I received a free copy of The Cartographer’s Secret by Tea Cooper from TLC Book Tours at no charge. All opinions are my own.
About The Cartographer’s Secret:
A map into the past. A long-lost young woman. And a thirty-year family mystery.
The Hunter Valley, 1880. Evie Ludgrove loves to chart the landscape around her home—hardly surprising since she grew up in the shadow of her father’s obsession with the great Australian explorer Dr. Ludwig Leichhardt.
So when an advertisement appears in The Bulletin magazine offering a thousand-pound reward for proof of where Leichhardt met his fate, Evie is determined to use her father’s papers to unravel the secret. But when Evie sets out to prove her theory, she vanishes without a trace, leaving behind a mystery that haunts her family for thirty years.
Letitia Rawlings arrives at the family estate in her Ford Model T to inform her great-aunt Olivia of a loss in their family. But Letitia is also escaping her own problems—her brother’s sudden death, her mother’s scheming, and her dissatisfaction with the life planned out for her. So when Letitia discovers a beautifully illustrated map that might hold a clue to the fate of her missing aunt, Evie Ludgrove, she sets out to discover the truth.
But all is not as it seems, and Letitia begins to realize that solving the mystery of her family’s past could offer as much peril as redemption.
A gripping historical mystery for fans of Kate Morton and Natasha Lester’s The Paris Seamstress, The Cartographer’s Secret follows a young woman’s quest to heal a family rift as she becomes entangled in one of Australia’s greatest historical puzzles.
“A galvanizing, immersive adventure . . . forcing the characters to reckon with the choice found at the crux of passion and loyalty and the power of shared blood that can either destroy or heal.” —Joy Callaway, international bestselling author of The Fifth Avenue Artists Society
- Daphne du Maurier Award Winner, 2021
- Historical story with both romance and mystery
- Full-length, stand-alone novel (c. 104,000 words)
- Includes discussion questions for book clubs
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About the Author:
Tea Cooper is an established Australian author of historical fiction. In a past life she was a teacher, a journalist, and a farmer. These days she haunts museums and indulges her passion for storytelling. She is the winner of two Daphne du Maurier Awards and the bestselling author of several novels, including The Horse Thief, The Cedar Cutter, The Currency Lass, and The Naturalist’s Daughter.
I had previously read two books by Tea Cooper (The Girl in the Painting and The Woman in the Green Dress) and enjoyed them both very much. When presented with the opportunity to read a third I said yes very quickly.
As with her other novels The Cartographer’s Secret takes place in Australia. I must admit my knowledge of Australian history is not extensive but that did not stop me from enjoying this novel. Evie is a young woman who worships her father and joins him in his fascination with a missing explorer.
Her sister Miriam is a more traditional girl and when her father leaves their country home to head to Sidney with Miriam in tow to arrange her marriage Evie is left with his direction to sort his papers. She couldn’t be more thrilled.
But like the explorer they both studied, Evie too goes missing. The family is never quite the same after this.
The book takes place in two time periods – the book’s present and the period in which Evie goes missing. The moving back and forth is not confusing and happens only as it needs to so that the story can meet its ending.
As with any tale of this kind there are romances and secrets and a bad guy or two along the way. The clash of time periods is also interesting as there is a motor car versus horse theme within the story.
All in all a delightful book that I actually read in a day. I was reluctant to put it down to cook dinner but cats and the husband do need to be fed now and then.
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