Cover Image: The Mapmaker's Daughter

The Mapmaker's Daughter

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Member Reviews

The Mapmaker's Daughter by Clare Marchant is a historical novel with a dual timeline and just a dash of magical realism.  The historical timeline is set in 1569 and the other timeline is in present day.  

Present day- after a terrible tragedy seven years ago, Robyn moved home to help her father in his map shop in Hay.  She has only a few months to make a big decision that will help her to move on from the tragedy, but she struggles to heal from the tragedy seven years ago.  When she discovers a very unusual map from the 16th century, she knows she has to find out the origin of the map.

1569 - Frieda had to flee her home in Amsterdam after her parents were killed by the Spanish.  Starting over in London she works with her cousin as a mapmaker.   Now married to a sea captain, with a small son, she enjoys her simple life and has found she’s a talented mapmaker now.  Soon, Elizabeth I, learned of her skills and gives her a commission to make a special map for Sir Frances Drake.  Next starts an adventure and Frieda is once again fleeing to save her life and the life of her family.

I enjoyed this extensively researched book very much.  I preferred the 1569 timeline the most and thought Frieda was a strong, courageous, and relatable woman and was my favorite character.  I enjoyed all the historical details the author included for this timeline, and I felt like I was there with Frieda making maps and sailing on ships.  I liked the beautiful descriptions of the Court of Queen Elizabeth I as well, as well as the characters in the court including the queen.  I liked the time period as well as learning more about the Spanish Inquisition.

The present-day timeline was okay, but just not as exciting as the past timeline.  I liked Robyn and could understand why she was stuck.  I enjoyed her enthusiasm for the map and her dedication to finding the origin.  

I highly recommend The Mapmakers Daughter to anyone who enjoys Historical Fiction.  I received a complimentary copy of this book.  The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
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Love the book cover!!
A historical fiction novel told between two timelines,  The main characters are Robyn and Frieda.  In present day of 2022, Robyn is living with her father when they discover a very old map.  In the past of the 1500s, Frieda, is the daughter of a famous mapmaker.  Do the two women share a connection in some way?
I found the mapmaking information very interesting.
Overall, The Mapmakers Daughter was a ok read.  I encourage you to read it and see how you feel about it.  For me the best part of the book was the mapmaking details.
Many thanks to NetGalley, the publisher and author for the opportunity to read this book for my honest review.  All opinions expressed are my own.
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Too often any female character in historical fiction is portrayed as weak and ineffectual but this wasn't the case in The Mapmaker's Daughter. 

Robyn Willoughby discovers a bloodstained map in her father's shop in Hay-On-Wye, in need of a project she decides to investigate its origins. 

The Mapmaker's Daughter is set across dual timelines, in the second timeline Freida has fled the religious persecution of her childhood only to end up in another sticky situation. At court among dangerous enemies who wish her and her family ill. 

"Freida, curled herself into a tiny ball, forehead pressed against her knees, eyes squeezed tightly shut. The coarse hessian of her loose gown grazed her face. It was musty in the cupboard, but mama had told her it was imperative, she didn't make a sound, so she held her breath and hoped she didn't sneeze." 

The Mapmaker's Daughter is graphic for this type of novel, but not in a gratuitous way. 

"The metallic stench of blood filled her nostrils. Slowly she opened them again. In front of her lay her parents, their guts spilled across the floor, wide pools of dark red blood sinking into the boards."

