The Miniaturist

( 56 )

Overview

On a brisk autumn day in 1686, eighteen-year-old Nella Oortman arrives in Amsterdam to begin a new life as the wife of illustrious merchant trader Johannes Brandt. But her splendid new home is not welcoming. Johannes is kind yet distant, and leaves Nella alone with his sister, the fearsome Marin.

Nella's life unexpectedly changes when Johannes presents her with an extraordinary wedding gift: a cabinet-sized replica of their home. To furnish it, she engages the services of a ...

See more details below
Hardcover
$19.76
BN.com price
(Save 26%)$26.99 List Price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (44) from $3.45   
  • New (13) from $11.96   
  • Used (31) from $3.45   
The Miniaturist

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$11.99
BN.com price

Overview

On a brisk autumn day in 1686, eighteen-year-old Nella Oortman arrives in Amsterdam to begin a new life as the wife of illustrious merchant trader Johannes Brandt. But her splendid new home is not welcoming. Johannes is kind yet distant, and leaves Nella alone with his sister, the fearsome Marin.

Nella's life unexpectedly changes when Johannes presents her with an extraordinary wedding gift: a cabinet-sized replica of their home. To furnish it, she engages the services of a miniaturist–an elusive and enigmatic artist whose tiny creations mirror their real-life counterparts in eerie ways.

Johannes's gift helps Nella pierce the closed world of the Brandt household. But as she uncovers its unusual secrets, she begins to understand–and fear–the escalating dangers around them. Only one person seems to see the fate that awaits them. Is the miniaturist the key to their salvation...or the architect of their destruction?

