Monday, 8 January 2018

The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton

The Miniaturist comes with a lot of good reviews, and as usual I am afraid that I will expect too much. Not so. This is a wonderfully written magical piece of historical fiction. Nella Oortman is married to a successful merchant trader in Amsterdam in 1686. He is a good catch for her and although she does not know him she has high hopes for the future. Once she arrives in Amsterdam to knock on the door of his house, her life changes for ever. And not in the way she expected it.

"On the step of her new husband's house, Nella Oortman lifts and drops the dolphin knocker, embarrassed by the thud. No one comes, though she is expected. The time was prearranged and letters ritten, her mother's paper so thin compared with Brandt's expensive vellum. No, she thinks, this is not the best of greetings, given the blink of a marriage ceremony the month before - no garlands, no betrothal cup, no wedding bed."

Johannes lives with his sister Marin in an elegant house, together with a black servant and a maid. They are all unique characters and it takes time for Nella to find out going ons in the house. As a wedding present she gets a miniature doll's house and through an advertisement she finds a miniaturist who creates wonderful pieces for the house. It is just that the pieces reflects the life in her real house.

In small pieces we get to know the secrets of the house together with Nella. It is much more complicated that what meats the eye. It gives a good description of the times, both as regards people, pictures of the city and the rules and policies of the time. When Nella sets out to find out who the miniaturist is and why the miniaturist knows so much about the family, she discovers more than she asked for. She grows adult fast and have to deal with unexpected events as regards her family.

An intriguing story that captures you from page one. It is beautifully written and the characterisation is well developed. The story takes you into hidden territories, love and friendship and it is a magical world that Jessie Burton has created. Could hardly put the book down.


  1. This one sounds extremely intriguing -- and the words "could hardly put the book down" sure do make me interested in checking it out myself!

    1. Sorry, Jeanie. Just realised I had not answered your comment. Yes, it is a wonderful book. I am just about to review her second book, The Muse, which is a worthy second book from this interesting author.