The Mapmaker's Daughter is an excellent example of historical fiction and I would recommend it to anyone looking for something a little different.
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I enjoyed this, showed a bit of history I wasn't familiar with and the characters were likeable.  The flipping between time periods was well done and it didn't get confusing at all.
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This is an amazing story. It tells of two women who are both the wives of sailors Robyn lives in the 20th century. Her husband has been missing for almost seven years and she is struggling with letting go. Frieda is a Dutch girl during the reign of Elizabeth the first. Her story is exciting as she meets the queen and presents her with a beautiful cartographic map. Her adventures lead her and her family back to the Netherlands and happiness.
Robyn comes across the same map and manages to fill in some blanks in the history of Frieda and her family. The story is beautifully written and well researched. Frieda’s story is exciting but you have to feel sorry for Robyn who has had much sadness. She deals with it bravely and there is hope for her future.
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This book had me right from the start, with the dual timeline sometimes a struggle but it was well written and the characters were great. The story was very well researched and the book in parts  made me feel like I could have jumped in the pages and been in the timeline.
Thanks as always to NetGalley and Avon Books for the early read.
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Extensively researched and exquisitely authentic, Clare Marchant’s newest novel is one historical fiction lovers will want to source and secure immediately! 

United by a map, Marchant’s dual timeline features a plot led by Frieda Ortelius, a female cartographer, set in 1580 and a plot led by Robyn Willoughby set in 2022. Robyn finds a hidden map in her father’s stock and the mystery about its owner unravels, linking the two women. 

I was drawn to this story because of the unique perspectives; a female cartographer and the Spanish Inquisition. It’s not often I get a chance to read a novel set in Elizabethan England, either. I was glued to the pages, smiling like I’d won the lottery, as I read about Sir Francis Drake, John Dee, and Queen Elizabeth I. I loved the wide sweep of Marchant’s research and enjoyed the fine attention to detail. Her exploration of second chances and the strength/influence of women was outstanding. As I turned the last page, I had a desperate desire to time travel to Tudor England and experience the era for myself! 

Although this one didn’t measure up to the high standard of The Queen’s Spy in my eyes, it was enjoyable and I’d heartily recommend it to fellow historical fiction enthusiasts. 

I was gifted this advanced copy by Avon Books UK and NetGalley and was under no obligation to provide a review.
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As much as I enjoy a historical novel I found this story didn’t pace itself well and felt slowed down by a lot of unnecessary repetitive elements. 

I didn’t feel the dialogue flowed in a natural way, especially in the modern timeline. Conversations between Robyn and her dad were really stilted and trying to force the story along but instead felt like it could never be a real chat between actual people.
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3 Stars
One Liner: Okayish; could have been better 

Present Day-
Robyn lives with her father in his small apartment, helping him with the map shop. Her life has been the same for seven years when a tragic incident changed her life forever. The discovery of an exquisite map sparks an interest in her. Robyn starts to investigate and find more about the map with her father’s encouragement. Where does it lead her? How does it change her life?
1569-1581- 
Frieda had to flee her home and find safety in London. The Spanish intolerance for anything non-Catholic has destroyed all that she held dear and continues to give her nightmares. When her cartography skills put her in the Queen’s (Elizabeth I) sights, Frieda realizes she is under attack once again. This time, she has more to lose (husband and son) and will do anything to keep them safe. Can she succeed against political power and hate? 
The story comes in the limited third-person POV of the main characters, Frieda and Robyn. 

What I Like: 
The historical part deals with the Spanish Inquisition (the killing of Protestants across Europe) during the 16th century. It’s a change from the WWII stories. 
The historical setting is well-done. The descriptions feel a bit overdone at times, but they paint a clear picture. 
The scenes where Frieda works on the maps are my favorite. It’s one of the reasons I requested the book. The information about cartography, the tools, and the process is a treat to read. 

What Didn't Work for Me: 
I pretty much have no zero expectations from the contemporary track in dual timelines as most books I read have a strong historical track but a weak contemporary one. This book is no different, except that the historical part also didn’t create as much emotional impact as I expected. 
Frieda suffers from PTSD, and her entire story is woven around it. It feels too much after a while, especially with the Spanish Ambassador threatening her multiple times. The relationship between Frieda and others just doesn’t feel authentic. In fact, Frieda’s character appears half-removed from the setting except when she is creating maps. 
The contemporary track is boring. Robyn’s loss should have made me feel more empathetic. Sadly, it doesn’t. That aside, her investigation proceeds with minimum hiccups. Everything happens with ease. Even the roadblocks aren’t frustrating enough. 
There are a couple of random scenes that seem paranormal. I like paranormal stuff, but not when it doesn’t blend with the main narrative or appears out of nowhere and vanishes again. 
The climax is decent, but even that is easy. Despite the plot being set in an intense period, the story feels a bit too light. Intensity is missing almost throughout (except in the Prologue, which is very well done). 

