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Midnight Blue

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  2,363 ratings  ·  398 reviews
From Simone Van Der Vlugt comes her European bestselling novel of a young woman's rise as a painter in Holland's Golden Age—perfect for readers of The Miniaturist, Tulip Fever, and Girl with a Pearl Earring.

Amsterdam 1654: against the backdrop of Holland's Golden Age, a dangerous secret threatens to destroy a young widow's new life.

Following the sudden death of her
Paperback, 336 pages
Published June 26th 2018 by William Morrow Paperbacks (first published February 2016)
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Average rating 3.69  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,363 ratings  ·  398 reviews

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Always Pouting
Mar 31, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Catrijn is a Dutch farm girl who has always wanted more than to stay on a farm forever, so when her husband dies she sells the property he leaves her and goes to the city. While she's there working as a maid one of her old farm hands finds her and threatens her with a secret from her past so she flees further away and finds a job painting pottery. I really enjoyed this book and I loved the writing. It's translated but the writing didn't seem to lose any dept or sound awkward at all. I loved ...more
Britt / Basically Britt
3.5 stars! Really quick and interesting read!
Jun 24, 2018 rated it liked it
I've always loved the blue and white Chinese porcelain, so when I saw the cover of Midnight Blue, it immediately captured my attention. Set in 17th century Netherlands, the book tells the story of a young woman with a talent for painting that stumbles into the world of pottery making and how her talent sets her life on a new course.

Catrin finds herself widowed and alone in Amsterdam with a big secret and the hope that no one will discover her secret. She is hired by a pottery maker who soon
This story is set during the 17th century Netherlands, period known as the Dutch Golden Age during witch art was among the most acclaimed in the world. The story briefly weaves in such artists as Rembrandt and Vermeer, focusing majorly on the Dutch Porcelain.

It starts in 1654 in a small village of De Rijp. The fictional heroine, Catrin, after the death of her husband, moves out of her village, which is unheard of. She follows her dream to be in a city. She sells all her belongings and the only
Catherine Strauch
Jan 16, 2018 rated it liked it
Meh. This was an easy quick read that was enjoyable but not memorable. I didn’t feel as though the characters were developed well enough to feel any sincere attachment to and things happened so quickly it was hard to ever feel engrossed.
Chaya Nebel
Feb 15, 2018 rated it it was ok
This was an OK historical novel focusing on life as a pottery painter in Delft around the time the Delft Blue pottery exploded in popularity. Catrin is a pottery painter there. She has left her hometown under mysterious circumstances, is followed by a fellow townie who knows her secret, and finds herself alone and vulnerable.

Catrin's story is OK. There's some interest in how a woman of the time would have handled her life with its restrictions and vulnerabilities. The historical part, including
Chantal Lyons
Mar 06, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I cannot believe that this is the best writer to come out of Holland. I will not believe it.

For a large portion of "Midnight Blue", I was willing to blame a shoddy translation job for the mediocrity. The writing is absent of vividness, painfully bare, and I'd have struggled to imagine the settings of Amsterdam and Delft if I hadn't already read "The Miniaturist" and "The Girl With A Pearl Earring". The dialogue is laughable - did people in the 1600s really milk cows "in a jiffy"? And, a classic
Feb 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Midnight Blue”, written by Dutch author Simone Van Der Vlugt and translated by Jenny Watson is an interesting book.
It follows a short period in the life of a Dutch woman, Catrin. During this time, she marries Govert, but very soon, she realises her mistake, as Govert is a wife beater. It is with a certain amount of relief that her husband dies quite soon after their marriage, but Catrin feels she must sell her property and leave her home village. On her travels, she works in a several towns
Angelique Simonsen
Feb 09, 2018 rated it liked it
a good tale told well. the book does lack depth tho a good lazy afternoon read
Mar 30, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, in-en, 2019
Fast-paced, plot-driven, catchy at times, but alas! not remarkable. You simply cannot have Rembrandt, Vermeer, and Fabritius as book characters at the same time, and must definitely refrain from casually mentioning famous paintings that served as book plots.
Liesl de Swardt
It's a story of a woman in 17th century Netherlands and the start of the Delft porcelain. I really liked the story, and was fascinated by the history of Delft.
Apr 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Every now and again a novel comes along that so clearly calls out to me it might be a bespoke title written for me alone.

Midnight Blue is one of these books.

It was the cover which first drew me towards this book, I think its just gorgeous!
But between the covers I became enchanted with the story.

Firstly it’s set in the vividly described, enticing location of Holland and the centre of Amsterdam, a city with which I am so familiar I could conduct my own guided tours around the canals, having spent
Feb 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Midnight Blue is a novel set in the Netherlands in the 17th century and written by Dutch author Simone van der Vlugt. Originally published in Dutch, this edition from HarperCollins features an English translation by Jenny Watson.

