Sunday, March 27, 2011

Blog Tour and Review: The Map of True Places by Brunonia Barry

I am thankful once again to Trish from TLC Book Tours for introducing another author to me that allows me to savor every written word.  Here is a summary of The Map of True Places from the Harper Collins website:

Zee Finch has come a long way from a motherless childhood spent stealing boats—a talent that earned her the nickname Trouble. She's now a respected psychotherapist working with the world-famous Dr. Liz Mattei. She's also about to marry one of Boston's most eligible bachelors. But the suicide of Zee's patient Lilly Braedon throws Zee into emotional chaos and takes her back to places she though she'd left behind. 

What starts as a brief visit home to Salem after Lilly's funeral becomes the beginning of a larger journey for Zee. Her father, Finch, long ago diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, has been hiding how sick he really is. His longtime companion, Melville, has moved out, and it now falls to Zee to help her father through this difficult time. Their relationship, marked by half-truths and the untimely death of her mother, is strained and awkward. 

Overwhelmed by her new role, and uncertain about her future, Zee destroys the existing map of her life and begins a new journey, one that will take her not only into her future but into her past as well. Like the sailors of old Salem who navigated by looking at the stars, Zee has to learn to find her way through uncharted waters to the place she will ultimately call home. 

My Review:
This is my first book by Brunonia Barry and I can guarantee you that I will not hesitate to open one of her novels in the future.  Barry did a great job of delivering a novel that deals with some serious issues while also including a bit of a mysterious 'unknown' element.  The mystical element was just the right amount for me as it didn't take over the novel or seem unbelievable.

Zee is a young psychiatrist engaged to a wonderful man but doesn't seem to know the path that her life is taking.  Zee is haunted by a childhood memory of seeing her mother die after convulsions from self-induced strychnine poisoning.  Her mother was a very depressed woman and Zee takes special interest in her patient Lilly who seems to have similar traits to her mother.  Zee's life is impacted once again when Lilly commits suicide.

After Lilly's suicide Zee returns home to her father who has been suffering with Parkinson's disease.  Upon her arrival she is surprised at the rapid decline of the disease.  He has been fortunate for so long to have lived with minimal symptoms, but all of a sudden the disease seems to be taking its toll on him.  This was such a touching part of the story for me as Zee puts her life on hold to care for her father who is frustrated with his medical condition.  Her job becomes harder as his disease advances to the Altzheimer's stage.  Because of the disease she finds that she needs to have some medical equipment installed in the home, and that is when Hawk is introduced in the story.  Zee feels that she has seen Hawk somewhere before but cannot place it instantly.  When she does finally recall how she knows this handsome man it brings back helpless feelings but that mysterious element that I mentioned earlier also surrounds his character.

As Zee continues to care for her father she seems to accept the path that her life has taken.  She realizes that she can make subtle changes for a more fulfilling outcome for both her and her loved ones.  She also comes to accept that the suicides of both her mother and Lilly are not her fault.  She learns that by charting the stars properly on the open sea that you can always find your way home.  With the help of all who love Zee, this is exactly what she does.

I really enjoyed this story and I think even more than I had expected.  With themes of love,  mystical elements, life choices, and both mental and terminal illnesses this is a great story and would also make a wonderful book club selection.  This is one that I highly recommend.

My Rating:  4/5

Disclosure:  This book was provided to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


Julie P said...

This does sound like a good one! Thanks for sharing Jo....

bermudaonion said...

Wow, there's a lot going on in this book, but it sure does sound good!

Heather J. @ TLC Book Tours said...

I haven't read anything by Barry yet but I've heard great things about several of her books. Sounds like I better get myself a copy of this one!

Julie said...

I have The Lace Reader by Ms. Barry on my TBR shelves, and I've read wonderful reviews on this title, too! Thanks for the great review!

Salem House Press said...

To find out more about the real tunnels in Salem read Salem Secret Underground:The History of the Tunnels in the City and then take the cool Salem walking tour about them. Learn how 144 people hid behind the creation of a park to build a series of tunnels in Salem utilizing the nation's first National Guard to build them so a superior court justice, a Secretary of the Navy, and a bunch of Senators could avoid paying Jefferson's custom duties. Engineered by the son of America's first millionaire.