As I looked at the cover I never could imagine that this girl was depicting a scene in 1641. It looked as modern as today!
1641 Amsterdam it is and we are introduced to the world of shipping and trade. The Dutch ruled the East and Amsterdam was a melting pot of rich traders, burghers and people from every corner of the globe. It was also the centre for trade in spices, silks and what not. The Dutch ruled the waves.
Into this background comes Francesca abducted and released but abducted by mistake for her cousin Lisbeth (who was the rich one). Francesca is literally the poor relation. Parents dead and she was foisted on this uncle who very reluctantly takes her over and her father's debts. She is grudged every penny spent on her and the food she eats, and she works in the household almost like a servant.
Her rescuer is Dirk and Francesca who loves to paint and is a good painter, wants to paint his portrait. Dirk falls in love with her and honourably offers her marriage but the path to happiness is strewn with obstacles.
The story is a simple one but it is the setting that does it justice. Apart from the detailed descriptions of wharf, port and all the people who inhabit this great harbour, we have the history of art from Rembrandt to those who work for a pittance - the literally starving artists. Loved the atmosphere it generated for the story.
This was a free download from Amazon.