Midnight Blue


Simone van der Vlugt

Nominated for The Euregio Student Literature Award 2020

Midnight Blue

A page-turning novel about the historical origins of Delft Blue pottery.

Following the death of her young husband, Catrijn takes a job as housekeeper to the Van Nulandt family. She is happy in the job, and is able to support the lady of the house during her painting lessons. But Catrijn’s past catches up with her and she has to look for another post. She is taken on by Evert van Nulandt in his pottery factory in Delft, where her painting talent is greatly valued. Difficult times arrive. But Catrijn survives the great explosion that hits Delft in 1654 and destroys much of the city. She then faces a life-defining choice between heart and head: should she wait for her great love, who will away at sea for years, or choose the man who can give her security? Simone van der Vlugt weaves Catrijn’s gripping story with a fascinating period in Dutch history: the Golden Age in which commerce, science and the arts take a great leap forward.

‘A beautiful story about the fate of a seventeenth-century youngwoman and the early days of the blue-and-white pottery from Delft… You live and suffer with Catrijn. You recognise her dilemmas.’ Nederlands Dagblad

‘Van der Vlugt has immersed herself in the pottery painting of the time and weaves fact and fiction into a gripping story.’ Leidsch Dagblad

‘A clever story about a strong woman.’ Leestafel

‘I finished it in one day.’ Five Stars, Shyama in Boekenland

‘A great historical novel, with thriller aspects and romance. What more could you want?’ Biepmiepje

‘The local colour, the fascinating story, the interesting history, definitely for me born in Delft, means you read Midnight Blue in one sitting.’ boekenbloggenderwijs.nl

‘Set in 1654, Dutch author van der Vlugt’s first novel to be published in the U.S. paints a fascinating portrait of Holland at the height of its economic and artistic power. After one moment of weakness leads to a pregnancy, independent, resourceful Catrin Barentsdochter ends up married to Govert, a violent, brutish man twice her age. Soon after the baby is stillborn, Govert dies in a drunken rampage. Catrin sells their property and sets out to make her way in the world. She ends up in Delft, where she finds work as a china painter for Evert van Nulandt, the kind owner of a pottery workshop, just as fine Dutch porcelain is being developed. In Delft, she finds friends, success, and love. But Catrin has a horrifying secret, and the one person who knows it threatens to destroy everything. The mystery element is slight, but mid-17th-century Holland is a wonderful place for lovers of historical fiction to visit, populated by great artists, intrepid explorers, and enterprising merchants.’ Publishers Weekly


  • AmboAnthos NL (original publisher)
  • Ponte alle Grazie/Mauri Spagnol Italy
  • Mondo Libri bookclub Italy
  • Duomo Spain & Latin America
  • HarperCollins UK
  • William Morrow USA
  • HarperCollins Germany
  • Geopen Hungary
  • Metafora Czech Republic
  • Slovart Slovakia
  • Alma littera Lithuania
  • Polirom Romania
  • Kinneret Israel
  • Aschehoug Norway
  • Kragozor Bulgaria
  • Zysk Poland
  • Editions Philippe Rey France

Material: finished copies of the Dutch edition (320pp); English editions, various other language editions