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Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite
The Map Colorist is a work of fiction in the historical fiction, literary, and women’s fiction subgenres. It is best suited to the general adult reading audience and was penned by author Rebecca D'Harlingue. In this charming, immersive, and enticing work, filled with high drama and sociocultural challenges of the time, we find ourselves in Amsterdam in 1660. In this hub of activity around map-making and illustrating, the cartography aspects are the domain of men, and women like Anneke van Brug are expected to be content with simply coloring the works of others. But Anneke aspires for more, and she’s hopeful that her time working for the wealthy and influential Willem de Groot will allow her to defy expectations.
Author Rebecca D'Harlingue has crafted a fantastic work of literary-styled fiction that packs much into a plot filled with infidelity, long-buried secrets, murder, mystery, and more. One of the features that really struck me was the immersive quality of the descriptions, going beyond the cinematic to give you a more visceral sense of the sounds, smells, and textures of this busy, bustling world of maps and merchants. Anneke is a very likable central character with plenty of depth and keen development around her family history, and I loved her way of presenting herself and working to try to get what she wants from a world so reluctant to acknowledge her talents. Overall, The Map Colorist will certainly please fans of strong female leads and trend breakers in history, and I’d highly recommend it for literary fiction fans looking for accomplished writing that also has a fast-paced, engaging plot.