New Release: The Map Colorist
By Rebecca D’Harlingue
September 19, 2023

Launch Day!

I’m so excited that today is the launch for my second historical novel, The Map Colorist! Tomorrow it will be three years since the publication of my first novel, The Lines Between Us. So much feels different this time around. For one thing, we aren’t in the middle of a global pandemic. For another, the first book took me many, many years to write, while this one was quite a bit faster. Also, this time I was a bit more knowledgeable about getting a book out into the world. Finally, and most importantly, I now have an amazing group of author friends, both in the Paper Lantern Writers group, and in a group of authors who have the same publisher that I do, She Writes Press.

The story of the story

Novelists are often asked where we get our ideas. I came to this story in a bit of a roundabout way. I wanted to stay in the seventeenth-century, the setting of my first novel, which took place in Spain and Mexico. I hit upon the idea of a cartographer as something that would be unusual for a woman of the time. When I started my research, I discovered that Amsterdam was the map-producing capital during that period. Next I stumbled upon the fact that maps were colored by hand, often by women and even children in their homes. Finally, in looking into the production of the Atlas Maior, the largest publication of the seventeenth century, I read that there were some maps of Africa that were unattributed. I had the map for my protagonist!

Description of The Map Colorist

The Map Colorist is the story of a young woman in 1660 Amsterdam who colors maps to help her family earn money. Her father is an artist who is less than successful, and her mother also colors maps. But Anneke wants to do more than just enhance the maps of other cartographers. She wants to create her own, and she believes that her father’s notes from a trip to Africa in 1642 will enable her to do that.

Her dream is to have her map printed in the Atlas Maior, which is being planned by the owner of the Blaeu printing house, for whom she works. She realizes that few will credit a woman with the ability to create a map, and so she enlists the aid of a wealthy map collector, whose maps she has been engaged to color.

However, there are unforeseen obstacles in her way, which could not only deny her the fulfillment of her dream, but even endanger the livelihood of her family. Will the map survive, or will family secrets, murder, and infidelity condemn it to be forever lost?

“The rich and fascinating worlds of mapmaking, exploration, and art in 17th-century Amsterdam spring to life in the story of Anneke van Brug … The Map Colorist is a well-researched, entrancing novel that will charm lovers of The Girl With the Pearl Earring and The Miniaturist.  ~ Nancy Bilyeau, author of The Blue and The Fugitive Colors, and The Orchid Hour

The Map Colorist is a riveting story of an artist who learns ambition from her mother’s example, resulting in secrets, deception, and tragedy. You will hold your breath all the way to the end before you know if love and family can prevail.”   ~ Linda Ulleseit, award-winning author of Under the Almond Trees, The Aloha Spirit, and The River Remembers

See more reviews and buy links for the paperback, ebook, and audiobook on my website.

Rebecca D’Harlingue

Written by Rebecca D’Harlingue

Award-winning author Rebecca D’Harlingue writes about seventeenth-century women forging a different path. Her debut novel, The Lines Between Us, won an Independent Press Award and a CIBA Chaucer Award. Her next novel, The Map Colorist, comes out in September, 2023.

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  1. Kathryn

    Just arrived on my doorstep! Excited to read Anneke’s story. Congratulations on your new release, Rebecca.


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