To summarize, The Mapmaker's Daughter could have been a great read but didn’t meet my expectations. It’s an okay read, with cartography being the highlight. I’m a minority (right now), so others might like it more than I did. Read 5-star reviews before deciding. 
Thank you, NetGalley and Avon Books UK, for the eARC. This review is voluntary and contains my honest opinion about the book.
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This historical fiction novel has dual timelines. The main story is that of Frieda Ortelius, a female cartographer living in London in 1580. The contemporary story is about Robyn Willoughby, a young widow, also living in England, in 2022. Both stories revolve around a map created by Frieda.

I found Frieda's story, especially the details about the map-making process, to be the more interesting story. The many descriptive passages in the novel, interesting in themselves, slowed the book for me.

Thank you, Avon Books, UK and Net Galley for allowing me to read an ARC of this book.
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Another fabulous dual-timeline historical novel from Clare Marchant.

In the current day, Robyn is living with her father who owns a shop selling maps in Hay, moving back home after a personal tragedy. When they find a map without any background in their possession, Robyn takes on the challenge of finding out where it came from. Can the task help her sort out her own life and find the happiness she craves?

Back in Elizabethan England, Dutch mapmaker Frieda is tasked with making a special commission for Queen Elizabeth I. Can she stay safe from the threats to her life, and that of her family, and complete the map?

I really enjoy the historical parts of Marchant's novels. They set the scene perfectly, with fabulous descriptions of clothing, locations and people. Looking forward to the next book!
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Clare Marchant has written an intriguing dual time-line novel about a lesser known aspect of history.  Who knew that the Dutch were so badly treated in the 16th century?  Once again this was a religious conflict involving the Spanish and their notorious inquisition.  When Freida's parents are murdered she flees to Antwerp and eventually to London where she falls in love with and marries Willem.  Freida's father was a cartographer and she learnt the trade from him and other relatives.  At this time it was very unusual for a woman to be in a skilled trade.

In 21st century Hay-on-Wye an unknown map is discovered, instigating a hunt for the cartographer and the original owner.

"The Mapmaker's Daughter" is a thoroughly readable novel featuring a number of real-life historical figures including Elizabeth 1, Francis Drake and John Dee.  Recommended.

Thanks to Net Galley and the publishers for the opportunity to review this book.
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As usual in my reviews, I will not rehash the plot (you'll find reviews like that out there already if that's what you're looking for).



This is an enjoyable dual-timeline novel - set partly in present day Hay-on-Wye, and partly in Elizabethan London.  I enjoyed the historical sections more - I love that period of history, and the author has clearly done plenty of research to make her writing authentic.  The descriptions of the settings, costumes, Queen Elizabeth's court and way of life are spot on, as are the rather gruesome and unpleasant aspects of the way the Spanish treated Protestants at that time.

Although I quite liked Robyn, and felt some sympathy for her situation, I liked Frieda's character more, and admired the way she was able to find an inner strength to help her succeed in overcoming the obstacles in her way.

I was initially drawn to this novel by the title, which intrigued me - I also love maps, and found the descriptions of how Frieda created them fascinating.

I will happily read more by this author - really liked her style of writing, attention to detail, and I love dual-timeline novels.

My thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for an ARC.  All opinions my own.
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Freida and Robyn from two different times, both overcoming heartbreak. I really like dual timeline stories.
This one I thought was just ok. I really was expecting more of a mystery regarding the map Robyn found. 
Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for the early copy
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A dual timeline, historical fiction and this has to be one of my favourite styles of book.  A story of then and now, lives from the present finding objects that lead to stories from the past.  And this one didn't disappoint.

