Princess in the Polder – Astrid Harrewijn

Dutch book cover from
Dutch cover from

My book review of ‘Princess in the polder’ written by Astrid Harrewijn

In my view

The story title

The title of the book asks for some pré assumptions. Your assumption could be that it is about a princess. A real one like you discover more often in novels and fairytales. So she is royal, from royal blood, and rich, and wears dresses and has a certain attitude. Some aspects of what I just mentioned is probably part of your (pré) assumption of a princess that is a character in a novel. The other part of the title is in the context of the location of the story. One of the countries that appear in the story, is The Netherlands, also known as Holland. And several places in this country. make their appearance. The novel is from origin Dutch so the locations do not really surprise me as a Dutchie.

What does surprise me is that the title is, in my opinion, more used metaphorically. This is a very abstract description, but it is not a spoiler. Only at the end you realise what the metaphorical meaning is of ‘Prinses in the polder’. So you still have to discover the different characters, their journeys and places, their relationships and adventures. Everybody interprets a story differently and therefor also the metaphor of this story.

The story itself

The story is about Sara who is a volunteer for a charitable organisation that focuses on the alleviation of poverty among children. She travels around the world and is barely at home, in The Netherlands. She travels back home for a Christmas celebration with her family but soon the ingrained routine it had every year, changes dramatically.


The writing style of the book is average. As in: it is what I am used to and what I expect when I read a novel that consists not of a complicated story and what we also call a ‘light read’. No studying, no who dun’ it’s, no complicated worlds, maps, tribes and so on.
Now and then the author surprised me with a word and descriptions of the characters and their behaviour.

The pace of the story is very nice at the beginning of the book. In the middle it is quite slower and even at such speed that I am wondering if I will get through the book within a couple of days. I am not a quick reader, but a slow middle part makes it hard to continue reading often if you read for an half an hour to an hour a day for example. It is soon fixed because the author has put some twists in it. Exactly at the right time before reaching a reading slump. Since then, when the third part of the book starts, the pace of the story is quick. A bit quicker than at the beginning of the book and full of surprising twists


The main character in this novel is Sara Janszen who is in daily life a volunteer for a charity. Next to her mum and dad, she has two brothers and a sister. Her brothers are married so she has also some family in-law. They differ all só incredibly much! And in all characters is a bit of stubborn Dutchie’ness. This leads to some flabbergasted situations that occur in the story.

There are a couple of great side characters. Such as a grandma, long lost-friends and new friends Sara meets along her journey. You come across many more characters in this story. But those are often presented from the point of view of the main character and therefor quite shallow. They turn up, play their part, and disappear again.

All in all I find this novel an enjoyable read!

Book Facts:

Title: Prinses in the polder
Author: Astrid Harrewijn
Genre: Fiction / Chick-Lit
ISBN: 9789021803357
ISBN ebook: 9789402312980
Publisher: Sijthoff (paperback) / Uitgeverij Meulenhoff Boekerij (ebook)
Read edition: ebook [2019] by Kobo Plus
1st Year edition & Year read: 2010 / 2020
Original title & language: Prinses in de polder [NL]
Read language: Dutch
Pages: 287
Rating: 3 / 5 stars
Places: Barabanki / Bergen / Brummen / Paris
Filmed: no

I hope you like the book too. It is worth to read it! I am not telling about the story too much, you have to read the book yourself and make your own opinion.

Enjoy reading!

Loves from Sophie

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