Before I start my review, I want to say one thing: I devoured this book. I want everyone to read it.
I originally bought this in December with Christmas book tokens (is there any better present?) and promptly forgot about it as I worked my way through review books and library books. I’m sort of glad I waited, as it meant I could really enjoy it.
Set in the 17th century, The Miniaturist tells the tale of Nella, a young woman sent to Amsterdam to start her married life. She’s married to a much older merchant, Johannes, who is somewhat distant. Nella shares his grand house with his aloof sister, a ladies’ maid and a slave. It’s not really the recipe for a harmonious home life.
Until one day, Johannes surprises Nella with a wedding gift- a cabinet made to look like a perfect miniature version of the house. But it’s when Nella starts to receive unsolicited items from the local miniaturist that things start to go awry…
I thought the plot wasn’t going to be my kind of thing, but I found myself rooting for the characters so much- even when they weren’t particularly (initially) likeable. Jessie Burton has a talent for creating realistic, flawed characters and I fell in love with Nella instantly.
The magic realism element of the novel could put people off- I would usually be one of those people- but it was done so skillfully that I utterly and completely believed everything I read. Besides, the things that happen are not so out of the realm of possibility as to be fantastic.
I read this in 48 hours. It’s been a long time since I read a book so quickly and the sense of grief when I finished was profound. I look forward to Jessie’s next book.
Buy it here for £3.85 and free P+P (affiliate)