Monday, 22 January 2018

Book Review: The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton

Title: The Miniaturist

Author: Jessie Burton

Pages: 424

Publication: 3rd July 2014 by Picador

1 line synopsis: Young Nella Oortman moves to Amsterdam after marrying a man twice her age and it appears her life is being spied upon by The Miniaturist


I’ve been putting off reading The Miniaturist ever since I got it for my birthday in 2016, because it just didn’t sound like my kind of thing. I love mystery, I love plot, and I love drama, and I thought that The Miniaturist was going to lack all of these. Oh boy, was I wrong. It has all of these things and more!

From the get go, it is clear that something is off in the Brandt household - Nella’s husband, Johannes, won’t sleep with her, her sister-in-law seems to hate her, and Nella is left feeling alone and deserted. I really empathised with Nella in her feelings of isolation yet sometimes I did find her to be a bit young and naive. Her development throughout the novel was incredibly well done, and long after finishing the book I thought about her - the sign of a very good book.

The story is full of mysterious goings on, from Johannes’s behaviour towards Nella, to the weirdly lifelike Nella gets sent by a miniaturist, even when she hasn’t asked for them. I was pleasantly surprised that I didn’t ever want to put the book down because I felt like drama was around every corner and I was gripped, and the book certainly didn’t disappoint.

I loved the setting of 1680s Amsterdam as it’s something I’ve never read about before. I loved the backdrop of the Dutch trading company and the sugar trading Johannes gets involved in as well as the images of the winding canals and wonky houses.

Overall, if you’ve been holding out on The Miniaturist, I highly recommend giving it a go, because I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised. I ended up giving it 4 out of 5 stars and I can’t wait to watch the BBC adaptation and read The Muse.