The Engraver’s Secret
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’s Secret was translated and first published in Dutch as De Graveur in February 2022 by Horizon Publishing. It is available in paperback, e-book and audiobook from major booksellers in the Netherlands and Belgium.
The Engraver’s Secret will be published in English by Harpers Collins Australia in April 2024.
Inspired by a real feud between Rubens and his chief engraver Lucas Vorsterman, The Engraver’s Secret will appeal to fans of Possession, The Miniaturist and Girl with a Pearl Earring.
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.