Book Review

May. 2nd, 2017 09:56 pm
kenjari: (Govans)
[personal profile] kenjari
The Miniaturist
by Jessie Burton

Set in late 17th century Amsterdam, The Miniaturist is the story of 18 year old Nella's entrance into the Brandy household as the new bride of rich and successful merchant Johannes Brandt, and his forbidding spinster sister Marin. However, despite the comforts of the Brandt house, Nella's new life is nothing like she imagined: Johannes is distant, Marin is mysterious and aloof, and the household servants Cornelia and Otto are are more familiar towards the Brandts than she expects. The Brandy house is one of secrets and dangers. When Johannes presents Nella with a dollhouse as a wedding present, she begins to order pieces from an elusive miniaturist to furnish it. The pieces belie an eerie knowledge of the Brandt household, allowing Nella to unravel the secrets around her and to find her place in the household.
I really enjoyed this book. Nella's journey from naive young bride to a more self-assured and capable young woman was well-written. While the secrets of the Brandy household would not be much of a big deal today, Burton does an excellent job of conveying just how serious and perilous they are in 17th century Amsterdam; she also spins out the intrigue surrounding these secrets in a very satisfying way. Even when I knew where things were going, I still liked the way it all developed. Burton did a great job with the atmosphere and affect of the setting and the story - it all felt very interior and intimate, and the contrasts between the outdoor and public spaces versus the close privacy of the inside of the Brandt house was an interesting thread throughout the book.
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