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?
What I Thought:
I always start these reviews with ‘What I Thought’, but in the case of The Miniaturist, I’m not sure what I thought, hence me taking so long to review it.
It ticks so many of my boxes – historical fiction, a mysterious household secret and ‘The Miniaturist’ herself, lurking in the background, and yet it just didn’t gel for me. The book itself is well written, and some of the language is lovely and easy to read, but at other times it was a bit of a slog – for a debut though, it was very accomplished, and I may try Jessie Burton’s second book, The Muse to see if I have any better luck with that.
I certainly can’t review this as a bad book – it really isn’t – but it failed to move me in the way I think I was supposed to be moved, and that’s always disappointing!
The Miniaturist is published by Picador.
Note: I received a copy of the book from Netgalley for review purposes. All opinions are, as ever, my own.