Author: Jessie Burton
Challenges: Historical Fiction, I Love Libraries, Readers to the Rescue, Snagged @ the Library
Source: Public Library
Description: Set in seventeenth century Amsterdam-a city ruled by glittering wealth and oppressive religion-a masterful debut steeped in atmosphere and shimmering with mystery, in the tradition of Emma Donoghue, Sarah Waters, and Sarah Dunant.
"There is nothing hidden that will not be revealed…"
On a brisk autumn day in 1686, eighteen-year-old Nella Oortman arrives in Amsterdam to begin a new life as the wife of illustrious merchant trader Johannes Brandt. But her new home, while splendorous, is not welcoming. Johannes is kind yet distant, always locked in his study or at his warehouse office-leaving Nella alone with his sister, the sharp-tongued and forbidding Marin.
But Nella's world changes when Johannes presents her with an extraordinary wedding gift: a cabinet-sized replica of their home. To furnish her gift, Nella engages the services of a miniaturist-an elusive and enigmatic artist whose tiny creations mirror their real-life counterparts in eerie and unexpected ways . . .
Johannes' gift helps Nella to pierce the closed world of the Brandt household. But as she uncovers its unusual secrets, she begins to understand-and fear-the escalating dangers that await them all. In this repressively pious society where gold is worshipped second only to God, to be different is a threat to the moral fabric of society, and not even a man as rich as Johannes is safe. Only one person seems to see the fate that awaits them. Is the miniaturist the key to their salvation . . . or the architect of their destruction? (via Goodreads)
Thoughts: I had heard quite a bit about this book throughout the late summer and early fall of 2014 and it grabbed my attention, plus the cover that I saw made the book enticing. Due to other books I was reading at the time, I wasn't able to get the book until this winter.
While it was a fairly quick read for me, I did have difficulty getting into the book at times, especially in the first half, and I seemed to struggle to get through certain portions of the book.
That being said, I did find it an intriguing book, especially since I am planning on going to Amsterdam sometime during the summer of 2016 with my parents and getting a taste of the city myself.
The book started and ended fairly strongly, but it did seem to hit a lull about half-way through the first part of the book. While the first half to seem choppy to me, the second half seemed to have a better flow to it and a better focus.
Bottom line: If you enjoy historical fiction, you probably will enjoy this read. I felt it was a good, but not a great read. Recommended.
Pages for 2015: 3,689
If you have read the book, what did you think of it?