The Miniaturist - Jessie Burton
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.
*Received in exchange for an honest review*
*Thank you, Picador*
As soon as this book popped up on my radar I KNEW that I had to have it. With a comparison to Sarah Waters work as a selling point and then such an enticing blurb, there was less than no chance of me passing up on the opportunity to read The Miniaturist. The absolutely wonderful people at Picador were kind enough to send me a copy and just THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU. I loved this book! It was just as good as it sounded and ah, it was beautiful. I find with Sarah Waters work, you sometimes have to be prepared to take your time with the work to really get to know the plot. This is something that Jessie Burton didn't do and I'm really, really glad. The Miniaturist is written simplisticly but beautifully, the world is so complex and the plot is full of mysteries but it doesn't make for a difficult read. I loved this aspect so much.
The Miniaturist follows the path of Nella, Johannes and Marin. Nella has just married into this higher class family and we're introduced to her as she begins to adjust to this new family, new house and less than ideal marriage. Burton writes such a mesmerising and heart-wrenching read; I found myself clinging to the book as events developed. Things begin to get a little unnerving when Nella receives a miniature doll house from her husband as a gift and begins to decorate it with the help of a local Miniaturist. Events start occurring which are influenced by the parcels Nella receives. I was so eager to discover the identity of the Miniaturist. How was she predicting these events? How did she know so much about this family?
The Miniaturist is such an unsettling but absolutely mesmerising read. I found it impossible to put down with so many questions raised in every chapter. It deals with so many issues and the world building is fantastic. The descriptive language used by Burton drew me in; there was no letting go. I felt that I had previously visited Amsterdam and that these characters were such real people. I laughed and cried my way through this flawless debut. Jessie Burton is a captivating and incredibly gifted new talent and I'm really excited to watch her developing career following The Miniaturist.