There is nothing hidden that will not be revealed . . .
On an autumn day in 1686, eighteen-year-old Nella Oortman knocks at the door of a grand house in the wealthiest quarter of Amsterdam. She has come from the country to begin a new life as the wife of illustrious merchant trader Johannes Brandt, but instead she is met by his sharp-tongued sister, Marin. Only later does Johannes appear and present her with an extraordinary wedding gift: a cabinet-sized replica of their home. It is to be furnished by an elusive miniaturist, whose tiny creations mirror their real-life counterparts in unexpected ways . . .
Nella is at first mystified by the closed world of the Brandt household, but as she uncovers its secrets she realizes the escalating dangers that await them all. Does the miniaturist hold their fate in her hands? And will she be the key to their salvation or the architect of their downfall?
Beautiful, intoxicating and filled with heart-pounding suspense, Jessie Burton’s magnificent debut novel The Miniaturist is a story of love and obsession, betrayal and retribution, appearance and truth.
“But words are water in Amsterdam, they flood your ears and set the rot.”
This book is stunning. The prose is like a smooth liquor that slips down your throat and warms you from the inside. And I gulped it down! The imagery is powerful throughout and presents motifs and themes intelligently. I sat with my pencil and every page has something underlined.
The characters are all intriguing and likeable. They develop and change as the story progresses, ending up as different people because of the lessons they learn. I especially loved Marin, Nella’s sister-in-law, who is harsh and a bit cruel to Nella in the beginning but we come to understand why.
The city of Amsterdam is presented as though it were a living, breathing thing that has to be soothed and navigated with care, something that Nella must learn to do in order to survive it. The descriptions of the city are mesmerising.
It is not full of action but the words are action enough. There is tension, fear, excitement, in the most simple of household tasks or conversations and that, for me, makes it exceptional.
This is a book to be savoured. Let the words fill you up, grab a cup of tea and a slice of cake, put up a ‘do not disturb’ sign and enjoy!
Buy a copy of The Miniaturist here.
Learn more about Jessie Burton here.