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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