Present...  The story of a woman, Robyn, who is helping her father out in his map shop to get her through a tragic time. She finds an old map and so the hunt begins to find out more about this mysterious item.

Past, being 1569, a lady cartographer flees her home to start a new life in London. Frieda then ends up work for the Queen who is plotting the downfall of the King of Spain.

This is a book that really pulls you into to both sides of the story, the mystery of the past, the suspense of finding out what happened with this map and the people who made and owned it.  It just kept me interested and wanting to read the whole way through, right to the very end. 

Well written, well researched and a book I would recommend to anyone who loves the Tudor period and/or just loves a great historical read. Great book.
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I had previously read The Secrets of Saffron Hall by this author and absolutely loved it. When the opportunity to read The Mapmaker's Daughter came up, I automatically jumped on it. And this book did not disappoint.
  In 1569, Freida flees persecution in her home country for London. She then becomes the first women of her era to make beautiful, detailed maps. She soon catches the eye of Queen Elizabeth I, who hires her to make a map. Freida is soon caught up in the intrigue and scandal of court.
 In the present day, Robyn, who is fleeing a tragic situation, comes across an old map in her father's map store. So starts a wonderful tale of past and present intertwined. 
  Ms. Marchant's ability to bring to life characters from the past and weave them with the present day makes for a story that you can't put down. I am eagerly awaiting her next book.
  A big thank you to Avon UK for providing me with an ARC copy to review.
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I have a lot of thoughts about this book, so hopefully they end up semi-coherent in this review. First, a brief synopsis:

Frieda is a woman descended from an illustrious line of Dutch mapmakers. She is married to a Dutch privateer, and they live in London with their young son, after fleeing persecution by the Spanish Catholics. Frieda is recruited by the Queen to make a special map, and the Spanish ambassador starts threatening her. That’s really it. There is a dual story set in 2022 centered around Robyn, whose husband was lost at sea seven years ago. Again, that’s really it. 

Just because you CAN write a dual-timeline novel, doesn’t mean you should. I don’t think these two stories tied together well at all. Or maybe I’m just frustrated by the fact that they women are portrayed so weakly — with moods, self-worth, and life decisions utterly dependent upon the men in their lives. 

Frieda’s insecurity and anxiety is EXHAUSTING. She was not a likable character for me. Robyn neither, so overtly concerned with how others felt and how she was inconveniencing people around her. Yuck. Mendoza, the Spanish villain, is honestly the most one-dimensional character I’ve come across in ages. He is openly hostile to Frieda despite his courtly political position as ambassador. And he is a moron, falling for ridiculous schemes that anyone with a brain would question. 

There is also the question of the multiple historical inaccuracies. Maybe the details of this novel are well-researched, but there are glaring problems for me. For starters, there are letters between two Dutchmen written in “ancient Latin” — what??? It’s 1580. And then a few references are made to “medieval London” — ???? Again, it’s 1580. The medieval period ends by 1500 at the LATEST. Very glaring errors, in my opinion. 

As far as good things about this story, I’m struggling to remember. It’s written coherently. The imagery is pleasant. The mapmaking process details are very interesting, as I didn’t know much about this beforehand. I’m trying not to be horribly negative, but I didn’t connect with the characters at all and I couldn’t wait for the end of this book. I hope your experience is more pleasant!!

Thank you to Clare Marchant, Avon Books UK, and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this ARC!
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After a terrible accident, Robyn is helping her father Malcolm in his map shop, and she's starting to feel she's overstayed her welcome. Robyn’s husband Nate went missing from his yacht years ago, consumed by her grief, she hasn’t been able to make any decisions about their property, and move on with her life.

