Author: Sarah McCoy
Source: TLC Book Tours
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link) |Goodreads
Summary: I didn’t connect with one of the characters or with the author’s writing, but I thought the dual narrative and historical setting were very well done.
Although abolitionist John Brown believed that women should play a supporting role, even he couldn’t deny the value of his daughter Sarah’s artistic talent. Through her determination to make a difference, she became one of the most important mapmakers for the underground railroad. She also faced personal challenges, including her inability to have children. One hundred and fifty years later, Eden is finding that she may also be unable to conceive. Her focus on having children has cost her a job she loved and is testing her relationship with her husband. The discovery that her house may have been part of the underground railroad may help her regain her joy in life.
This book was a slow starter for me and I ended with mixed feelings. The writing was not my favorite. There is an eleven year old girl named Chloe who sometimes sounds very young and at other times sounds like an adult. Throughout, other characters and the narrator sometimes used words that seemed out of place as well. In general, I was unconvinced by Eden’s character. Her willingness to give up everything she loved to have her own child instead of adopting was never explained. Her behaviour was so extreme, I felt more explanation than IVF hormones was necessary. I wanted to know her deeper motivation. And even Sarah sometimes made romantic decisions that I found very questionable.
There were things I really enjoyed too though. As I got into the story, I fell in love with the small town where Eden lived. Everyone was so kind to Eden and there were some great characters. I particularly appreciated how Eden slowly become engaged in town life. It felt very believable. I was equally interested in Sarah’s story, so it was a well balanced dual narrative. I enjoyed all the small details of Sarah’s daily life during the civil war. They made the time period feel very real. The overall story was less happy than many similar stories I’ve read. This also helped the story feel more real, but some of the sad parts seemed emotionally manipulative.
Based on other very positive reviews of this book, I think this was a case of an author and I just being on different wavelengths. I didn’t quite connect to the writing or to Eden’s character. The elements I was most excited about with this book – the historical setting and the dual narrative – were executed very well, so I’d recommend checking out other reviews to see if this book might work better for you.
For some other perspectives, be sure to check out the other stops on the tour.