The Map Colorist

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Published by: She Writes Press
Release Date: September 19, 2023
Pages: 312
ISBN13: 978-1647425470

The Map Colorist  can also be ordered wherever you buy books. The audiobook is available on most sites that offer audiobooks.



In 1660, Amsterdam is the trading and map-printing capital of the world. Anneke van Brug is one of the colorists paid to enhance black-and-white maps for a growing number of collectors. Her artistic talent brings her to the attention of the Blaeu printing house, and she begins to color for a rich merchant, Willem de Groot. But Anneke is not content to simply embellish the work of others; she longs to create maps of her own. Cartography, however, is the domain of men—so it is in secret that she borrows the notes her father made on a trip to Africa in 1642 and sets about designing a new map.

Anneke hopes to convince the charismatic de Groot to use his influence to persuade Blaeu to include her map in the Atlas Maior, which will be the largest and most expensive publication of the century. But family secrets, infidelity, and murder endanger her dream. Will her map withstand these threats, or will it be forever lost?

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Awards & Accolades

2024 Eric Hoffman Book Awards - Winner in Historical Fiction

Independent Publisher Book Awards (IPPY) 2024 - Bronze Medal in Historical Fiction

National Indie Excellence Awards (NIEA) - Finalist in Historical Fiction

2024 Independent Press Award - Distinguished favorite in Historical Fiction

2023 American Fiction Awards - Finalist in Historical Fiction

2023 CIBA Chaucer Book Awards - Finalist

2023 Sarton Women's Book Award - Finalist in Historical Fiction

2023 Best Book Awards - Finalist in Fiction: Literary

2023 Firebird Book Awards - First Place in Historical Fiction, First Place in Literary Fiction, Third Place in Fiction

2023 Literary Titan Book Awards - Gold Winner



"Author Rebecca D'Harlingue has crafted a fantastic work of literary-styled fiction that packs much into a plot filled with infidelity, long-buried secrets, murder, mystery, and more. One of the features that really struck me was the immersive quality of the descriptions, going beyond the cinematic to give you a more visceral sense of the sounds, smells, and textures of this busy, bustling world of maps and merchants... Overall, The Map Colorist will certainly please fans of strong female leads and trend breakers in history, and I’d highly recommend it for literary fiction fans looking for accomplished writing that also has a fast-paced, engaging plot."

- Readers' Favorite


"The author creates a compelling story of art, ambition, and family drama, with 1660s Amsterdam and its fame for map-making as a vibrant backdrop of the book."


"With each page you turn, be transported to a world of wonder and amazement, where history, art, and science merge into an irresistible blend of knowledge and beauty."

- Midwest Book Review


"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


"The rich and fascinating worlds of mapmaking, exploration, and art in 17th-century Amsterdam spring to life in the story of Anneke van Brug, a protagonist consumed with dreams of achievement that were all too difficult for a young woman of that time. Anneke captured my heart in this story, which is filled with drama and longing. 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


"In this impeccably researched novel, Rebecca D’Harlingue offers the reader a glimpse into the world of map creation during 17th century Amsterdam, as told in an unexpected coming-of-age story by young Anneke. A novel of thwarted ambitions, unusual twists and turns fueled by secrets and lies, and the often harsh realities of family and Dutch society."

– Michelle Cameron, award-winning author of The Fruit of Her Hands, Beyond the Ghetto Gates and Babylon.


"The author’s emotionally resonant narrative follows the coming-of-age of a female artist fueled by a passion for her work and a deep longing to contribute something of value to the world. D’Harlingue deftly portrays her struggles and the complicated relationship dynamics that emerge as Anneke shares her work with others, ultimately exposing disturbing truths that harm all involved. The book is a convincing depiction of the period, in which women were not celebrated for their artistic accomplishments."

- Kirkus Reviews


"D’Harlingue’s narrative prowess shines as she evokes empathy and investment in her beautifully fleshed out characters, along with their aspirations, triumphs, and tribulations. This subdued, yet potent tale will resonate with discerning readers, particularly those with a penchant for rich historical detail."

- Literary Titan


Awards for The Map Colorist