The Engraver’s Secret
Spanish Netherlands, 1620s: Raised by her father Lucas to know her mind, Antonia Vorsterman sees everything that goes on in her world – all the rivalries and jealousy that course through the artists’ studios and workshops of Antwerp. Drawn into the lively household of the artist Peter Paul Rubens, whose work her father engraves for a living, Antonia begins to see a life of colour and possibility for herself – until Lucas entrusts her with a terrible secret that will alter the course of their family’s future.

Belgium, present day: Haunted by the recent loss of her mother, art historian Charlotte Hubert moves to Antwerp is research her hero, the Baroque master Rubens, and to seek answers about the father she’s never met. But a startling discovery hidden inside an ancient map folio turns Charlotte’s quiet academic life into a dangerous hunt for long-lost treasures, missing for 400 years. In the shadowy cloisters of the university, where ambition, obsession and violence run deep, she becomes certain of one thing – no one can be trusted.

The Engraver’s Secret was published by HarperCollins Australia on 3 April 2024. It is available from major booksellers in Australia and New Zealand as paperback, e-book and audio book; and as e-book and audio book in United Kingdom, Ireland, India and other countries.

De Graveur, the Dutch translation of The Engraver’s Secret, was published in February 2022 by Horizon Publishing in Belgium. It is available in the Netherlands and Belgium as paperback, e-book and audiobook from all major bookstores and online booksellers.

Inspired by a real feud between Rubens and his chief engraver Lucas Vorsterman, The Engraver’s Secret will appeal to fans of Possession by A S Byatt, The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton, The Last Painting of Sara de Vos by Dominic Smith and Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier.

What I’m working on at the moment…

Fin-de-siècle Vienna and post-WWI London are fascinating eras which are the dual-timeline settings for Lisa’s second novel. Weaving a story around the art, life and times of Symbolist painter Gustav Klimt, the story focuses on two women with a linked past, both searching for where they belong in the turbulent decades of the early twentieth century.

The story of Lily begins in the closing years of the nineteenth century in Vienna, when socio-political upheavals and the growth of modernism cause everybody, from rulers to commoners, to question their place in the emerging new century. Lily’s story moves across Western Europe, before looping back to Vienna and the peaceful lakes of the Salzkammergut region. But peace becomes a distant memory as the horrors of the Great War and Spanish Flu epidemic take hold, spinning everyone’s life out of control.

Intertwined with Lily’s narrative, is the story of Fenna, living in 1932 London. Exploring her past, fearful for her future, searching for her sense of identity and belonging, Fenna’s story moves to her birthplace of Amsterdam, then travels to Munich and finally Vienna. For Fenna, it is a gradual unravelling of her shared past with Lily and the artist Gustav Klimt.


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