"Poignant love story rich in detail no matter where or when"
Reviewed by Susan Gorman
Posted August 25, 2017
Women's Fiction | Women's Fiction Historical
MAP OF THE HEART by Susan Wiggs is an emotional, thoughtful
story about forgiveness, love and new beginnings. The dual
storyline enables the author to effortlessly blend Lisette
Galli's life in occupied France during World War II with
her granddaughter Camille Adam's life in Bethany Bay,
Delaware. The well-defined characters and their journeys
Camille Adams has been tasked to rescue a fifty year old
roll of 35 millimeter film for a client. She is in her dark
room working on the project when she receives a call that
her daughter Julie has been brought to the local emergency
room. Panicked, she leaves her darkroom and heads to the
hospital where she learns her daughter was injured while in
a surf rescue class. The author is spot on as she balances
Camille's fears for her daughter's safety with Julie's
desire to fit in with her peers while subtly introducing
the theme of bullying. These pages are well crafted and
Mother-Teen Age Daughter theme resonated with me. A
stranger is waiting at Camille's front door when she
arrives home, it's her client, historian and Professor
Malcom 'Finn" Finnemore. Camille explains to him that she
ruined his film when she ran from the darkroom to the ER.
The Professor is frustrated and angry and leaves Camille in
Susan Wigg's descriptive voice shines as she describes
Lisette Galli's life in 1940's France. I could sense
Lisette's fear of the Italian and then the German soldiers
who occupied her village of Bellerive during the war. She
understood that no one was safe or could be trusted because
both the German and Italians vied for control of the bridge
leading into the town. Lisette documents life in the
village by taking photographs of the townspeople, soldiers
Camille, Julie and Henry, Camille's father, travel to
France to visit the family home. They uncover Lisette's
trunk, undeveloped film and old photos in the attic.
Sensing the importance of these treasures, Camille contacts
Finn who is teaching in France. I loved how the photos and
items in the trunk connected the past with the present.
During the research project, Finn romances Camille and
their sweet romance captivated me as both of them had to
let go of their past relationships to embrace their love.
MAP OF THE HEART has all of the feels, I cried, laughed and
emphasized with these characters. Loved that a happy
confident Julie returned to Bethany Bay as her struggles
were an important piece of the story. The historical detail
and the description of the town of Bellerive added
authenticity to the storyline and the author blended
romance into both of storylines. The book's thoughtful
conclusion holds several surprises and is perfectly written
for each one of the characters. If you are looking for a
novel which blends history with
well-crafted characters and romance, then MAP OF THE HEARt
is the perfect read for you!
Love and family. War and secrets. Betrayal and
#1 New York Times
bestselling author Susan Wiggs returns with a deeply
emotional and atmospheric story that spans oceans and
decades, from the present-day Delaware shore to the
battlefields of WWII France.
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
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.
What do you think about this review?
No comments posted.
Registered users may leave comments.
Log in or register now!