Spanish Netherlands, 1620s: raised by her father Lucas to know her mind, Antonia 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 great painter 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 secret which will alter the course of their family’s future.
Belgium, present day: haunted by the recent loss of her mother, art historian Charlotte’s move to Antwerp is ostensibly to research her hero, Baroque artist Rubens, and also to seek answers about the father she has never met. But a startling discovery hidden inside an old folio turns Charlotte’s quiet life into a dangerous hunt for the truth. Nothing is as it appears in the shadowy cloisters of the university, where violence and obsession run deep.
The Engraver was translated and first published in Dutch as De Graveur on 21 February 2022 by Horizon Publishing. It is available in paperback, e-book and audiobook from major booksellers in the Netherlands and Belgium. An English edition will be published later.
Inspired by a real feud between Rubens and his chief engraver Lucas Vorsterman, The Engraver will appeal to fans of Possession, The Miniaturist and Girl with a Pearl Earring.
What I’m working on at the moment…
The years in between the two world wars is a fascinating period of history, the Jazz Age quickly following the ravages of the Great War, the Great Depression plunging the populace into dire economic hardship before the horrors of the Second World War. Women had won the right to vote, yet there were severe restrictions on who could actually vote. Women were by no means free from restrictions or oppression.
I am writing a story set in this era, focusing on a young woman called Fenna who is exploring her past, fearful for her future, searching for her sense of identity and belonging. The story begins in London, moves to her birthplace of Amsterdam, then travels to Munich and finally Vienna. For Fenna, it is a journey of awakening. A gradual unravelling.