From Simone Van Der Vlugt comes her European bestselling novel of a young woman's rise as a painter in Holland's Golden Age-perfect for readers of The Miniaturist, Tulip Fever, and Girl with a Pearl Earring. Amsterdam 1654: against the backdrop of Holland's Golden Age, a dangerous secret threatens to destroy a young widow's new life. Following the sudden death of her husband, twenty-five-year old Catrin leaves her small village and takes a job as a housekeeper to the successful Van Nulandt merchant family. Amsterdam is a city at the peak of its powers: science and art are flourishing in the Golden Age and Dutch ships bring back exotic riches from the Far East. Madam Van Nulandt passes her time taking expensive painting lessons from a local master, Rembrandt van Rigin, and when Catrin takes up a brush to finish some of her mistress's work, Rembrandt realizes the maid has genuine talent, and encourages her to continue. When a figure from her past threatens her new life, Catrin flees to the smaller city of Delft. There, her gift as a painter earns her a chance to earn a living painting pottery at a local workshop. Slowly, the workshop begins to develop a new type of pottery to rival fancy blue-on-white imported Chinese porcelain-and the graceful and coveted Delft Blue designs she creates help revolutionize the industry. But when tragedy strikes, Catrin must decide whether to defend her newfound independence, or return to the village that she'd fled.
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"A sensational narration by Imogen Church keeps this historical fiction engaging and exciting. Set in Amsterdam during Holland's Golden Age, this riveting story offers fascinating descriptions of social norms, extraordinary people, and ordinary routines. Catrin, a widow, leaves her village and moves to Amsterdam to work as a housekeeper, leaving behind questions surrounding her husband's death. When someone from her village appears in Amsterdam, we can hear Catrin's near-hysteria in Church's voice. Catrin flees to Delft and begins her new life as a pottery painter, and Church expertly delivers the well-researched details of making Dutch porcelain. With impeccable characterizations and sublime Dutch accents, Church details a huge explosion in the Delft armory and the unforgiving ravages of the plague. She makes this audiobook completely believable. S.J.H. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2018, Portland, Maine"
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