Robyn discovers an amazing Tudor era map, it appears to be stained by blood, and she has no idea who created the masterpiece? For the first time in seven years Robyn's interested in something, she’s determined she find out the mapmaker's name, and how it ended up in her father’s shop. Robyn starts her investigation, and she contacts a couple of her friends from her past who might be able to help her. 

The Mapmaker’s Daughter is told from two women’s points of view, it has a dual timeline, and it alternates between 1569 and 2022. Two women centuries apart, share a connection, not only due to the mysterious map, both married seafaring men, and have lost people they loved.

Frieda lives in London, with her husband Willem and her baby son Jacob. As a child Frieda lived in France, she lost both of her parents when the Spanish Catholics killed and murdered the Protestant Huguenots. Her family are skilled mapmakers, Frieda started drawing when she was twelve, and she’s very talented. 

Queen Elizabeth want’s to meet Frieda, a Spanish diplomat is at the palace, and she's a nervous wreck. The Queen introduces her to Sir. Francis Drake, and when she discovers Frieda's husband is a Dutch Sea Beggar, and she wants him to fight against the Spanish King. Frieda's involved in a very dangerous situation, due to her childhood experiences she doesn’t handle it well, she’s concerned about her family’s safety, and she doesn’t know who she can trust? 

I enjoyed reading about the medieval times and I was totally adsorbed by the historical aspects of the narrative. The clothes Frieda wore when she visited the Queens court, her life in London and where she lived, how people navigated the city, what they are, drank and believed in. Most of all the craft of map making, the skill, tools used, how they were printed, and Frieda being the first female cartographer. Also, during during the sixteen century people were discovering and exploring new places in the world, science, botany, and making revolutionary navigational instruments.

I received a copy of The Mapmaker's Daughter by Clare Marchant from NetGalley and Avon Books UK in exchange for an honest review. A captivating story about two extraordinary women and both overcoming adversity and their fears, one solving the mystery of the map, who created it, and how it ended up in a shop in England centuries later? I highly recommend this book, I could go on about it forever, and I can't wait to read the authors previous book, The Secrets of Saffron Hall, and five stars from me.
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Once again Marchant takes us back to the intrigue of life in and around the Elizabethan court with the assurance of the master storyteller she is. The streets of London are brought to life in all their grim glory, with language that engages all the senses so well you walk alongside her characters.

Even after the triumph of The Queen’s Spy (one of my favourite books of last year) The Mapmaker’s Daughter doesn’t disappoint. It follows the fortunes of Dutch refugee Freida Ortelius, whose skills as a cartographer draw unwanted attention within Elizabeth’s court. The tension created had me torn between drinking in every drop of the story and racing ahead to find out what happened.

The twentieth century narrative is, rather refreshingly, not a romance as Robyn Willoughby tries to come to terms with the seven year anniversary of her husband’s disappearance at sea. There are many parallels between the two women’s stories and they are beautifully crafted, which makes this a very special book indeed.
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This is an engaging dual-timeline novel featuring two women tied together by a mysterious map.  In the contemporary timeline, Robyn is a former investigative reporter living with her father in Wales after her husband has gone missing in a boating accident.  Even though it has been nearly seven years, bumping up against the time to have officially declared dead, she has been avoiding reality and is just existing, not living.  Robyn’s father owns an antique map & book shop and she gets drawn into researching a beautifully rendered Elizabethan era map.  Her quest to learn about the map takes her away from Wales and brings her back to life on her pursuit of knowledge.

In the historical timeline, Freida is a cartographer who comes from a family of famous mapmakers.  She was forced to flee from Holland to England when her parents were murdered by the Spanish.  She lives with her son and pirate husband.  Her skills come to the attention of Queen Elizabeth I, who hires her to create a map for Sir Francis Drake, which sets her at odds with an angry Spanish ambassador.

Both timelines were interesting, but I particularly enjoyed reading about a strong, self-sufficient woman in the Elizabethan period, excelling in a “man’s world”.
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