Customer Reviews for

Girl With a Pearl Earring: A Novel

Average Rating 4.5
( 431 )
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(256)

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(110)

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(44)

2 Star

(14)

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(7)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

13 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

Chevalier is a Painter of Words

I actually watched the film first and I liked it, so I decided to give the book a chance and loved it! This is Holland in the 17th century where a young girl named Griet is forced to work at the house of Vermeer. She tells the story in first person. I felt her pain h...
I actually watched the film first and I liked it, so I decided to give the book a chance and loved it! This is Holland in the 17th century where a young girl named Griet is forced to work at the house of Vermeer. She tells the story in first person. I felt her pain having to leave home at such a young age. Women did not have many options during that era, either give in to men or be cast out, which Griet battled with. So many times I thought her and Vermeer would make a love connection, and Chevalier definitely added that romantic stress to the plot. As for the painting, the pearl earring was Vermeer's wife's possession and she was quite the vindictive lady, which unfortunately, Griet had to deal with the wrath of her jealousy.

posted by Anonymous on April 24, 2008

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Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

I was very disappointed in this book. Considering how popular it

I was very disappointed in this book. Considering how popular it is, I figured there would be more of a story to it. It's a short read, but I felt like I had to force myself through it. Page after page I was waiting for something to happen, but nothing really did. The b...
I was very disappointed in this book. Considering how popular it is, I figured there would be more of a story to it. It's a short read, but I felt like I had to force myself through it. Page after page I was waiting for something to happen, but nothing really did. The best way I can describe this book is to think of a dime store romance novel, but take away the romance. You're left with practically nothing. No point. I'm not saying I am disappointed in this book's lack of romance, but I am saying that there could have at least been a point to it if romance was thrown in there. As it is, there's just nothing to it.

The main character (Greit) lacked any sort of personality. She is one of the most boring and plain characters I've ever read in a novel. She rarely had emotion, and when she did have emotion, it was hard to believe. Almost as if the author tried to randomly throw in character development for the sake of development, rather than allowing the character's personality to naturally appear throughout the story.

I don't mean to completely dismiss the book. The overall details were interesting, particularly where Greit started and how she got to where she ended. It would have been a great book had the author simply been better at writing and putting together a story. That was no the case though.

posted by StacieRosePittard on April 11, 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2008

    Chevalier is a Painter of Words

    I actually watched the film first and I liked it, so I decided to give the book a chance and loved it! This is Holland in the 17th century where a young girl named Griet is forced to work at the house of Vermeer. She tells the story in first person. I felt her pain having to leave home at such a young age. Women did not have many options during that era, either give in to men or be cast out, which Griet battled with. So many times I thought her and Vermeer would make a love connection, and Chevalier definitely added that romantic stress to the plot. As for the painting, the pearl earring was Vermeer's wife's possession and she was quite the vindictive lady, which unfortunately, Griet had to deal with the wrath of her jealousy.

    13 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 29, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Girl With A Pearl Earring

    I thought this book was really good it was very easy to read and the story had a great plot. I thought this book was a lot better than the movie. I would recommend this book to anybody who wants to read a great book.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 5, 2009

    History and Fiction Merge

    Wonderful book, simply written, easy to read yet allows the reader to imagine each scene and event. Great plot that explores who could be the subject of Vermeer's painting. This book looks into what a young girl might think and feel back then and easily relates to readers of the present day.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 23, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Absolutely Stunning

    Beautifully written with complex characters and the lovely backdrop of 1600s Holland. Intense, sensual, and saddening at the same time. A MUST READ! :)

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 24, 2008

    Really changed me

    This book is so amazing, it changed me. It changed the way I saw life, and the way I acted towards men. In a good way. I love this book.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 2, 2008

    GREAT read!

    i chose this book along with another book for my summer reading. at first i was hesitant bc i had gotten mixed reviews about this book and remembered the movie to a little on the solemn and boring side. i started to read this book though giving it a chance and i am so happy i did. i absolutely loved this book. it is now one of my favorites and i enjoyed it thorughly. it was the perfect blend of history, drama, romance, and intrigue that makes a book fascinating from start to end. even thought it was summer,school related reading i really loved this book and reccommend it to anyone who likes hidden stories behind art and a great read. it took me into another world and into a world i had never read anything about. overall i thought this novel was amazing and the description and narration caught my attention from start to finish.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 14, 2008

    The Story Behind the Painting

    I was assigned this book for english class, but after reading it I was very surprised. It was a great book that I never put down. Griet, the main character, is forced to work as a maid for the painter Vermeer. This book tells the story of a young girl faced with choices and struggles as she enters adulthood. There is drama, romance, and an acurate description of what life was probably like for a poor girl living in Holland in the 1600s. Its great for anyone who has ever looked at a painting and wondered what kind of story was hidden behind it.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 23, 2008

    Don't even question its greatness

    Are you looking for the perfect novel that is has just the right amount of romance, fact, and fiction, to keep you sucked in from beginning to end? well then look no further, this is the book for you. I was hooked from page one!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 3, 2007

    simply amazing!

    This book is on the top of my 'read again when im 21' books. This book was simply written, easy to understand, and had a clear plot, with some romance and scandalosity among those things. I recommend this book to anyone who likes romance, action, and historical fiction

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 11, 2007

    Simply Captivating!

    I am not usually a big reader but from the moment I opened this book, I could not put it down. I felt as if I was right there reliving the experience on my own. It was remarkable! It really gave me a new prospective of art and made me look at it in a whole new way. It was wonderful and I loved it. I reccomend it to anyone who is looking for a good read.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 12, 2011

    Truly Inspiring, painting a vivid picture of the 17-th century!!

