Book Review: The Mapmaker’s Daughter by Clare Marchant

Posted August 25, 2022 by WendyW in Book Review, bookblogger / 29 Comments

The Mapmaker's Daughter
One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

by Clare Marchant
Publication Date September 1, 2022
Published by HarperCollins UK
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Genres: Fiction / Action & Adventure, Fiction / Historical / General, Fiction / Historical / Medieval, Fiction / Historical / Renaissance, Fiction / Romance / Historical / General, Fiction / Romance / Historical / Tudor, Fiction / Small Town & Rural
Pages: 384
Format: ARC

***I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.***

‘Oh my word... fantastic... [The] stories intertwine so beautifully, it’s truly amazing. Such a lot of research must have to have been done but so worth it. I can’t recommend this book enough.’ NetGalley reviewer ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Could a rediscovered map show her the way?

Present day: When thirty-six-year-old Robyn Willoughby discovers an exquisite yet blood-stained Tudor map in her father’s antique map shop, desperate for a distraction from her problems, she decides to investigate. But as Robyn delves into the mystery, she finds herself caught up in a centuries-old secret – one that will change her life forever.

1569: Forced to flee Holland to escape persecution, twenty-year-old Freida Ortelius uses her mapmaking skills to start anew in London. Soon her rare talent catches the eye of Queen Elizabeth, who demands Freida’s help in fighting the Spanish threat. Freida must now embark on a deadly mission, the consequences of which will echo down the ages...

A sweeping and heartbreaking read, perfect for fans of Lucinda Riley and Kathryn Hughes.

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.

About Clare Marchant

Growing up in Surrey, Clare always dreamed of being a writer. Instead, she followed a career in IT, before moving to Norfolk for a quieter life and re-training as a jeweller.

Now writing full time, she lives with her husband and the youngest two of her six children. Weekends are spent exploring local castles and monastic ruins, or visiting the nearby coast.

Have you read The Mapmakers Daughter? Do you want to? Do you like historical fiction?

29 responses to “Book Review: The Mapmaker’s Daughter by Clare Marchant

    • Thank you, Nadene. It’s not for everyone. I can’t read too many historical novels, but I do enjoy them once in a while.

  1. This sounds very interesting!

    Yeah, I’ve also found that books set in both the present and the past are often stronger in their historical timelines.

  2. I’m a sucker for mysterious map stories. I also like dual timelines and the 1500s time period. Great review, Wendy – sounds like this was a winner for you!

  3. It’s too bad both timelines weren’t equally compelling. But anything to do with antique maps always intrigues me. 🙂

  4. Love the sound of this, and I don’t think I’ve ever read anything set around a map maker. Lovely review Wendy. So glad the older timeline gave you a strong story even if the modern day one disappointed a tad

  5. Elizabeth I is often presented as so strong she borders on cruel. I don’t know if she was in this story too but I’m thinking she would have had to be to make it in a man’s world. The 1500s timeline is definitely interesting to me. I love books set back them. I’m going to have to make note of this one. Excellent review!

    • She was in this book, and yes she was portrayed as tough, but she took a liking to the main character and showed a slightly softer side.

    • I loved the parts about how she made the maps, it’s so interesting. My father was a mapmaker, so I’ve always loved maps.