Publication date – 3 July 2014
“On an autumn day in 1686, eighteen-year-old Nella Oortman knocks at the door of a grand house in the wealthiest quarter of Amsterdam. She has come from the country to begin a new life as the wife of illustrious merchant trader Johannes Brandt, but instead she is met by his sharp-tongued sister, Marin. Only later does Johannes appear and present 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 mirror their real-life counterparts in unexpected ways . . .
Nella is at first mystified by the closed world of the Brandt household, but as she uncovers its secrets she realizes the escalating dangers that await them all. Does the miniaturist hold their fate in her hands? And will she be the key to their salvation or the architect of their downfall? Beautiful, intoxicating and filled with heart-pounding suspense, The Miniaturist is a magnificent story of love and obsession, betrayal and retribution, appearance and truth.
4 of 5 stars
I received a copy of this book from the publishers and this is my honest review.
Nella Oortman arrives in Amsterdam in 1686, apprehensive about starting her new life with her new husband Johannes Brandt. She arrives at his home to be faced with his sister Marin, who is not pleased to see her, and no husband. As she waits for Johannes to appear she has to content with Marin, and the strange and unfriendly servants Cornelia and Otto.
Soon Johannes appears and with him he brings Nella a spectacular gift, a miniature of the house she now lives in. But as she engages the services of a miniaturist to furnish the house Nella discovers that the inhabitants of the house are not all they seem.
This is a beautiful book. The beauty of it starts before you even open to the first page. The cover is stunning, evocative and completely in tune with the story. Then you come to the end pages in the hardback edition where the beauty continues. The words that then come complete the beatific trilogy being of themselves completely captivating.
This is author Jessie Burton’s debut novel, which has of course been lauded. I tend not to think of whether a book is an author’s debut or their twentieth novel but read and consider the book itself, as it seems as if the plaudits are given almost as if it is a surprise that a first novel can be so good. A beautifully written, engaging and thought-provoking novel should be recognised for that on its own merit.
This novel is about love, unexpected, hidden, forbidden or expected. It is also a tale of prejudice, jealousy and the lengths people will go to hide secrets. It’s all one could hope for in a novel.
This is a enticing, beguiling read, that draws the reader in. I soon found myself absorbed in Nella’s world, eager to find out the secrets held in the house of Brandt and what the miniaturist would wondrously create next. I look forward to seeing what spells Jessie Burton can weave on readers in the future.