Book Review: ‘Midnight Blue: A Novel’ Is A Good Look At 1654 Holland

For the first time author Simone van der Vlugt is having one of her books published in the United States. It’s a good story of one woman Catrin, who is trying to escape a bad marriage, a secret, her reputation and trying to start over. Along the way she discovers who she is and that there are decent men in the world.

Catrin’s has lost her baby and her husband has suddenly died. They got together after she was seduced by him and found herself pregnant. It was a quick courtship. She moved on to his farm and helped run in in a small Dutch village where she is from. When he suddenly dies, she is left his estate (which isn’t a lot). She decides to sell everything and move away. She wants to go to the city. She has found a job as a housekeeper and wants to save her money and start her own business one day.

When the job doesn’t work out she gets one with the Van Nulandts family, who are merchants in Amsterdam, thanks to Matthias, the rogue brother. He has no plans to settle down and is on the go at all times for the business. That is until he met Catrin and they develop feelings for each other.

When a man from Catrin’s past shows up knowing a secret about her, she flees to work for the older brother in Delft. She thinks she will outrun this man. She is happy and getting to do what she loves paint. She helps turn the business around and she soon marries Evert (Matthias left a while ago on an 18 month voyage to the east and asked her to wait for him). She becomes pregnant and they are happy. Then the plague arrives and people are dying and Catrin is sent to her family.

When the plague is finally passing by she returns home to find that things are not the same and she has some big decisions to make personally and professionally.

A really good look at the time of 1654 and Dutch history. As a woman Catrin was strong willed and is a fascinating character for that time period. It’s also a good look at the arts and culture of the time period. Overall a good historical fiction from Simone van der Vlugt.

It’s in stores on Tuesday, June 26 from William Morrow.

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