The Map Of Leaves by Yarrow Townsend

Publication Date: 5 May 2022

The Blurb

Since Ma died, Orla has lived alone in a woodshed by the river.

Her garden provides everything she needs. But when people begin to fall sick, Warden Atlas decrees that the plants are the cause and must be destroyed.

Armed only with her mother’s book of remedies Orla sets out on a barge-boat to discover the truth and save her garden … but she’s not the only stowaway.

With the rapids of the River Inkwater ahead, three children set a dangerous course that may lead them to a cure – and from which they may never return.

The Review

Spellbinding storytelling that will sweep you away as you journey with Orla to save the world that she loves.

Orla’s obvious distrust of other people, whether from her small town or the Haulers who travel up and down the river comes from a place of anger and grief that she is reluctant to let go of. She is a force of nature as she sets out to undo the damage that she believes Warden Atlas’s decree is bringing on those she stays away from, and one that doesn’t want help from others looking for their own answers.

Watching her grow to care for Idris and Ariana, and drop her barriers, while they never gave up on her, was at turns painful and joyful to watch, and makes this a real #ReadForEmpathy in my opinion.

Yarrow Townsend build a chilling, atmospheric world, highlighting the damage those with wealth and power cause in their search for more wealth and power. There were many comparisons to be drawn with life today and the differences between those who make the rules and those expected to follow them.

I adored the references to the healing power of plants throughout the story. As someone brought up to know that camomile steeped in hot water, followed by lavender under the pillow aids sleep, that neroli is good for reducing scarring, and that peppermint can help chase away an upset stomach, seeing this knowledge presented as science was affirming. After all, natural treatments have been used for far longer than modern medicine has been around.

Great for fans of:

Huge thanks to Chicken House for sending me a copy and for inviting me to take part in the blog tour. Do make sure you check out all of the other stops.