Saturday, 13 June 2015

The Miniaturist - Jessie Burton Book Review

Ever since I saw the beautiful posters for it on the tube, The Miniaturist has been high on my reading list. As it was chosen for this months book club, I finally got round to reading it. I picked my copy up in a charity shop for a sweet £2 - smug isn't even the word.

The Miniaturist is Jessie Burton's debut novel and is set in late 1600's Amsterdam. Main character Nella Oortman has just married overseas merchant, Johannes Brandt and moves into his home. There, she is greeted by servants Cornelia and Otto and, strangely Marin, his stern sister. As a wedding present, and to keep her occupied whilst he's away on business, Johannes buys his bride a miniature dolls house version of her new home.

Nella discovers a mysterious miniaturist who specialises in creating tiny dolls and furniture. The miniaturist sends additional pieces for her house that she hasn't asked for and eerily, they seem to be trying to warn her of events before they happened.

I really enjoyed the language used, there's some gorgeous metaphors and description. I found the old fashioned social attitudes illustrated in the novel to be interesting - the way women were expected to behave, attitudes to racism and marriage, and thinking about how different things are today.

However, despite it's numerous awards and beaming reviews on the dust cover, the book just didn't do it for me. It takes a long time to get going and I found the plot to be somewhat bland. The last third of the book was more exciting and I felt more compelled to read it but still struggled. Do you ever find literature or films try too hard to be shocking by having too many twists? I definitely felt that applies here.

If you enjoyed it and are after something similar to read, I'd recommend The Taxidermist's Daughter by Kate Mosse.

Have you read The Miniaturist? What did you think? Let me know below!
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