is back with a new novel about abolitionist John Brown's daughter, and I recently had the chance to ask Sarah a few questions on behalf of the Historical Novel Society.


In her newest novel, The Mapmaker’s Children, Sarah McCoy presents abolitionist John Brown through the eyes of his daughter, Sarah, and anchors the past to the present through a dual-narrative structure centered on an old house in Charlestown, West Virginia, where a doll head used to hide information for the Underground Railroad is found in the present day by a woman struggling to reconcile the life of her dreams with her current reality.

McCoy explains that she originally set out to write a contemporary novel. “I heard a sentence spoken by a woman, Eden Anderson, ‘A dog is not a child.’ It was the way she said it that wouldn’t let me be. Confident, angry, and yet deeply wounded by the very words she spoke. I couldn’t shush her no matter what I did.”

In the novel, Eden struggles with infertility and the damage that years of treatments and the raised hopes and crushed dreams that accompany them can inflict on a psyche. A move to a new home in a historic small town leaves Eden feeling lonelier than ever and questioning the survival of her marriage, but the discovery of an old doll head in a hidden cellar sparks her curiosity...


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