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

The New York Times Book Review - Michael Peed
…a seductive meditation on greed, power and the tortuous journey even the well heeled must endure for self-possession. Burton adroitly depicts a culture of contradiction: a love of affluence and indulgence chafing against the impulse for God-fearing abstinence. The result is a population "living in the shadows between lies and truth."
Publishers Weekly
06/23/2014
Late 17th-century Amsterdam is the sumptuous backdrop for this debut novel about a young Dutch girl from the village of Assendelft, Nella Oortman, who is chosen to be the bride of Johannes Brandt, a wealthy merchant with a shocking secret. Not long after Nella’s arrival in the city, her enigmatic husband presents her with a beautifully wrought cabinet, an exact replica of the house in which they live with Brandt’s sister, Marin, and their loyal servants. Nella engages a miniaturist to fill it and begins to encounter mysteries no one is willing to explain, secrets in which everyone in the household is implicated. The elusive miniaturist, too, seems to know more than Nella, as reflected in the tiny dolls and furniture he creates for the cabinet. The artisan may even be able to predict the future: he sends Nella portentous objects she has not commissioned, such as a cradle and a perfect replica of Brandt’s beloved dog stained with blood. As in all good historical novels, the setting is a major character; in this case the city of Amsterdam, with its waterways and warehouses, confectioners’ shops, and kitchens, teems with period detail. Myriad plot twists involve Brandt’s commercial activities, especially the stores of precious sugar cones from Surinam, and the tragic, fatal consequences of illicit love affairs. Strangely enough, however, the central mystery, the miniaturist’s uncanny knowledge of the future, is never solved, and the reader is left unsatisfied. (Aug.)
Kirkus Reviews
★ 2014-06-26
A talented new writer of historical fiction evokes 17th-century Amsterdam, the opulent but dangerous Dutch capital, where an innocent young wife must navigate the intrigues of her new household. "Every woman is the architect of her own fortune," reads 18-year-old Nella Oortman in a message that will gather meaning like a rolling stone as this novel progresses. It comes from the peculiarly knowledgeable artisan who is creating miniature objects for a dollhouse-sized version of her new home, which Nella received as a wedding gift. Hastily married to a wealthy older merchant, Johannes Brandt, after her father's death left her provincial family struggling, Nella arrives alone in Amsterdam, readying herself for her unknown husband's demands. Instead, she finds herself sleeping by herself, ignored by Johannes and dismissed by his brusque sister, Marin, who rules the house and influences the business, too. Distracted by the wedding present, Nella commissions a miniaturist to supply tiny items of furniture; but these exquisite objects and their accompanying messages soon begin to bear a chilly, even prophetic relationship to people and things—suggesting their maker knows more about the family and its business than is possible or safe. In a debut that evokes Old Master interiors and landscapes, British actress Burton depicts a flourishing society built on water and trade, where women struggle to be part of the world. Her empathetic heroine, Nella, endures loneliness and confusion until a sequence of domestic shocks forces her to grow up very quickly. Finally obliged to become that architect of her own fortune, Nella acts to break the miniaturist's spell and save everything she holds dear. With its oblique storytelling, crescendo of female empowerment and wrenching ending, this novel establishes Burton as a fresh and impressive voice; book groups in particular will relish it.
—The Guardian
“A fabulously gripping read that will appeal to fans of Girl With a Pearl Earring and The Goldfinch, but Burton is a genuinely new voice with her visceral take on sex, race and class...”
—S.J. Watson
“The Miniaturist is that rarest of things - beautifully written, yet also a compelling page-turner. It’s haunting, magical, and full of surprises, the kind of book that reminds you why you fell in love with reading.”
Hannah Kent
‘Utterly transporting...one of those rare debut novels that excels in every regard. The past is brought to life in potent, sensory detail: one feels steeped in it. Burton’s prose beguiles the reader...My first instinct on finishing this book was to immediately read it again.”
—New York magazine
“This debut novel, set in 17th-century Amsterdam, hits all the marks of crossover success: taut suspense, a pluck heroine- and a possibly clairvoyant miniature-furniture designer.”
Good Housekeeping
“[A] haunting debut.”
Booklist
“A standout portrayal of the wide range of women’s ingenuity.”
New York magazine/Vulture.com
“As in Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch, the pleasure lies in giving in to well-wrought illusions, and the result is a beach read with meat on its bones - perfect for the Labor Day transition from play to work.”
Entertainment Weekly
The Miniaturist is one of the year’s most hyped novels, and it’s easy to see why. Burton conjures every scent and crackle of Nella’s world. A-”
Cleveland Plain Dealer
“Rich in 17th century atmosphere…Debut novelist Jessie Burton has a terrific subject... All those severe portraits of people in dark clothes and starched white ruffs, along with those glossy, death-scented still lifes, spring to life.”
Washington Independent Review of Books
“The Miniaturist is a masterpiece of atmosphere and tension …. The themes Burton explores are as relevant today as they were long ago …. a thoroughly engaging, beautifully written work of historical fiction.”
Dallas Morning News
“In The Miniaturist, Burton uses a historical object - the real Petronella Oortman’s cabinet house in Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum - as the springboard for a fantastically spun tale of love and mystery. It’s a story that astutely reflects our own age’s obsessions and prejudices, and it’s one not to be missed.”
BookPage
The Miniaturist excels in depicting Amsterdam and its wealthy upper class, and lovers of art and of Amsterdam will be drawn to Burton’s imaginative story, which flows as effortlessly as water down a canal.”
New York Daily News
“Jessie Burton nimbly transports contemporary social issues to the 17th century where a costume drama rich in historical detail is embellished with supernatural intrigue…The Miniaturist is a late-harvest summer delight.”
Tampa Bay Times
The Miniaturist is an impressive debut… Burton has created a world that, like the cabinet house, draws us in until we feel the dread and mystery and wonder that surround Nella.”
Shelf Awareness
“In Jessie Burton’s atmospheric debut, The Miniaturist, the powers of love and obsession, sins and secrets, loyalty and forgiveness bind together a cast of sympathetic characters who all have a part to play in a collectively chilling conclusion.”
The Gilmore Guide To Books
“A magical, intricate marvel of perfection… with luxurious prose that immerses the reader in the cold, damp of Amsterdam… A book that enchants from beginning to end.”
My Friends are Fiction
“A suspenseful and moving read.”
Entertainment Weekly (Must List)
“Seventeenth-century Amsterdam comes alive in this meticulously researched, enchantingly told tale.”
Washington Post
“Burton gives her narrative the propulsive drive of a thriller, but her distinctive prose conveys deeper, harder answers than a whodunit. This fine historical novel mirrors the fullness of life, in which growth and sorrow inevitably are mingled.”
Minneapolis Star Tribune
“Jessie Burton’s debut novel…has all of the trappings of a historical page-turner: a rich setting in 17th-century Amsterdam, a plot inspired by an antique “cabinet house” located at the renowned Rijksmuseum, and a diverse cast of characters…a perfect amount of authentic detail and a plot that speeds along.”
Us Weekly
“Teen bride Nelly strives to connect with her aloof husband and his spinster sister, but uncovers secrets that, in intolerant 1686 Amsterdam, could mean death. It’s a tense tale.”
New York Times Book Review
“A seductive meditation on greed, power and the tortuous journey even the well-heeled must endure for self-possession. Burton adroitly depicts a culture of contradiction: a love of affluence and indulgence chafing against the impulse for Godfearing abstinence.”
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062306814
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 8/26/2014
  • Pages: 416
  • Sales rank: 32,103
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Jessie Burton

Jessie Burton was born in London in 1982. She studied at Oxford University and the Central School of Speech and Drama. The Miniaturist is her first novel.

Read More Show Less

Interviews & Essays

A Conversation with Jessie Burton, Author of The Miniaturist

What was the inspiration for The Miniaturist?

