The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton

I had to read this book. I simply had to, because how else would I join in the bookclubesque chats that my friends had about the Miniaturist?  Well, I can safely say now that whenever the Miniaturist is brought up I can offer an honest opinion…

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The Miniaturist was a bold book with streaks of originality, with interesting and elusive characters that lit up the pages. I like that it offers you an insight of 17th Century Amsterdam, which I thought was an unusual idea. The plot is gripping, and certainly got me staying up late at night…

I loved the characters. I honestly think that Burton did an excellent job, hinting here and there surprising and occasionally mystifying hints about the characters. I think that it would have been interesting to see parts of the book written from the different points of the Brandt household, because each have such a rich history. However, it is written in third person. I think if Burton really did write it from multiple view points it could either be a complete success or an utter failure, because much of the whole atmosphere of the book relies on hidden secrets, and if it is from many viewpoints, that mystery may either be enhanced, or destroyed.

Nella Oortman, the protagonist, is a witty bride who has moved to Amsterdam from the countryside to start her new life. Nella barely knows her charming husband, Johannes Brandt, yet she has already envisioned a future for herself. However, upon her arrival at her new home she is met only by his icy, unfriendly sister, Marin. After her husband almost completely avoids her for the first few days at her new home, he gives her a gift, something to replace his absence and occupy her. A miniature version of her own home. Frustrated and bored, she sheepishly takes up the offer and furnishes her home, hiring a miniaturist to create objects to put in her dolls’ house. But then the miniaturist starts sending Nella things on their own accord, and they surprise her in more ways than one.

As the book progresses we see that Nella starts to become more mature as she reacts and learns from her experiences in Amsterdam, as she was sheltered from a lot of things by growing up in Assendelt. Slowly, she is integrated into the Brandt household, occasionally confused by the mannerisms of some of the people. The maid’s audaciousness, for example, complexes her, but as the novel progresses we realise that the Brandt household is not so much a household, but despite it’s limited number, more similar to society.

I thought that this was an awesome book and that you should read it if you’re up for something a bit edgy and despite it being set in the 17th century it still reflects modern times. Enjoy and let the haunting prose twist and turn through your thoughts, as well as learning something about the history of Amsterdam

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