The Map of True Places

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The Map of True Places

Zee Finch is a practicing psychotherapist in Boston. She works within a very respected office and her boss is world famous. She’s engaged to one of Boston’s most eligible bachelors, Michael. She has a good life and an excellent map of how her life should go. Zee’s life starts to unravel after one of her patients, Lilly Braedon jumps from a bridge killing herself.

Zee’s mother committed suicide when Zee was a child. Lilly’s death brings back many feelings that Zee thought she had left behind. After attending Lilly’s funeral, Zee stops to see her father.

It’s at that point; her life really starts to fall apart. Her father, Finch has Parkinson’s disease. His long time companion and lover, Melville has been there for years but now he’s moved out. Though Finch has a home health aide that comes in for several hours each day, it is obvious that he needs more help than that.

Melville wants to return home and care for Finch but Finch wants him out. Zee’s not sure what to do. She has a wedding to plan, a job to do and an obligation to her father. No matter what, the direction that her life was taking has changed.

This book basically covers one year in the life of Zee Finch. In that year, she faces many changes and has to look within herself for answers she’s not sure she wants to know.

The characters in this story are extremely well done. They are complex and interesting. Zee is the most developed as the main character. She reflects about where her life has been and the uncertainty of where it’s going. She acts, reacts and struggles. Melville has similar problems. He wants to do what is best for everyone. However, all of the characters, regardless of their role, come across as real.

Many of the issues brought up in this story are ones most of us don’t want to deal with. Lilly is depressed but she also has an abusive boyfriend she’s hiding from her husband and family. Zee’s mother was similar to Lilly in that she was bi-polar. The stresses of taking care of ill, aging parents are well documented. Yet, each of these issues and more are dealt with care, concern and education.

Love in its many forms is seen throughout this story. Zee has the love and respect in her friendship with her boss. She also has parental love from Melville and a somewhat more rocky love with Finch. Michael loves Zee but Zee isn’t sure if that’s enough. That may be why she can’t stop thinking about Hawk, a sailor on a tall ship. Love is even seen as Zee’s boss gets married and her uncle, finally, gets a date with the woman he’s been after for years!

This story is very much a gripping drama keeping you interested from the beginning and anticipating the end. There are frequent shifts, bringing twists and turns in the plot that are unexpected but exceptional. Zee’s story doesn’t end with the end of this book though, but she has a new beginning to explore and maybe we’ll get to see how it unfolds.

Book Blurb for The Map of True Places

Brunonia Barry, the New York Times bestselling author of The Lace Reader, offers an emotionally compelling novel about finding your true place in the world.
Zee Finch has come a long way from a motherless childhood spent stealing boats—a talent that earned her the nickname Trouble. She's now a respected psychotherapist working with the world-famous Dr. Liz Mattei. She's also about to marry one of Boston's most eligible bachelors. But the suicide of Zee's patient Lilly Braedon throws Zee into emotional chaos and takes her back to places she though she'd left behind.
What starts as a brief visit home to Salem after Lilly's funeral becomes the beginning of a larger journey for Zee. Her father, Finch, long ago diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, has been hiding how sick he really is. His longtime companion, Melville, has moved out, and it now falls to Zee to help her father through this difficult time. Their relationship, marked by half-truths and the untimely death of her mother, is strained and awkward.
Overwhelmed by her new role, and uncertain about her future, Zee destroys the existing map of her life and begins a new journey, one that will take her not only into her future but into her past as well. Like the sailors of old Salem who navigated by looking at the stars, Zee has to learn to find her way through uncharted waters to the place she will ultimately call home.

Night Owl Reviews Sep, 2010 4.50