The Map of True Places

There are many reasons why Zee became a psychiatrist, not the least of which is, she has her own demons to exorcise.  A motherless child with an inattentive father, Zee had a penchant for stealing boats.  Now she has a successful career, a fiancé who is good to her (but Zee isn’t sure about), and a boss who is nothing but wonderful  (if maybe a little overbearing…okay, a lot of overbearing) to her.  So when one of her current patients, Lilly Braedon, commits suicide, it’s really no surprise that Zee’s life begins to come unraveled. 

Zee’s own mother died thanks to an untreated mental illness and Lilly Braedon’s becomes mixed up with that in her mind.  She heads home to help take care of her rapidly declining father, who suffers from Parkinson’s, as well as to heal from the hurt of those losses.  It becomes a much bigger journey through her past and into her relationships and her future.  Understandably Zee is overwhelmed.  The Map of True Places is a remarkable journey through one woman’s past and present, showing just how much the past affects the choices of today and how one doesn’t have to be defined by their past. 

This was my first time reading Ms. Barry’s work, but it definitely won’t be my last*.  I really enjoyed this little gem of a novel.  I was especially taken with Zee’s father, a professor and lover of all things Nathaniel Hawthorne, one of my favorite classic writers.  The little tidbits about Hawthorne were so very interesting!  Her mother, who wrote fairytales, was also fascinating, watching her descent into mental illness in Zee’s memories was heartbreaking and I loved the inclusion of the last story she was working on.  Really, all the characters were well written.   They really made the book hard to put down.   Barry also did a tremendous amount of research into the Salem area and it’s history, astronomy, and psychiatry and it really shows. The Map of True Places is a really well written book; one you don’t want to miss. * I read half of The Lace Reader, before getting distracted by a book to review and never got back to it.  I definitely will now!  I could tell a couple of characters from TLR appeared in TMoTP and I want to go back and learn more about them.

The Map of True Places
Brunonia Barry
Category: Contemporary Fiction
Published by: Harper Collins
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 384
On Sale: May 4, 2010
ISBN: 9780007318506 
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9 thoughts on “The Map of True Places

  1. I recently read The Lace Reader and spend a few chapters of the book going "huh" as it was group read with an historical fiction group, so I kept wondering when the historical bit would kick in 😉
    Once I got over that I did enjoy it, more for the writing than the plot, until the end which made me go "doh" cause I should have realised that. All in all I enjoyed it though.
    .-= Fence´s last blog ..Red Son =-.

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