REVIEW: MAP OF THE HEART, BY SUSAN WIGGS

 

Widowed by an unspeakable tragedy, Camille Palmer has made her peace with the past and settled into the quiet safety of life with her teenage daughter Julie in a sleepy coastal town. Then the arrival of a mysterious package breaks open the door to her family’s secret past. In uncovering a hidden history, Camille has no idea that she’s embarking on an adventure that will utterly transform her. 

Camille, Julie, and Camille’s father return to the French town of his youth, sparking unexpected memories — recollections that will lead them back to the dark days of the Second World War. And it is in the stunning Provençal countryside that they will uncover their family’s surprising history.  

While Provence offers answers about the past, it also holds the key to Camille’s future. Along the way, she meets a former naval officer who stirs a passion deep within her — a feeling that she thought she’d never experience again.


My Thoughts: A beautiful family drama with dual time lines, Map of the Heart grabbed me from the very beginning.

In the present, Camille is struggling, but also immersed in her business in which she restores old photos. Her days of photographing the world around her, however, died along with her husband.

In the project that sets her on a new path, she connects with Malcolm (Finn) Finnemore; an unfortunate accident in the dark room and a family emergency almost upend their professional relationship, but events have a way of turning around.

What is going on with teenager Julie, who seems to have lost all of her friends? Why are unpleasant happenings keeping her holed up in her room, gaining weight and sullying her once adventurous spirit? Can a trip to Provence for the summer change everything, for both Julie and Camille?

I loved the characters, and so many historical and contemporary layers kept me digging for the treasures that would reveal a lovely story and uncover secrets from the past. By the conclusion, I was in tears, rooting for them all. 5 stars.

***
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