The Cheese Factory

(De Kaasfabriek)

Simone van der Vlugt

Broken family ties and the longing for freedom in times of war.

The Cheese factory

The Cheese Factory is the new historical novel by Simone van der Vlugt, bestselling author of Midnight Blue amongst other titles. This magnificent novel throws light on a fascinating period in Dutch history in an accessible and page-turning way. Amsterdam, 1892. Lydia is grieving the deaths of her parents, who died one quickly after the other. She has inherited their house in Amsterdam and the country house in Purmerend. In spite of her loss she is full of ideas for the future and for putting her father’s plans in place: to start a modern cheese factory, using steam power and with far increased production levels. But as a woman she is not allowed to start a business: she must work together with a modern farmer from the area, Huib Minnes. Together they build the biggest cheese factory in North Holland. Antwerp, 1914. Nora, Lydia’s daughter, marries Ralph Reymaekers and the couple settle down in the port city. After a serious fall out with her mother, about her origins, Nora is happy to be away from Waterland. But then the First World War breaks out and, during one horrific night, they have to flee.

What will the future look like for these progressive forward looking women?

Multimillion copy bestseller Simone has once again created an irresistible tale of family ties, love, suffering, strong women who refuse to accept their given lot in life set against a backdrop of dramatically changing times and the tumultuous war years.

‘Pour nous plonger dans le premiere revolution industrielle et ses paradoxes, Simone van der Vlugt marie les univers d’Emile Zola et de Jane Austen. En resulte un roman historique plein de fraicheur brossant le tableau d’une societe foisonnante de vie, avec en son centre, deja, la question essentielle de la place de femmes.’ Le Monde

‘With DE KAASFABRIEK Simone van der Vlugt has written a beautiful historical novel about the life of a mother and a daughter at the end of the nineteenth and early twentieth century. A story about progress, emancipation, impossible loves and making the right choices.’ Boekrecenciesblog nl

‘Van der Vlugt once again proves her talent to translate thorough research in an accessible way into a compelling story. The Cheese Factory is a fascinating historical novel about secrets, love and emancipation… It is a gripping story about how much it costs to keep a secret, and about the consequences when the truth comes to light. The strong characters, believable emotions and the fluent use of language make for a book that will keep you captivated from the start. Moreover, the preparation of the cheese is described with such care that you inevitably feel like a snack.’
Lees Magazine

‘Van der Vlugt has thoroughly studied life around 1900 and paints a vivid picture of it.’
Leidsch Dagblad

‘This is no ordinary historical novel, this is a wonderful, refreshing dive into a fascinating piece of history. Brilliantly written. This is how children should receive history lessons at school. This novel clearly shows what the Industrial Revolution meant, and you gain insight into the role of women and the mores of the urban public and the peasantry around the turn of the century. Ten out of ten for a delightful historical novel, contemporary and vividly described.’


  • AmboAnthos NL (original publisher)
  • Editions Philippe Rey France
  • HarperCollins Germany
  • Metafora/Grada Czech and Slovak
  • Polirom Romania
  • Duomo World Spanish

Material: Dutch finished copies (384pp), French PDF and finished copies