The Miniaturist

The Miniaturist

Book - 2014
Average Rating:
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Engaging the services of a miniaturist to furnish a cabinet-sized replica of her new home, 18-year-old Nella Oortman, the wife of an illustrious merchant trader, soon discovers that the artist's tiny creations mirror their real-life counterparts in eerie and unexpected ways.
Publisher: New York : Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, [2014]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780062306814
0062306812
Branch Call Number: F BURTO-J
Characteristics: 400 pages ; 24 cm

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4
4catsdogs
May 19, 2017

What a miserable book. It is not believable that so many horrible things could happen to one person. The story is not about the miniaturist, who is a mystery figure to the end, it is about how many awful happenings can be crammed into one book.
The author's other book, The Muse, was a disappointment too. I won't be wasting time with this author again.

a
AlteredStaite
Apr 19, 2017

So many books I've read lately have been hugely disappointing so I give this four stars only because it's the first book that's held my interest enough to actually get to the end.

It's not worth all the hype but I've come to realize that most gushy reviews mean nothing are probably written by some publisher's publicist.

It was better than most on my "to read" list. At least I kept turning the pages and I actually finished it.

The actual character of the "miniaturist" (who was the main reason I stuck with the book) was left hanging with literally no decent explanation. It would have taken very little effort from the author to give the title character at least a bit of a storyline. Bad form.

g
gabym17
Apr 18, 2017

if you want to read a really great book with depth and detail, this is your golden pick. Burton gives us an amazing setting and detailed Amsterdam and the story of this woman is just amazing. I loved it, and I highly recommend this great piece of literature.

Bunny_Watson716 Jan 12, 2017

I really enjoyed the historic Amsterdam setting and the characters. The main character, Petronella, has been given a miniature house that is a replica of her own home. Once she starts having it furnished with miniature items, mysterious and upsetting things happen. Did you know that she was a real historic figure, and that her miniature house is on display at the Riksmuseuem in Amsterdam?

v
vancouverville
Sep 10, 2016

I enjoyed this book - got on side with the main character and her trials. Really conjured scenes of historic Amsterdam.

l
luckylorie
Jun 09, 2016

I agree with amukhrj. This book was stunning in its abilitiy to hold me in thrall through page after page. It has been one of the best books I've read in the last three or four years, in terms of a quite unique plot line, suspense, and excellently described, poignant characters. At different times in during the day I would find myself wondering "What's coming around the corner next?" in the book waiting for me!

a
amukhrj
May 15, 2016

A real gem of a book! Highly recommend it! The process of reading was like a budding flower blooming; layer by layer a mystery brewed and unfurled at the end with an ending was unhappy with. I won't spoil the ending by revealing much more than that. The words were crafted in a way to stir the imagination with bright colours, thoughts and feelings. A beautiful read.

c
claire1953
May 15, 2016

This debut novel by Jessie Burton is definitely well written and the story line does keep one's interest. It is an excellent description of Amsterdam's merchant life of the 1600s. I did find, however, that the story does not appear plausible, considering that homosexuality, interracial relationships and and illegitimate birth would be subjects that would not be discussed at all, even within the walls of a family. A very disappointing ending, especially when it comes to identifying the miniaturist. The main character, Petronella Brandt, really did exist and her dollhouse as well. The story has nothing to do with her and the author would have been wise to use a fictitious name.
Mrs. Brandt's memory deserves better.

p
pragensis
Oct 09, 2015

My main reproach is improbable characters and muddied dialogues.

samdog123 Jul 31, 2015

First time author, Jessie Burton, has a real hit on her hands. This is a wonderful historicial novel--with shades of the supernatural and other cultural themes--and yes, she manages to combine all of the above so well! When Nella arrives to her husband's home in Amsterdam in the 1600's, she feels like an outcast at first. But when her husband, Johanne, gives her a cabinet designed to hold miniature pieces, things change quickly as the miniaturist she hires seems to be able to foreshadow the events that happen in the household. I loved all the characters and felt that the events that happen in the book are still relevant today.

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gabym17
Apr 18, 2017

“Every woman is the architect of her own fortune.”

k
kn1226
Sep 14, 2015

In suffering do we find our truest selves.

k
kn1226
Sep 14, 2015

Growing older does not seem to make you more certain. It simply presents you with more reasons for doubt.

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m
m0mmyl00
Feb 19, 2017

Nella escapes her dreary dead-end future in small-town Netherlands via an arranged marriage to a successful merchant in Amsterdam. She enters the household of Johannes, his sister Marin, and their servants Cornelia and Otto. The big business deal on Johannes' plate is to sell a warehouse full of sugar. He'll split the profits with his former best friend, who is very eager to get the sale in motion even though it's not the best time of year to do so. He gives her a miniature house as a wedding gift. Soon thereafter, she begins receiving exquisitely created miniatures of the members of the household and the furniture in the house. Then the gifts begin taking on something of a magical predictive quality, i.e., the miniature dog develops a smear of red on his skull, and later the dog is stabbed in the skull and dies. Johannes is distant and often absent and seems to be disinterested in Nella as a wife. Turns out he's gay, which Nella discovers when she interrupts him in flagrante. His former best friend catches him, too, and turns him in to the police. It's a crime punishable by death to be gay in 17th century Amsterdam. He is "tried" and found guilty, and executed by drowning. Meanwhile, his sister Marin has given birth out of wedlock to a daughter fathered by Otto, the black servant ("a savage") Johannes brought back from his travels to Africa. She died in childbirth. So the story ends with Nella, Cornelia, Otto, and newborn Thea living together in circumstances created primarily by Johannes and Marin -- and the society of 17th century Amsterdam.

The mystery of the miniatures and their maker was not revealed.

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