Fortune's Children

Original title: Fortuna’s kinderen

Publication Date:

October 2021



Original language and publisher

Dutch | Hollands Diep

Territories Handled

Worldwide excl. Dutch

Territories Sold

Film/TV rights (optioned)


Literary Non-Fiction

Fortune's Children

Original title: Fortuna’s kinderen


Van der Zijl, author of the bestseller Sonny Boy […], understands like no other the art of making small things big. Fortune’s Children is a family chronicle and a history of the United States all in one. — NRC Handelsblad (starred review)

Fortune’s Children is a loving story about human resilience without denying the cruelty of history. An ode to freedom. —  de Volkskrant (starred review)

Annejet van der Zijl has a pleasant, fluent way of telling her story, in which she skillfully zooms in on the key scenes that have determined the lives of her main characters. — HP/De Tijd

A transatlantic family chronicle

In 1875, would anyone in San Francisco have realized that the genteel, wealthy Mrs. de Fremery was once born as a slave? And that as a child she had been smuggled to the Netherlands by her father because she was unsure of her life in her native America?

The latest ‘big’ book by Annejet van der Zijl is arguably her most ambitious ever. This true story begins with adventurer Leon Herckenrath, who lost his heart to the young enslaved girl Juliette in 1818, and follows their eldest daughter and her Dutch husband during their adventures in California during the Gold Rush. And what about their descendants, with their unusual legacy of enormous wealth and a mixed-race bloodline?

Fortune’s Children is a two centuries old, surprisingly topical family saga about people who did not allow their lives to be limited by risks and their loves not by skin color.

Marketing Information

  • Full English translation available
  • Film rights optioned (US producer soon to be announced)
  • 100,000+ copies sold
  • Number 1 in the Bestseller 60 for 35 weeks
  • Van der Zijl’s book Sonny Boy was an international Bestseller and was sold to 8 countries; the US edition titled The Boy Between Worlds sold 50,000+ copies
  • 150,000+ copies of the US edition of the author’s most recent title The American Princess were sold
  • Hillary Mantel named The American Princess in the Guardian as one of her two best books of 2018