I have been debating whether or not to buy ‘The Miniaturist’ by Jessie Burton for quite some time now. Every time I walk into a bookshop and see it on display, I have always gone over to pick it up and feel out the pages, and read the back to find out what story lay within. It has intrigued me and yet I have always been hesitant to buy it. The story is not one I would regularly read, both in style and topic matter. All this changed when it became the Waterstones ‘Book of the Year 2014’ and a new, exclusive edition was brought out. While they say you should never judge a book by its cover, I find it very difficult to resist books with beautiful ones, and this was no exception. The cover was stunning – cream-coloured hardback decorated with blue flowers and a gold plate for the title. This time, when I saw it, I picked the book up, feeling the spine, the front and the back, and then I never put it back down again.
The story takes you back to late 1680’s Amsterdam, to the arrival of young Nella Oortman at the house of her new husband only to be met by his sister. Despite being given a luxurious gift of a cabinet replica of their home, Nella soon finds out that being married into the Brandy family is nothing like she had expected. Feeling lonely and worthless in her role as wife, Nella turns to the miniaturist to start decorating the dolls house, only to find that the creations sent to her soon mirror events of life outside the cabinet. Nella sets out to find out the truth behind the miniaturist, but on her way uncovers things that will turn her life upside down.
I adored this book. Despite my initial reluctance, I found myself drawn in completely to the story. Nella made for a fantastic main character – full of doubts and uncertainties but with a drive to fit in. The family she joined was full of interesting characters, each realistic and full of hidden layers that you slowly uncover as the book goes on. I particularly liked how they all interacted with each other, it was so different depending on who was present and who was involved. I found it replicated real conversations so well that I could almost see myself being in the same room.
The twists in the book are also well thought out and the plot is so intricately designed that I did not get bored at all. I was hooked in and could not stop reading until the book was done. The surprise turns that the story took were enough to shock you and pull you full force into the story, but they weren’t there for the sake of twists. They made sense, they weren’t overly dramatic and they contributed both to the movement of the story and to the characters development.
If you haven’t already, I would highly recommend you read this. It is a story to enjoy and love and cherish, and from the moment I turned the last page, I just wanted to go back and start again.
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