    The novel begins in the 1600's in the Dutch city of Delft. Here lives a 16 year-old girl, Griet who leaves her family to work for the famous artist, Vermeer. She is sent out to work because of the lose of her father's eye sight. When Vermeer seeks out Griet, he sees the artistic talent she has by the way she separates her vegetables. As she begins to live with the family Griet is inspired by her creating a painting of her. In this novel the peal earring is significant in the book. However, you will have to read more to find out!! I would choose this book if you love love stories and art history. I chose this book according for my love of art history. I highly recommend this book and I hope you enjoy it as well!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 21, 2011

    Loved it

    You mean i can only give this a 5 star rating! I read this after i saw the movie and i was so happy to find they did very close to the book. This is a must read. You will not be disappointed. Beautifully written.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 30, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    Not Paint by Numbers

    Congrats to Tracy Chevalier for this vivid characterization of an artist, his motley family, and his reticent model. Highly Recommended.
    James Conroyd Martin
    Author of Push Not the River
    & Against a Crimson Sky

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 12, 2011

    Good story

    I like the historical setting of this book. Good read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 5, 2011

    Highly Recommended!!!

    Famous paintings are always intriguing to people, especially the antique ones, because they are mysteriously conveying meanings of life in various ways. In 1655, the Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer created a masterpiece that is celebrated in the world today because of its brilliance, elegance, and delicacy. The painting shows a young girl/maid wearing only one shiny pearl earring with an enigmatic and obscure expression on her face. Although it is very a famous painting, but no one knows for sure who the model was and why Vermeer painted her in such a furtive way. Therefore, many people have come up with different ideas to explain the big question and Girl With A Pearl Earring written by Tracy Chevalier is one of them. This book is very interesting for a variety of people from teenagers and up. It doesn't focus completely on the painting, but rather, it takes a different approach to the topic with a storyline from the muse's perspective. The author has done a great job in fictionalizing the true story that lies deep within the painting. I was so captivated by the fact that although the painting was created a long time ago, but the author has virtually described exactly the setting and how people acted during that period of time. Along with vivid descriptions, the novel presents a simple language yet sophisticated plot that mesmerizes everyone's heart. As mentioned above, Girl With A Pearl Earrings suits for many age groups but preferably teens and above because it is a romance that might be inappropriate for little kids. The story starts with a young teenage girl named Griet who goes to work as a maid in the famous painter Vermeer's house with a specific duty of cleaning up his studio. Vermeer's pregnant wife, Catharina, expresses a strong dislike for Griet because she is the only one who is allowed into her husband's art studio. As other members in the house quickly learn that the clever Griet won't cross any line to harm her position in the house, Vermeer also learns that he has found a companion who can be taught to understand and discuss art with him. Gradually, Vermeer develops new feelings for Griet other and Griet is also captivated by the wiser and manly Vermeer who takes away her soul with one gaze. However, both of them restrain their feelings because they know that they won't have a good ending together. Meanwhile, Catharina's jealousy escalates more and more, making it very difficult for Griet. Due to a difficult circumstance, Vermeer has to paint Griet individually, in which both of them have to suppress their real feelings for each other. Once the painting is done, Vermeer is still not happy because it is missing something, which he notices later that he needs to add more light by a pearl earring. Along with Maria (the mother-in-law)'s help, Griet wears a pearl earring taken from the unaware Catharina. The painting is finally done with extreme satisfaction from both the painter and the muse, but shortly after that, the jealous Catharina finds out that Griet is painted with her earring, and then a big explosion of her madness erupts in the house. She attempts to ruin the painting with a knife but is inhibited by Vermeer. Griet is chased out and ends up marrying Pieter, the butcher's son and her good friend who has an eye on her ever since she enters Vermeer's house. Overall, I would highly recommend this novel because it is all about how everyone has a role in the society and tries everything to not break that role.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 30, 2011

    Amazing!

    A very well written book; felt very believable! Had a very romantic feel and was hard to put down!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 20, 2011

    best. book. ever!

    one of the greatest books by far, top ten on my list of must read books! it took me a little bit to get into it, but once i got into it i couldnt put it down! i found myself under the covers reading with my flashlight like a little kid again!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 16, 2011

    very good!

    This book was very good, I read it in english class and I really enjoyed it. If you are a fan of historical fiction and you are looking for a book I reccomend this one it is very good and I am defiantly a huge fan

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 30, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Recommended

    It was a good book and I enjoyed it very much. The movie went with the book very much too. It only left out some of the ending and a few other stuff.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 22, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    A Wonderful and Intriging Tale.

    Girl with a Pearl Earring was a stunning merge of history & fiction. Tracy Chevalier has done marvalous writing with her creative imagination. To think the Johannes Vermeer painting inspired Chevalier for the main character of the story Griet just by looking at that famous painting of that girl. It is a beautiful portrait that has been admired through out the world.

    The plot centers a young girl named Griet who was forced to work as a maid for the Vermeer family. The setting is in Holland at the 1600s. When Griet begins to work at that house, she encounters Master Johannes Vermeer. Griet & Vermeer form a unique and artistic friendship. Often people may confuse it as a love affair. Griet doesn't only find a new relationship, she also gets finds her own share of choices and struggles obstecles as she enters to adulthood.

    All of beautifully expessed into this amazing novel. Chevalier writing takes you to another time. Anyone is a true history buff would enjoy it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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