As the novel opens in 1654, we meet Catrin, a young woman who lives in the village of De Rijp and who has recently been widowed. Hoping to make a new start, Catrin says goodbye to her family and sets out on the long journey to Amsterdam, where she has been offered work.
3.5 stars, rounded
Following the tale of Catrin, we have a glimpse into the times: married at 17 and widowed by 25, she’s left her small village and taken a post as housekeeper with a successful merchant family, the wife spending her time in painting lessons from the master, Rembrandt. One of Catrin’s joys is the paintings and art she’s seeing for the first time, and with encouragement from her mistress’ teacher, she perhaps has a new and more creative option. But her past is never far behind,
Oct 28, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dutch-literature
This book was interesting, and nothing like what I expected and it was actually pretty fun. I liked the descriptions in this book, although I do think that maybe that's also due to the fact that I've been to a lot of the places mentioned, so I know what to picture & approximately what all the places would've looked like. I enjoyed reading it overall although I do have some issues, mainly that the main character is just very passive except for the one choice she makes in the beginning to ...more
loved this books. i went to Delft yesterday to experience the atmosphere of the city because I loved the story and everything that was mentioned so i had to go and see the pubs and streets for myself. i recomend this book to all expats who live in the Netherlands it is great story and you learn a lot about the country and it's atmosphere during the Golden Age.
Andreea Zelenyak
Jul 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Usually this is not my cup of tea, but, I really enjoyed listening to this one as an audiobook. I couldn’t stop listening....even though it’s the middle of the night and tomorrow I’ll have to go to work. A masterpiece! 5 golden stars
Lady Delacour
Great story that had my house
doing fun Google searches,
to learn more about
the different subject matters.
Almost clean, just a few foul words.
Nice narration by Imogen Church.
Mar 16, 2018 rated it liked it
I am thankful to have won a copy of this novel from the publisher. I found the pacing of the book to be a bit on the slower side, and took me a while to get through it. It was an interesting tale about 1650s Holland, when the Dutch Golden Age met the plague.

The protagonist, Catrin, is a young woman from a small village, who leaves her home after the death of her husband. She ends up in Amsterdam working as a housekeeper for a wealthy merchant family. It is not long before Catrin's talent as a
Wendy McLoughlin
Feb 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Easy to read, well-paced historical novel about a young widowed woman in Holland in the 17th Century. Fascinating learning a possible (invented, of course) story of how the Delft Blue pottery was created and the challenges faced by a woman, widowed and alone, forging a new life in a new city in that time.
Including historical occurences we generally have no concept of and a couple of fictional characters representing the likes of Rembrandt and Vermeer added to the depth and colour of the story.
Heather Boundy
I loved the historical aspects of this story, having visited Amsterdam and Delft, but found the writing fairly lacklustre. This could be that something was lost in translation, as the narrative is very bland and one-dimensional. The protaginist, Catlin, is well-portrayed and we can sympathise with her story with all of its high and lows, however many of the other characters are cardboard cutouts, or at worse, caricatures. We meet some historical artists such as Rembrandt and Vermeer in passing, ...more
Valerie Thirkettle-kayser
I loved this book. The French translation I read is very nicely written. The historical background is very interesting. Having just visited the Porceleyn Fles in Delft, I enjoyed finding the details of the porcelain of delft history in the book. This period in history was very important in the Netherlands and in spite of the plague, very prosperous. The book brushes a very good portrait of Holland in those times, including its painters, sailors, and life in the Dutch towns and countryside. The ...more
Jul 13, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
DNF. Yet another historical novel where the characters speak and behave like they're living in the 21st century. I'm not saying I want Shakespeare-style language, but SOMETHING to reflect the time, after all, that's why I'm reading a historical novel. When one of the characters talked about doing something in a "jiffy", it was the beginning of the end for me.
I fittingly started to read this in Amsterdam, but tired of it rather quickly. It felt far too modern in both its dialogue and use of colloquialisms, and there was no realism to the characters. Alas, another abandoned tome which held so much promise at the outset.
Jun 27, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobooks, art
An enjoyable easy to read historical novel.
Jan 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
The story of Catrin Barentsdochter just flows. There are ups and downs but overal it is a gentle reading. The background of pottery business in the Netherlands is told beautifully.
Apr 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
I have really been on point with my historical fiction picks lately, and Midnight Blue is no exception. This was an excellent read and one that I enjoyed immensely.

Following along with Catrin's story, I felt an array of emotions, and she quickly became dear to me. I couldn't help but root for her along the way. She showed such strength and pragmatism at times, but she also had a softer side that she had no issue showing, too. I loved the story and following along her journey. I don't know much
Apr 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
I grew up in Australia with Delft ornaments in our home as my parents migrated from Holland post WW2 and brought some with them.I now have their Delft in my home and I love them.
I visited the Netherlands and had to go to Delft and bring some of my own Delt blue home. Initially the cover of this book caught my attention then the blurb on the back had me intrigued as I was interested in the history of Delft. I really enjoyed the story set in the 17th century in the Netherlands during the Golden
Aug 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is what fluffy novels should be - interesting characters, historically rich background for the story, intrigue, and a plot that keeps moving in the way that is nearly not predictable. It is still predictable, but to a lesser degree.
I liked the flashbacks - they enriched my perception of the novel, and the narrative cadence was even, smooth, and consistent. Never did I feel that the plot rushed nor did it stumble throughout the novel.
I also enjoyed the premises of the novel with the
Kenneth Wade
Sep 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018
Midnight Blue is a historical fiction novel that takes place in 1650s Holland. The version I read was translated from Dutch, and I was little late for Women in Translation Month (which was August), but you can never read too many translated books by women.

I have a lot of thoughts, and they’re not very well organized, so buckle in.

This story was very “slice-of-life” in that it doesn’t have a super linear plot, and is more about random events that occur in the main character’s life.
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Simone van der Vlugt is an acclaimed Dutch author, well known for her young adult novels. The reunion was her debut novel for adults, it sold over 200,000 copies and was translated into German, French and English.
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