Rebecca D’Harlingue has studied Spanish literature, worked as a hospital administrator, and taught English as a Second Language to adults from all over the world. In her award-winning dual timeline novel, The Lines Between Us, she highlights the resilience of women, and explores the repercussions of family secrets. She is a member of Paper Lantern writers, an author collective.
She lives in Oakland, California with her husband, Arthur, where they are fortunate to frequently spend time with their children and grandchildren.
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In 1660, Amsterdam is the trading and map-printing capital of the world. Anneke van Brug is one of the colorists paid to enhance black-and-white maps for a growing number of collectors. Her artistic talent brings her to the attention of the Blaeu printing house, and she begins to color for a rich merchant, Willem de Groot. But Anneke is not content to simply embellish the work of others; she longs to create maps of her own. Cartography, however, is the domain of men—so it is in secret that she borrows the notes her father made on a trip to Africa in 1642 and sets about designing a new map.
The Map Colorist
Book Excerpt or Article
Prologue - Amsterdam - June 1699 - Anneke - If he had known how it would end, my father would have struck
the paintbrush from my young hand. Even so, my mother would
have quietly retrieved it, saying she was teaching my brother and me
a useful skill. What she would not have said was that the income she
made from map coloring allowed us to live a more comfortable life,
concealing the fact that my father was not as successful an artist as our
circumstances might imply.
Th e coloring meant diff erent things to each of us. To my mother,
it was not only a chore that she carried out as part of her housewifely
duties. It also allowed her to, in some small way, take part in the artistic
world to which she had aspired. To my brother, it was a spark for
his imagination. Where were these places that we so tirelessly transformed?
What kind of people lived there?
For me, the task itself was sheer joy. Th e colors, the beauty I could
create, insured that I never resented the work asked of me. I even
dreamed of drawing my own maps. Th is desire would come into play
in the unraveling of our lives, but I embraced it, and with it, all that
was to come.
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