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The Map of True Places    by Brunonia Barry Amazon.com order for
Map of True Places
by Brunonia Barry
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Harper, 2011 (2010)
Hardcover, Softcover, e-Book

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* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Hepzibah T. Finch, known as Zee, never did find out what her middle initial stood for. Her bipolar mother Maureen might not have even had a name in mind - perhaps she just gave her daughter a middle initial.

Hepzibah's childhood with her ill mother and an indifferent father didn't lend itself to good behavior. However, her life finally led her to a study of psychology. As a newly graduated Ph.D., Zee began to realize that her father's health was deteriorating. Her mother had committed suicide years before. Years later, Finch, as her father was known in their hometown of Salem, Massachusetts, threw his gay lover Melville out of the house. Finch was a Nathaniel Hawthorne scholar, who quoted lines from his writings often.

When Zee's patient, Lilly Braeden, commits suicide, Zee spirals downward and moves home to care for her father. Their relationship is dodgy at best and Zee takes up with Hawk, a ship's rigger. During this time, she learns that all is not what she thought and that her life has been moving from one place on a map to another.

The Map of True Places by Brunonia Barry is a first novel. One that grabs the reader from the first page and makes it very hard to put down. The dynamics between the characters are intriguing. The sense of place rings very true making Salem a location I have put on my go-to list. The author states that she took artistic license with Salem, but she still makes it a very likable town. This is a very good book.

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