The Miniaturist - Jessie Burton

This book is set in 17th century Amsterdam when the city was ruled by the strictly Protestant Dutch Republic.

18 year old Nella escapes her poor country life by marrying a rich Amsterdam merchant whom she hardly know. She arrives at his house to be greeted by a stern sister-in-law and unfriendly servants. Her husband is away on business and it becomes obvious there are many secrets in the house.

On his return, Johannes shows no interest in his new bride, except to present her with a dolls house replica of his own townhouse. Nella is instructed to commission furniture for the dolls house from a mysterious miniaturist in the town.

Each new item is accompanied by a cryptic message from the miniaturist and, as Nella attempts to find out more about her - and her husband, his business and his secrets - the more mysterious everything becomes.

A picture emerges of a repressed and critical society, cut-throat business dealings, secrets and misinformation. Nella matures as she navigates the traps and pitfalls she encounters, finding out who she can trust and who is her enemy.

Slow in places, but worth persevering to the end of this mystical story. It was made into a 2 part tv serial in 2017. Beautifully filmed so that every scene looked like an old Duthc Master painting, the series answered some of the questions I still had at the end of the book. One to read when you have time to concentrate and digest in large chunks rather than dipping in and out.

448 Pages

Published 2015

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