FICTION//The Muse-Jessie Burton


It must be hard to write a follow-up novel when your debut was so popular; I imagine that Jessie Burton had that very problem after the stonking success of The Miniaturist (which I LOVED, FYI).

The Muse tells the stories of two women, thirty-odd years apart: Odelle, a young woman from Trinidad who has emigrated to London in the 1960s and Olive, the daughter of well-to-do Anglo-German parents living in Spain at the time of the start of the civil war. Linked, possibly, by a mysterious painting painted by a young Spanish revolutionary, the story weaves the two narratives together in surprising and heart-breaking ways. Love, betrayal and identity are dealt with deftly and in a way that just made me want to get home and devour the book (I didn’t quite get the book read in 48 hours like I did with The Miniaturist, but I wasn’t far off!) Burton pulled off the changing between times well as well- it felt natural and understandable, even when I wasn’t entirely sure what the connection was. I’m not ashamed to admit that a few of my plot-twist guesses were entirely wrong, too. But that’s the best bit about a book like this, isn’t it? It’s good to be kept on your toes.

So, does this book match up to its predecessor? It’s very different, but it’s just as enjoyable.


  1. Oh, I am so glad this is good. I really like The Miniaturist and have been waiting for an audio release to read this one because that’s how I read The Miniaturist. I found out that one is not planned at the moment, so will have to grab a copy soon!


  2. I;m trying so hard to enjoy this, I’m about 30% through, but it’s not connecting with me in the same way The Miniaturist did (which I loved). It’s making me sad, because I really wanted to enjoy it.


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