16 September 2015

The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton

Hey everyone,

So I’m not reviewing a romance book today. In fact its probably as far from a romance as one can get, however, through the course of reading The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton, I realised I had quite a few things I wanted to say. So without further ado, lets start the review (and yes I did intend for that to rhyme).

The book:

"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?

My thoughts:

If you follow me on Instagram (Bookstagram) you might have noticed that this book has been in my photos for a few weeks. This is partly due to the beautiful cover that I loved photographing and also because The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton took me a while to read. Normally I zoom through book, roughly reading three or four books a week on average. Yet for some reason I just couldn’t get my teeth into this one and I’m not entirely sure why.

“ To be reduced by her own mother caused her a new sort of distress, and grief for her father was replaced by a sort of grief for herself 

I thought it had some fantastic lines that made me sit up and pay attention to the message the author was trying to convey (if any at all). Similarly the world-building and Jessie Burtons ability to draw the reader into 17th century Amsterdam was truly a delight to behold. She did more than describe the city with its sights and smells, she allowed me to understand the culture, the societal expectations and restrictions. If I ever get taken back in time to 17th century Amsterdam Ill know how to behave and who I should treat with respect, whether they deserve it or not.

 Amsterdam: Where the pendulum swings from God to a guilder ” 

So why have I only given it three stars and how come it took so long for me to read? The only thing I can point towards is the slow, ponderous pace of the book. The Miniaturist is a book of secrets, misdirection and slow revelations. Although some reader may find that style intriguing, leaving them desperate for more, I am not one of them. For large portion of the book I was waiting for something, anything to happen. Even the characters felt as if parts of their personalities had been frozen until the optimum moment. Although this makes for an interesting piece of literature it isnt a technique or style that I find engaging, however, due to the reasons mentioned above I felt harsh giving it less than three stars.

My rating:
Happy reading everyone and see you next time!