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The Company Daughters: A heart-wrenching colonial love story

4.35  ·  Rating details ·  26 ratings  ·  24 reviews
Wanted: Company Daughters. Virtuous young ladies to become the brides of industrious settlers in a foreign land. The Company will pay the cost of the ladies' dowry and travel. Returns not permitted, orphans preferred.

Amsterdam, 1616. Jana Beil has learned that life rarely provides moments of joy. Having run away from a violent father, her days are spent searching for work
Kindle Edition
Expected publication: October 30th 2020
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Average rating 4.35  · 
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Lauren (Pip)
Sep 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
I do not usually read sad books, in fact, I actively avoid them. However, I love historical fiction so I decided to pick this one up. It was kindly given to me as an ARC through NetGalley, but all opinions are my own. I am so glad I decided to read this. This book is so stunningly tender and beautiful, all mixed in with some seriously tragic and heart-wrenching events.
This story follows two women in colonial-era Amsterdam, and later Batavia. It deals with some heavy themes such as sexism, colou
Maria Dong
Sep 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A book about love, power, shame, adventure, and everything else it means to be a woman.

"Three knocks on the door. I use the knuckle of my forefinger, quiet but distinct.




From the moment I read the lyrical prose of this striking opening, I was absolutely enraptured by this book. THE COMPANY DAUGHTERS was an emotional epic I couldn't put down--I was transported by the lush description, the heart-breaking characterization, and the smooth yet gripping plot that was firmly grounded in hi
Sherry Chiger
Sep 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
Hard to believe this is a debut novel: The writing is so assured and descriptive, the plotting so tight, the characterizations so believable. The story also benefits from a setting relatively unknown to most of us in the West (or at least to me): colonial Batavia, or what is now Jakarta, Indonesia. The primary reason I'm giving it four rather than five stars is that I felt somewhat distanced from some of the most pivotal moments. That could be just me, or it could have been in keeping with the n ...more
Janilyn Kocher
Sep 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The Company Daughters is a creative novel. I love reading colonial history and this one has many interesting twists. I admired Jana's strength. Whatever life threw at her she met the challenges. She grabbed at happiness to emigrate to the Dutch colony of Batavia. I liked her relationship with the local native women and how they formed a business together. I think that was the best part of the book. Rajaram capture the voices of seventeenth century characters very well with all of the highlights, ...more
Hayley Sykes
Oct 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The Company Daughters is a beautifully written love story and a testimonial to the struggle of women throughout time to find their own voices and place in society. The setting is Denmark early 17th century where we meet our narrator Jana Beil. She is a young girl who has escaped her abusive family home on the outskirts of Amsterdam. She is struggling to survive and feed herself in the dead of an Amsterdam winter. She at first is lured into what she believes out of her young immaturity to be a st ...more
Joseph - Relax And Read Reviews
Oct 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Being a keen reader of historical novels, I jumped at the opportunity to read this new book by a debut author, and a few pages in I was already hooked. This is a book unlike anything else I read before.

This is the story of two young women living in 17th century Amsterdam. At the time, the Dutch Empire occupied vast Asian territories among others, including present-day Jakarta, at the time known as Batavia, the capital of the Dutch East Indies.

The book starts with these two girls meeting for the
Ashley Winstead
Sep 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book is exquisite and riveting. The writing is gorgeous--spare when it needs to be, lush and explosive in other moments, in ways that make your heart pound. Some of the scenes are so beautiful I had to re-read and savor them. Despite this, I read the book in a single sitting because I couldn't put it down--the expert pacing kept pulling me forward. One more page, one more page.

COMPANY DAUGHTERS is a book about intimacy and resilience. It's a bildungsroman, following MC Jana as she grows and
Kelly-Jo Sweeney
Oct 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
From the moment I started reading The Company Daughters, I was captivated by this historical tale. Although it does contain a love story, it's not a romance and there is far more going on than that. The book is told from the point of view of Jana. It follows her from her role as a maid in Amsterdam, halfway across the world to Batavia as a 'Company Daughter' with the Dutch East India Company. Batavia was the Danish city where their trade was based, modern-day Jakarta. In an attempt to build a Eu ...more
Oct 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow - what a wonderful whirlwind of humanity, love, adventure, and just overall life all wrapped up in this debut book. This book has quickly jumped to one of my favorites.

The story starts in Amsterdam during the 17th century, where we begin to learn about the protagonist and narrator, Jana. We quickly learn that Jana has not had it easy in her life so far, having run away from an abusive and broken household, and been on her own searching for work and trying to survive. She finally finds work
Oct 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I found this to be a very absorbing and page turning read that I just couldn't put down. I can never resist historical books about ordinary women in difficult situations and have read many books about mail order brides and settlers in new territories overseas.

