The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton
Age range: Adult
Genre: Historical fiction with fantasy elements
Hardcover: 416 pages
Publisher: Ecco (August 26, 2014)
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
About the Book:
Set in seventeenth century Amsterdam—a city
ruled by glittering wealth and oppressive religion—a masterful debut
steeped in atmosphere and shimmering with mystery, in the tradition of
Emma Donoghue, Sarah Waters, and Sarah Dunant.
”There is nothing hidden that will not be revealed . . .“
a brisk autumn day in 1686, eighteen-year-old Nella Oortman arrives in
Amsterdam to begin a new life as the wife of illustrious merchant trader
Johannes Brandt. But her new home, while splendorous, is not welcoming.
Johannes is kind yet distant, always locked in his study or at his
warehouse office—leaving Nella alone with his sister, the sharp-tongued
and forbidding Marin.
But Nella’s world changes when Johannes
presents her with an extraordinary wedding gift: a cabinet-sized replica
of their home. To furnish her gift, Nella engages the services of a
miniaturist—an elusive and enigmatic artist whose tiny creations mirror
their real-life counterparts in eerie and unexpected ways . . .
gift helps Nella to pierce the closed world of the Brandt household.
But as she uncovers its unusual secrets, she begins to understand—and
fear—the escalating dangers that await them all. In this repressively
pious society where gold is worshipped second only to God, to be
different is a threat to the moral fabric of society, and not even a man
as rich as Johannes is safe. Only one person seems to see the fate that
awaits them. Is the miniaturist the key to their salvation . . . or the
architect of their destruction?
Enchanting, beautiful, and exquisitely suspenseful, The Miniaturist is a magnificent story of love and obsession, betrayal and retribution, appearance and truth.
I’m not sure what to think about this book. I have a lot of mixed
feelings for it. On the one hand, it was a riveting tale of secrets and
deception that I couldn’t put down. On the other hand, a lot of things
didn’t add up for me.
The story sucked me in and I thought about it constantly, even when I
wasn’t reading. I loved all the secrets and the deception. I liked the
way Nella changed over the course of the book. She matured in a lot of
ways. The mystery behind the miniaturist was fascinating. It was kind of
creepy and a little dark, but then, you could never be sure if the
miniaturist was crazy or if everyone else was.
On the down side, not everything worked for me. I didn’t like any of the
characters, except for Nella, who wasn’t entirely believable. She was
too naive in some ways, and not nearly naive enough in other ways for a
girl of her age. I didn’t really believe her affection for Johannes,
especially after she learned his secret. It didn’t add up for me,
especially considering the time period. I also wish the miniaturist had
played a bigger part, especially near the end. Even so, I liked the
book. I would recommend it if you are looking for something different.
Content: Language (including a few f-words), sexual situations, and a descriptive birthing scene.