The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton

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“In suffering we find our truest selves.”

This one seemed to be getting amazing reviews from everybody who read it, and certainly made a refreshing change from all of the YA books that seem to be stealing the spotlight lately.

It’s set in Amsterdam in the 1600’s, about a girl named Nella, a teenage bride who escapes the poverty left behind after her father’s death by marrying a wealthy Dutch merchant. She is naively spirited, in the way that only an 18 year old could be, welcoming the responsibilities of married life and all that comes with it *wink wink*. But when she finally moves into the home her husband shares with his most unwelcoming sister and their two servants, Nella finds herself ignored, neglected and rejected by almost all of them. To help her to fill her empty days, Nella’s husband buys his young bride a dollhouse to decorate, much to her dislike, for she is far too grown up for such things, but she does it anyway, hiring a miniaturist to sculpt a few items for her. However the Miniaturist that she employs seems to have an eerily intimate knowledge of not only Nella’s home, but of it’s inhabitants and the secrets they try so hard to keep hidden away.

This book was a difficult one to rate, because while on one hand, the story telling is decadent, mysterious and at times capital C creepy, the plot goes awry towards the end and doesn’t really give any satisfactory answers to the mysteries that Burton sets up. Even so, I enjoyed the book for its beautiful imagry and compelling characters, even if they didn’t quite fit in the time period in which the book is set.

4/5

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