Book Review: The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton

How I got the book?

I got this book while looking for eBooks on sale.  I got it a couple of years ago, however, when I finally read the sample, and I went to get it,  the book was back to be full price, which at that point I felt this particular book was not the book for me at the moment.  However, the storyline stayed on my head until a few weeks ago when I got the Kindle Unlimited Trial and this book was available, so I went for it.

After reading the book I looked around and apparently, there was a big hype around this book when it was released, I honestly was not witnessed to the hype so I solely picked the book based on the premise and the cover, and the genre (Historical Fiction). The reviews are very mix ranging from 3 to 5 stars, which does not surprise me.

Information about the book

https://amzn.to/3If8rBL

This was the first book written by British actor and author Jessie Burton.  Two additional novels were written afterward, including The Muse (the second book), and The Confession (her third book), additionally a Children’s book was published The Restless Girls, and a second children’s book, Medusa is expected this year or early next year.

This was the first book written by British actor and author Jessie Burton.  Two additional novels were written afterward, including The Muse (the second book), and The Confession (her third book), additionally a Children’s book was published The Restless Girls, and a second children’s book, Medusa is expected this year or early next year.

The Miniaturist was adapted in 2017 by BBC and released in a two-part series in December 2017, and includes an all-star star-cast, and was filmed in The Netherlands with mostly positive reviews. I personally want to see it and I am looking for it. Amazon Prime Video has it upon subscription to BBC Masterpiece channel.

What is the book about?

As taken from Amazon and Goodreads the premise of the book is:

“Set in seventeenth century Amsterdam—a city ruled by glittering wealth and oppressive religion—a masterful debut steeped in atmosphere and shimmering with mystery, in the tradition of Emma Donoghue, Sarah Waters, and Sarah Dunant.

”There is nothing hidden that will not be revealed . . .“

On a brisk autumn day in 1686, eighteen-year-old Nella Oortman arrives in Amsterdam to begin a new life as the wife of illustrious merchant trader Johannes Brandt. But her new home, while splendorous, is not welcoming. Johannes is kind yet distant, always locked in his study or at his warehouse office—leaving Nella alone with his sister, the sharp-tongued and forbidding Marin.

But Nella’s world changes when Johannes presents her with an extraordinary wedding gift: a cabinet-sized replica of their home. To furnish her gift, Nella engages the services of a miniaturist—an elusive and enigmatic artist whose tiny creations mirror their real-life counterparts in eerie and unexpected ways . . .

Johannes’ gift helps Nella to pierce the closed world of the Brandt household. But as she uncovers its unusual secrets, she begins to understand—and fear—the escalating dangers that await them all. In this repressively pious society where gold is worshipped second only to God, to be different is a threat to the moral fabric of society, and not even a man as rich as Johannes is safe. Only one person seems to see the fate that awaits them. Is the miniaturist the key to their salvation . . . or the architect of their destruction?

Enchanting, beautiful, and exquisitely suspenseful, The Miniaturist is a magnificent story of love and obsession, betrayal and retribution, appearance and truth.

The book takes place in 1687 in Amsterdam where Religion persecuted all those who deviated from the Doctrine expected to follow and in this case, homosexuality, interracial relationships, woman’s place in society, adultery, etc with high prices to pay including the execution in order to “save their souls”.  It is disturbing to see the ropes that Religion had at that time and the constraints of freedom in order to live the life we desire.   The expectations of the woman, the expectations of the men, it is all clear and reveling in this book.

My Personal Opinion:

This is a very interesting book. At times I didn’t like it (especially at the beginning), however, once I passed half the book, the mystery, thriller, suspense, and fear showed up, and from that point on it was hard to put the book down.I loved this book.

The storyline is very original.  The concept of the Miniaturist as this prophet person is either laughing at their misfortunes or helping them by providing a window to what is to come and therefore giving them hope and resilience.

The pace of the story was a time very slow and at times a bit confusing. I thought this was mostly because English is my second language but after reading some reviews after I finished the book I realized I was not the only one getting confused at times.

The Highlights of the Book:

The storyline combined with the second half of the book was the highlight of the book.  I really couldn’t put the book down trying to get to the end and find out the final resolution of Johannes and Marin Brandt and the personal growth and maturity of Nella Brandt dealing with all the revelations and the miniaturist at the same time.

The Negatives:

The negatives of this book, to my opinion, are two:  confusion on plot development in terms of the miniaturist, and at times the women characters development.  I think that the growth of Nella from an innocent teenager to making household decisions was done not as subtle or believable as I would like to.  The decision-making of the characters at times seemed unreasonable and questionable.

Information as found in Amazon:

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Ecco
  • Publication date: August 26, 2014
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 419 pages
  • Genre: Fiction / Historical Fiction

What are you reading right now? What book would you recomend me? Would you like a personal review to a book? Let me know! I am always looking for recommendations and suggestions to add to my reading list.

Enjoy reading!!!

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