A startlingly, fabulous story. You will not be able to put down The Miniaturist until you have followed the drama to its end. I almost passed this one up thinking it might be for a young audience. Boy, was I wrong!
The Miniaturist opens with Nella, a young woman of 18, as she arrives in Amsterdam. A month previously she married Johannes Brandt, a rich merchant in the city. He promptly left for business reasons and Nella is left to travel alone to her new home in Amsterdam. But when she arrives there is no husband to greet her. Instead she finds his sister, Marin, Cornelia the maid, and Otto the houseman. Nella is quickly thrown into the complexity of the adult world and all its secrets.
Marin runs the household with an iron fist, but what is it that she keeps hidden in her seemingly cold heart. Cornelia is the ever faithful and loyal servant who likes to make a little mischief and thinks she knows everyone’s secret, but what she doesn’t know is very dangerous indeed. Otto is a black man, a rarity in 17th century Amsterdam, who Johannes brought back with him from one of his journeys. He is subject to the stares and gossip of everyone in society. Finally, there is Johannes. The husband who will not visit his wife’s bed. The merchant who stalls the sale of a warehouse full of sugar. The man whose secret will lead to someone’s death.
Every page is filled with drama and intrigue. Follow Nella and Marin as they try to find a place of freedom in their lives in an era where women are rarely allowed to be free agents.
Jessie Burton has done a wonderful job in The Miniaturist of portraying Amsterdam in the 1600’s. Her characters are rich and intriguing. The story is dark at times but nevertheless, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I encourage you to take a chance with this absorbing tale. I think you will not be disappointed.