However this one manages to be quite a bit different, it begins in 17th century Amsterdam, features a wonderful heroine Jana, who drags herself up by the bootstraps ending up in service to the enigmatic Sontje and her kindly father.

When tr
Sep 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020
I really enjoyed this book and the adventures of Jana. It’s a book of three parts really - the time in Amsterdam, the journey to Batavia and then finally living in Batavia. Now I didn’t know much about this period of history and even had to google Batavia. No idea it was the beginnings of modern day Jakarta. I love when books challenge you to learn more about history.

I thought the narrative of The Company’s Daughters was excellent. I have to say I was very invested in Jana as a character. She h
Sep 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020, netgalley
Thank you to the publishers - Bookouture - for accepting my request to read this book as an EARC via Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

"The Company Daughters" by Samantha Rajaram takes place in the 1620s Netherlands and in its colony Batavia in Indonesia and follows the young woman Jana Beil who works as a house maid in rich households. It happens she starts work in the home of the shipper/merchant Pieter Reynst and his daughter Sontje. For a time all is well for both women, Jana works hard an
Ava Reid
Sep 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
At once a tender and poignant love story and an intricate exploration of the lives of women in the Dutch Golden Age, THE COMPANY DAUGHTERS is a revelation of a novel. Sweeping but intimate, it follows Jana Beil as she follows the woman she loves from the streets of Amsterdam to the colonial outpost of Java. Both settings are rendered in full, exquisite detail that is both visceral and beautiful - Rajaram does not shy away from the grim realities of how women of the era were forced to live out th ...more
Oct 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Beautifully written and as heartbreaking as it is uplifting. The paths available for women in this world are limited but the troubles mirror the issues women still face today. Jana is a well-developed character and I empathized with her experiences. Oddly, the “daughters” don’t even leave for the colony until halfway through the book, which surprised me. While the story told before they leave is very interesting, I found it much more compelling once they set sail and after they arrive in Batavia ...more
Lee Husemann
Sep 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this very interesting historical fiction book that begins in Amsterdam in 1620 where Jana Beil is a servant to a wealthy family. Jana falls in love with the young lady of the family, Sontja. When the family loses their fortune, Jana loses her job. Sontja and Jana decide to join the Company Daughters and go to Batavia to marry men there. The nearly year long trip to Batavia is very interesting, heartbreaking and sad. The last part of the book deals with their lives in Batavia and ...more
Oct 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
4 stars
I love historical fiction, and this book touched on a topic and time I knew nearly nothing about.
I love reading about women and all they have endured and how strong they can be in spite of it. There’s love, there’s loss, there’s surviving, there’s thriving.
This story is separated into 4 different sections. I enjoyed each section because they were so different.
We never get a huge reprieve of sadness, but there are always moments of hope.
It was a very beautiful book. Great debut. I look
Sep 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Thank you to NetGalley and Bookouture for the arc. Loved this book! Some of the scenes were so descriptive even I felt like I was there. Loved most of the characters and how Jana was able to overcome such poverty for most of her young life and became the strong woman That someone from her past met again at the end. I felt every emotion while reading this story. So much thought went into this story.. Will definitely recommend to others.. Now I need to reflect on this story for a couple days.. Thi ...more
Sep 30, 2020 rated it liked it
This one fell a little flat for me. Overall, the plot was good following one main character closely. It didn't flip between characters or have anything that was overly complex and hard to follow. The writing was also not complex, to the point that it seemed a little to simple at times with the main character sounding juvenile as she would have entire paragraphs where it was like "I did this. Then I did this. I felt this." Because of the simplistic language and the overall lack of complexity, I'm ...more
Hannah Kendal
Oct 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This one is getting 5 out of 5. It was immersive, heart-wrenching, and I feel emotional writing this review. It felt a little long and difficult in places, but it’s supposed to – it’s covering horrible subject matter. I’d like to read more from this author, and more on this subject matter.

Read my full review here
Oct 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is the first novel written by an amazing writer with a keen sense for the way trauma and loss can propel people forward while still coloring all they see. The attention to detail was astounding and the plot structure and pacing was perfect. The reader gets drawn in to the story of Jana and all she endures. Highly recommend this book!
Jenny Buchta
Sep 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
After suffering from a book slump, and finding nothing worth requesting on Netgalley, I was delighted to be approved for, and devour, this book. I thoroughly enjoyed the story of Jana and her travels to Jakarta (Batavia) as part of the Dutch East India Co and its “buy a wife” program for Company employees. My only complaint was I didn’t want the story to end.
Gail O'Connor
Oct 12, 2020 rated it liked it
Interesting blend of complex characters. who really came to life. Gave marvelous insight into the plight of single women. in that period of time who have to rely on their own resources in order to stay alive. It draws the reader into every page.
3.5 stars.
Review to come.
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