Advance reader reviews of The Map of True Places by Brunonia Barry.

The Map of True Places

By Brunonia Barry

The Map of True Places
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  • Published in USA  May 2010,
    416 pages.

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There are currently 31 member reviews
for The Map of True Places
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  • Rosemary K. (Saginaw, MI)


    An Exquisite Map
    Brunonia Barry's "The Map of True Places" is a wondrous, magical story combining folk legends, psychotherapy, and American literature. Setting her tale in the same locale as her "The Lace Maker" (and occasionally alluding to characters from that same book), Barry makes the reader long to experience life in that historic Atlantic area.

    The primary characters are Zee (short for Hepzibah, as in "The House of the Seven Gables"), her ailing father and his friend (affectionately known as Melville), and a young woman who commits suicide. Zee's late mother Maureen had always dreamed of experiencing "The Great Love," but this never happened. Zee wonders if she is destined to fulfill her mother's dream.

    I love Brunonia Barry's writing: I read slowly, savoring her words. Except for a few sections where the story seemed to drag, I believe "The Map of True Places" can give the reader an amazing experience.
  • Maryanne K. (Spanaway, WA)


    Map of True Places
    I enjoyed this book. It's a fast, fairly light read with interesting characters. The literary connections, the setting of Salem, MA, and the details related to caring for an ailing parent add to the appeal of the book. I had no expectations (not having The Lace Reader) when starting this book, but was pleasantly surprised.
  • Linda Z. (Corydon, IN)


    The Map of True Places
    When I first started reading this book, I had doubts that I would enjoy it. However, the more I read the more I liked it. There were a lot of unexpected twists and turns in the plot. I had no idea how things were going to progress. The appeal of this book would probably be more to women than men particularly those people facing the problem of caring for aging and sick parents. I can see some lively discussions for book clubs concerning the different characters. I loved the book and am now looking forward to reading The Lace Reader by this author.
  • Pam W. (Montpelier, VT)


    Secrets told and Untold
    This is a complex tale of self-discovery that really resonated deeply with me. It's not the kind of story that wraps up neatly and then evaporates. It sticks with you and demands answers and self exploration.
  • Marlys D. (Grand Rapids, MI)


    Life Map
    Another winner from Brunonia Barry! I love her quirky characters, including the "character" of Salem, MA. Zee's continuing struggle to find her true place in the world makes for compelling reading.
  • Kandi D. (Beaverton, OR)


    The Map of True Places
    I liked Barry’s first novel, The Lace Reader, so I was excited to read her latest. This one also takes place in and around the Salem area and even references some of the characters from the first novel. Barry does an excellent job creating an environment and making you feel like you want to plan a trip to Salem and take in the beautiful scenery and unique culture. They say you should write about what you know, and it’s obvious that Barry knows and truly loves her hometown. The story of Zee Finch and her strange and troubled family is interesting and definitely a story worth telling. But I think Barry misses the mark. Some of the events in the story seem far-fetched and forced. And some of the characters are too prescribed and unreal. But it’s definitely entertaining and keeps your interest to the final page.
  • Kathrin C. (Corona, CA)


    The Map of True Places
    This is a very hard book to put down once you start reading and I liked it far better than Barry’s first book, The Lace Reader. Perhaps because for me the magical realism within The Map of True Places carried a bit more realism than fantasy. Zee Finch, with her funny name and motherless childhood kept my interest at speed as she searched to find her own way through her past, the present and finally centering on what she wanted to aim for in the future.

    The complex characters, the atmospheric foray into Salem’s historical past and Zee's father's developing struggle with the onslaught of Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s all added to the complexities of life that kept shining throughout this novel.
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