The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton
Published July 3rd 2014
Genre: Historical Fiction
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.
The Miniaturist is set in 1686 and it is about a 18 year-old that marries Johannes Brandt, an older merchant from Amsterdam. Nella moves to the big city, excited for the start of her life as a wife but, as she gets there, she realizes that it won’t be the life she imagined. Johannes gives her a replica of her new house but it is empty so Nella asks the miniaturist to create a few pieces. When the package finally arrives, there are more miniatures in it than Nella asked. After that, the packages keep coming even though Nella didn’t order anything. In them, the miniatures reflect events and secrets of her new family.
Nella is an interesting character. Even though she doesn’t get what she always wanted, she tries to make up for it. Johannes was also a great character but the novel focused more on the women than on him. Marin was intriguing and I loved her interactions with Nella.
The plot was fascinating. The author was able to create a story incorporating the social issues of the time in a brilliant way. I couldn’t stop reading.
The book shows the racism and the homophobia of the time in a brutal way and I couldn’t put it down.
I really want to read more of the author but my local library doesn’t have The Muse but I hope that, once the book gets translated to portuguese, they’ll get it.
If you like Historical Fiction or if you just want to know a bit more about Amsterdam in the 17th century, you should try The Miniaturist.
If you already read this book, I recommend reading the first chapter again after finishing the book.
Rating: 5 stars