I received an advanced review copy of this book from Akashic books through Edelweiss.
Sarah is an artist living in New York City in the 1980’s. Even though she gets her own show at a New York gallery, she is always living in the shadow of her older sister, Maya, who is not only a famous singer but has also made a name for herself as a real estate tycoon.
Maya is self-centered and she is not a likeable character from the beginning of the story. She seems focused on outward appearances and receiving constant attention and applause. Her disingenuous nature comes through even when she is trying to take an interest in Sarah’s life and career. Sarah follows Maya around the world organizing the details for Maya’s singing engagements.
Maya is all set to go to Europe for an extended tour, but Sarah tells Maya that she wants to stay in Manhattan and finish a series of paintings which she has been hard at work on. But when Sarah decides, for once, to put her own career first, Maya has a violent and outrageous reaction to Sarah’s decision. This event foreshadows what Maya will do in the future to break up Sarah’s happy marriage with Philip.
Sarah meets Philip, of all places, at a funeral of a mutual friend. It takes some time for them to get together in the book because they are both unsure of themselves and lacking in confidence. But once they are together they have a loving and supportive marriage and the only thing that is a source of discomfort between them is the presence of Sarah’s overbearing sister, Maya. Philip is not impressed with her opulent lifestyle and dramatic performances and mannerisms.
Philip is one of the few people, if not the only person, whom Maya is not able to impress and put under her spell. Maya takes this as a challenge and plays a very cruel joke on Philip that ends in tragedy and alters Philip and Sarah’s happy life forever. Philip is not able to mentally recover and he declares, in defeat, that Maya has won and he leaves New York, Sarah, his job and the life they have made together. I was upset throughout the novel that Sarah was so passive when it comes to making important decisions; but growing up in the shadow of her sister conditioned her to living this way. Can Sarah ever escape the grip of her overbearing sibling?
When the book opens, Sarah has a seven-year-old son named Max who has never met his father. We discover that Sarah never told Philip that he had a son. Philip has sent Sarah a letter stating that he will be on her doorstep the next day; we are left in suspense until the end of the book wondering if father and son and husband and wife will ever be united.
LOVE MAPS is a quick and absorbing read that deals with love, relationships, and art and I highly recommend this brief yet intense novel. I have to admit that when I flipped to the last page I was disappointed that the story had ended.
About The Author:
ELIZA FACTOR is a writer and the founder of Extreme Kids & Crew. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her husband and three children. Her debut novel, The Mercury Fountain, was published in 2012. Love Maps is her latest novel.