Wednesday, 23 March 2016

The Miniaturist

This morning When I woke up after I had fed the dogs and let them out I had to pick up The Miniaturist, I carried on reading until it was finished and I have to say it is the best book I have read this year.  I keep going off and doing odd jobs then coming back and picking it up again! It's as though I can't quite believe it's finished, I got my copy from the library but this may have to be one I buy and keep.  I could see myself reading it again and I don't say that about many, there are so many books to read.

It is the author Jessie Burton's first novel and I am always amazed how some books can draw you in so completely and also by the authors themselves who manage to create such detailed worlds for us to fall into.  The historical detail is wonderful and I have enjoyed encountering all the Dutch terms scattered throughout the story. There is also a Dutch Glossary at the back of the book to bring further clarity.

What struck me first of all when I started the book was the image of Petronella Oortman's cabinet house which is held at the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam. 

I found the idea that the story had been based around this object and it's owner while the story being a work of fiction made the book all the more interesting.  I have visited Amsterdam just once when my children were young and we were only there for the day. Having read this book I would like to return and see the miniatures and cabinet collection in the museum, and also take in more of the place that has been brought so wonderfully to life in this novel.

Set in the 17th century eighteen year old Petronella arrives from her sheltered life in the country to begin life with her new husband, an older wealthy merchant.  Life in the grand house proves to be very different from what she had imagined and to distract and entertain she is presented with the gift of a cabinet house by her husband.  In furnishing this house the family secrets begin to unfold...

I know that anything I write cannot do this book justice it is definitely one to put on your reading list for this year.

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