The Cartographer’s Secret by Tea Cooper

Suzie Eisfelder

Another of the books I bought at Helena’s Curiosity Shop in Bentleigh. It’s the last one of the set and I’m pretty happy with them all. It’s a lovely story, full of things that illustrate Australia. I’m not saying that people disappearing is lovely, but the way it’s told is good.

The story of the two generations is told through two different sets of eyes. We’ve got Evie Ludgrove (1880) who has serious drawing and mapping skills. She’s living in a time when females aren’t allowed to do anything, but the map she draws shows off her next level skills. And then there’s Letitia Rawlings living in 1911 who comes to Evie’s house to tell their aunt, Olivia, about the death of Letitia’s brother. Letitia ends up trying to solve the mystery of Evie’s disappearance thirty years prior in 1880. The story of Dr Ludwig Leichhardt’s disappearance comes nicely into this book.

I haven’t checked much of the history and geography detailed in this novel, but it fits with what I know, so I’m not bothering. Everything is seamlessly woven into a good book with very little romance. What romance there is fits well and doesn’t detract from the book. Cooper has obviously focussed on the history and the novel rather than putting in things that don’t belong there.

I loved having these eras pop into life in front of my eyes. Both 1880 and 1911 were drawn really well. And to see a cartographer at work was a delight. Evie was well trained to check and double check co-ordinates before putting them on a map, she even drew little images on her map. These images included people which were drawn well enough that others were able to identify them. If her map had been published it would have needed a man’s name on it as women weren’t allowed to publish maps.

I loved reading about how people interacted. I got a good feel of camaraderie amongst the different generations and different types of people.

There’s so much I loved, but I made no notations as I was caught up by the entire. I struggled to put this book down for sleep, it was one of those that I wanted to read just one more chapter…and just one more chapter two hours later. Actually, not that bad, but I am finding myself sucked back into the book as I look for little things to jog my memory. Therefore, I’m going to finish with my usual link to the book and a thank you to all those who clicked a previous link.

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