The Map of True Places by Brunonia Barry – Book Review

The Map of True Places by Brunonia Barry

Zee makes her living as a psychiatrist in Boston, but she has her own demons to deal with. When Zee was young, her bipolar mother committed suicide and Zee was the one who found her. When one of Zee’s patients, Lily Braedon, who reminded Zee so much of her own mother, jumps off of a bridge after being involved in an abusive affair, Zee is determined to get to the bottom of what happened. To complicate things, Zee’s father Finch is deteriorating rapidly. Finch has Parkinson’s, but he is starting to lapse into Alzheimer’s. After Finch kicks out his longterm partner Melville, Zee is left as Finch’s sole caregiver at the same time she is trying to discover what happened to Lily and reconcile her own past.

I really enjoyed Barry’s debut work, “The Lace Reader.” It was one of the first books I got really excited about when I started blogging. “The Map of True Places,” like “The Lace Reader” is set in Salem and had the same atmosphere. I don’t think that “The Map of True Places” had the same immediacy and sense of mystery that “The Lace Reader” had, however, I also think it was a more complex book in many ways. I loved the literary connection with Finch’s past as a literature professor and Zee’s mother’s obsession with fables.

Although somewhat less dramatic than “The Lace Reader,” I thought that “The Map of True Places” was a lovely book and I loved the story of Zee’s discovery of herself and her family’s history. Recommended.

Available May 4, 2010

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13 comments to The Map of True Places by Brunonia Barry – Book Review

  • Amy

    This sounds like an interesting book, though I think I want to read The Lace Reader first. It sounded great from the reviews I have read.

  • I’m so glad to read your positive review of this book – I’ve been looking forward to it since I loved THE LACE READER but was a little anxious because I didn’t want to be disappointed. I’ll have to try to read it after I finish THE PASSAGE.

  • I’m so glad to see this was good!

  • I have Lace Reader on my shelves, meant to read it for RIP last year and ran out of time, and am planning on reading it this year. This premise sounds alluring. I love a good mystery.

  • I haven’t been interested in this one because I didn’t really love the Lace Reader (which I thought was only okay). If I start to see enough positive reviews, I’ll likely pick it up.

  • I’m glad to see you liked this book. It looks interesting. I’ve yet to read The Lace Reader though, so I’m waiting to see how I like it first. There seem to be a lot of mixed reviews for that one.

  • The Lace Reader just didn’t work for me–I felt like there was just too much going on. Sounds like Barry’s kept this one more manageable and definitely worth a read.

  • I just got ahold of her first book, which I’ll be starting pretty soon so I’m excited to see what I think of this one once I get ahold of it.

  • i really enjoyed the excerpt to this that Brunonia (what a great name) emailed subscribers about.

    Have yet to read the book, but expect that i will find it very enjoyable.

    more than a trip to a dentist, but less than a lighting fireworks.

    this gives my opinion plenty of room to work when i get this book under my belt.

  • I really loved The Lace reader as well and am really looking forward to this new book. Thanks for the great recommendation.

  • I’m not familiar with this author’s work, but I like the premise behind The Map of True Places. I like the idea of the literary connections described in the book.

  • Jean

    Definitely an example of the deep workings of our inner worlds and psyche and how true personal growth can often only come from visiting these “true places” and making peace. Though the subject matter was interesting, I thought the book quite dark. If I am going to spend time reading I want to come away inspired not just find confirmation of how dark life’s experiences can be……. This is not a negative commentary on the book itself, really just not my cup of tea. Will not recommend this book.


    Am loving this book, can’t put it down. Love the characters and could see myself a part of their lives.