Book Reviews

‘The best moments in reading are when you come across something - a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things - which you had thought special and particular to you. And now, here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out, and taken yours.’ Alan Bennett

“Many a book is like a key to unknown chambers within the castle of one’s own self.” ― Franz Kafka

Sunday, 14 June 2015

The Miniaturist - Jessie Burton




Synopsis

On 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 . . .


Johannes' 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.


~~~~~
Review

It's a little while now since I read this book, but like several other books I've read this year but not yet written about here, I did want to share some reflections on it, so even if this isn't a very long post, I still wanted to try and put some thoughts together, so here we are. 

I really enjoyed reading The MiniaturistI found it a quite magical, wonderful read, I felt immersed in the world created in the novel and the characters were vividly drawn and memorable. It took me away from my troubles, transported me away overseas to Amsterdam and back in time to the seventeenth century, and I really enjoyed every sitting that I spent reading it, and experiencing the storytelling. This story captured my imagination, and I thought it was a really impressive work for a first novel. 

I loved the historical detail, the atmosphere, the locations, the society and people so vividly evoked, they came to life for me and I was there with them as I read, walking beside Nella, anxious about her husband Johannes, uncertain about his sister Marin, or looking out for the Miniaturist.

The story unfolded beautifully and had me wondering and guessing as I read on, needing to know what was being hidden, where danger lay, and who would be safe. 

And I must give a mention to that special cover design, it is so beautiful, incredibly appealing and a great complement to the story itself. This book is one to treasure and it is a novel I could see myself re-reading one day, I'm sure there are fresh details and nuances that I would notice on a second reading.

10 comments:

  1. Oh I'm so glad to hear you enjoyed this one! It's been on my TBR for awhile and I've really been looking forward to it!

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    1. Thanks very much Katherine, I really enjoyed it, I seemed to read it at just the right time for me and I loved the story. I really hope you'll enjoy it too.

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  2. This sounds really interesting.

    These artistic miniaturized replicas are fascinating. It seems neat and creative to center a book around the subject.

    I also like the idea that the book seems to look into 17th century Dutch society.

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    1. They are, there's a lovely picture in the book too, and I also saw something similarish in a museum in Cambridge just the other day.
      The look at society is fascinating and really brings it to life.

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  3. One of the books my readers group have chosen to read. Great review, thanks for sharing your thoughts on what seems to be a book that just about everyone has enjoyed.

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    1. I hope you enjoy it Tracy, thank you for your comment.

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  4. I have this one in my TBR pile and am glad to hear you enjoyed it, Lindsay. I'm really quite found of the cover too. :-)

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    1. I really hope you enjoy it when you read it :) It's lovely isn't it!

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  5. I absolutely loved this one - my favourite read of 2015 - so far. x

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    1. Yay, I'm so glad you loved this one too Barbara! x

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