Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Star Book Review and Contest: The Map of True Places by Brunonia Barry

The Map of True Places by Brunonia Barry takes readers and listeners on a psychological journey through the eyes of Zee. Zee was born and raised on the North Shore of Massachusetts, frequenting the towns of Salem and Marblehead. Zee is the product of the estranged marriage between her Parkinsonian-afflicted father, Finch, and her late mother, Maureen, who suffered from bipolar disorder. As you might imagine, Zee’s parents, especially the death of Maureen, have greatly affected Zee’s sense of self her entire life. Although she’s a well-respected psychological counselor in Boston today, Zee, at one time, had given in to her inner rebel and had an obsessive passion for stealing boats. She was very good at it, careful to always cover up her tracks, but like all things in life, her bad behavior eventually caught up with her and it was time for Zee to face the music, so to speak. In The Map of True Places, we find Zee at yet another crossroads in her life, dealing with the death of a client and the progressive illness of her father, and once again, Zee must grapple with a hard reality and learn to grow from her experiences.

          I would not consider The Map of True Places to be a traditional chick lit novel, but with its overarching theme of self-growth, I would classify it as women’s fiction. Like many novels of this genre, we meet our heroine at a place in her life where she is essentially backed into a corner or hitting rock bottom, as some might call it. Zee is faced with several difficult dilemmas that upon first glance seem to be rooted in various dramas involving her family, love relationships, and career. However, upon more careful inspection (and a lot of introspection), Zee realizes that she must do a lot of soul-searching before she can even begin to contemplate any of her outward problems. Zee embarks on a journey of self-exploration, learning that you can nerve be too old to grow.

          I enjoyed the set up of Zee’s character and the back and forth between the past and present during the opening prologue and first two parts of the novel. For me, it became harder to pay attention to the audio during Zee’s scenes with her father, Finch and his partner, Melville; but I must say the intertwining characters and intersecting storylines was very intriguing and worth your full attention during the entirety of the audio. As a psychology graduate student I especially loved the sneak peak I was given into the world of counseling as well as the deeper exploration of characters. I think this novel also hit so close to home with me because I am from Massachusetts and could picture the places Zee visited.

The Map of True Places takes risks that other novels do not, approaching the often taboo and difficult subjects of bipolar disorder, homosexuality and suicide. Brunonia Barry proves her talent as an artist of words, crafting articulate chapters and dividing the book into several sections. She is also the bestselling author of The Lace Reader. This was my first listen to narrator, Alyssa Bresnahan, who succeeds in creating a lovable heroine in Zee and fulfilling her duties as a variety of other, memorable friends and family.


For more information on Brunonia Barry, check out her web site at

She also hosts two sites specifically for her bestselling novel, the Lace Reader, a story about a woman who can foretell the future in patterns of lace, and The Map of True Places. Visit and for the book trailers, information on where to buy and more.

If you want to learn about the writing process and how Brunonia Barry was able to accomplish writing such a complex and popular novel, please check out the guest post she did at Lip Gloss and Literature back in April:

To WIN your very OWN COPY of THE MAP OF TRUE PLACES BY BRUNONIA BARRY, simply enter below.

You need not be a follower or re-publish this contest. Comment and be sure to include an email address where I might be able to reach you should you be the winner of one (1) paperback copy of The Map of True Places by Brunonia Barry.

Open to US/CANADA RESIDENTS ONLY. This contest will be active today through next Wednesday, May 25. The winner will be chosen at random via and announced the next day. A big thank you to Anna at FSB Media for providing a copy of The Map of True Places to the winner at Lip Gloss and Literature. Comment today to enter!! GOOD LUCK!!


  1. I'm excited about this giveaway!!! I really want to read this thanks so much for this one!


  2. Count me in :)


  3. Sounds good, but I don't it it's really my kind of book. Nice review

  4. Lovely review! Thank you for the giveaway!

    unabridgedchick at

  5. Lovely and insightful review. Thank you for the giveaway. I'd love for a chance to win this book, and read it.

    GFC Follower: ~Enamored Soul~
    Email: Enamoredsoul(at)gmail(dot)com

  6. Awesome!

  7. I'd love a chance to read this book thanks!

    unforgetable_dreamer_always (at) hotmail (dot) com