Publisher Aspekt is going to publish my historical novel: “Het Land van Thorn. Een vondelinge in een 800-jarig Limburgs vrouwenrijk”. You will have noticed that I have been silent in this blog for a while. Sorry! The reason was that I was working on the last version of the manuscript. But now it will be published in Dutch within eight months and later I am going to publish in it English under another title.
An 800-year old Limburgian women’s empire
The story is about the foundling Anna in an 800-year-old Limburgian women’s empire within the current territory of the Netherlands. What? Women have ruled for 800 years there? Why have we not heard about this in our history lessons? You know, because it has been HIStory and not HERstory for a very long time! Slowly, we are changing this and this novel will be part of that proces.
Women’s Power in Thorn
In the Land of Thorn women had civil, politital and even military power. They were not nuns even though they looked liked them. But they did not have to give the oaths of obedience, chastity and poverty. The ‘stift’ Anna was placed in was more like a boarding school for girls and women of very high nobility. They received an education making them suitable to marry counts, dukes and kings. At the head of the government supporting this structure was a Queen-Abbess.
The story: Anna, a foundling
The story starts in Thorn, near Roermond, 1788. Anna is a foundling who, after charity, was admitted to the “Stift”, the boarding school, after her birth. She is afraid that she will be sent away now that she is eighteen. Anna wants to become important for other foundlings someday and find out who her parents are or were. She just doesn’t know how. Then an interesting offer is maid to her.
The political situation
The turmoil in Anna’s heart is reflected in her environment. It is a revolutionary period, certainly in Limburg. In The United Dutch Republic, the patriots push William V, its representative on the defense. His wife Wilhelmina of Prussia calls in her brother, the King of Prussia, who comes with an army. Eventually the patriots gain more power and Willem V flees with Wilhelmina to England. The Batavian Republic is created, but Prussia, Austria and France prey on the Limburg territory. Will this 800-year-old women’s kingdom Het Land van Thorn survive?
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