Saturday 6 April 2019

Book Review: The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton (Historical)

Title: The Miniaturist
Author: Jessie Burton

Publication Date: 2015 (2014)
Bought Copy

On an autumn day in 1686, eighteen-year-old Nella Oortman arrives at a grand house in Amsterdam to begin her new life as the wife of wealthy merchant Johannes Brandt. Though curiously distant, he presents her with an extraordinary wedding gift; a cabinet-sized replica of their home. It is to be furnished by an elusive miniaturist, whose tiny creations ring eerily true.

As Nella uncovers the secrets of her new household, she realises the escalating dangers they face. The miniaturist seems to hold their fate in her hands - but does she plan to save or destroy them?

Having already seen the TV adaptation of this story, I knew what to expect when I picked up this book. However, that made the reading no less enjoyable, as Burton's prose is captivating and visceral. It is a fascinating story, not least because it leaves plenty to the reader's imagination, with an ending that ties up some loose ends but not others. Nella is a wonderful protagonist and we see her come into her own during the course of the book. Nonetheless, I think I feel most for Johannes. There is a delightful sense of time and place, making this a perfect read for lovers of historical fiction, while the moments of magical realism with the cabinet give it that something extra.

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