I was visiting Amsterdam when I came upon this dolls' house in the Rijksmuseum. It had been built in 1686 and was a thing of true decorative beauty. The owner was a woman called Petronella Oortman, who had commissioned it as an exact replica of her own townhouse in the heart of the city. She had spent as much money on it as you might on a real house, and miniature pieces had been made for its interior as far away as Japan and China. I was so curious as to why she would miniaturise her existence, why she would purchase food she couldn't eat and chairs she couldn't sit on...and then there was the city of Amsterdam and its history. A place of trade and power, contradictions of outward modesty and bursting inward pomp - and the dolls' house was a perfect symbol of this, of the need for secrets, for control, for domestic harmony that covered over inner chaos.

Is there any part of you in Nella? In any of the other characters?

I expect there is. My best friend says she can hear me in some of Nella's lines, in some of Cornelia's too. Marin voices things that are in me, but so do Otto and Johannes. I am sort of in all of them, and then completely separate from them too. They are their own people, and I end up on the periphery, and that is how it should be.

What do you like about writing historical fiction? Do you think it allows for anything you wouldn't be able to do in a novel with a contemporary setting?

This book is set in 1686 because the real Petronella Oortman had a dolls' house commissioned for her in 1686. I wanted to honour that time, and yet I did not want to be a slave to it. Part of my intention was an impressionistic offering to the reader of what life might have been like then, certainly not to smother them with a drab historical recreation. I was as diligent as it was possible to be - and it was fascinating to discover the social habits, the food, the clothing, the grieving processes, the feasting - and then to realise, in many ways it was not so long ago, and love, and pain were very much experienced the same as they are no. I think contemporary settings probably offer the writer more lassitude in which to express herself. But I have characters with Enlightenment instincts, burgeoning desires for female rights, for racial and sexual equality. Just because that was not overtly expressed in extant documents of the time, does not mean on a private level they were not felt. So I have gifted myself this nice synthesis of eternal contemporary preoccupations that also find a home in the 'past'.?

You've been an actress. How has acting affected your writing?

I think the two disciplines are quite different! Acting is communal, it thrives on mutuality, of leaving ego at the door. In writing, you have to be director, actors, and also the draconian producer who makes sure you turn up and do the work. You are godlike. But I do think my training has aided me in terms of getting into a character's head - yet all good writers can do that, I would hope. Being an actress has given me a sense of generosity to all characters, even the 'bad' ones - to understand that being a human on this planet is a 360 degrees experience - that just because x says words to y in a certain way, it doesn't follow y receives them how x intended, or indeed even that x had even planned them to have a particular effect. No one is inherently evil, or a saint. Acting has given me an appreciation of the ambiguous, because the best playwrights often leave it open as to what the character wants. Character is fluid. Life is a series of reactions, lived in the moment and suffered (and repaired) at leisure.

Who have you discovered lately?

I have really enjoyed Life Drawing, by Robin Black. Such a good book, with scalpel precision peeling back the beauty and pain of a long marriage and everyone's crosses they openly or secretly bear. Also, Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel. Futuristic, yet rooted in a love for the world we may lose if we're not too careful. Arts and Entertainments by Christopher Beha was so close to the bone about celebrity and fame and reality TV, I almost read it peeping through my fingers, and I am reading Erica Jong's Fear of Flying for the first time, and I really don't know what has taken me so long.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 56 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(23)

4 Star

(16)

3 Star

(6)

2 Star

(7)

1 Star

(4)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 56 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 26, 2014

    Page turner

    Read it in one long evening today, not for the faint hearted, but a strong story line interesting characters. a historical novel well set and portrayed. A great spin on a famous doll house

    32 out of 33 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 8, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    3.75 stars:  THE MINIATURIST is an historical fiction storyline

    3.75 stars:  THE MINIATURIST is an historical fiction storyline set in seventeenth century Amsterdam. Told from close third person POV, this is the story of newlywed Nella Oortman –an eighteen year old young woman whose new and much older husband –merchant trader-Johannes Brandt is emotionally distant but not unkind. As the days blend into weeks Nella learns there are secrets within the Brandt household that will change her life forever. But a gift from her husband of a miniature replica of their home will begin to foretell of a dark and dangerous future. With each new miniature piece that arrives, Nella fears that someone is watching their every move.
    The storyline follows a few months in the life of Petronella Oortman Brandt whose relationship with her husband is a matter of convenience. Left alone to her own devices, Nella begins to uncover family secrets hidden behind closed doors and secret rooms. Johannes reputation as a trader has garnered him a few loyal followers but it is his dalliances on the side that will see the beginning of the end. A negotiated promise of sales fails to produce the desired results and someone will seek revenge.

    THE MINIATURIST is a storyline that is set in 1686 around the time of the sugar cane plantation exploitation and slavery in the British West Indies. As the Dutch begin to import the candied sweet the business of trading and selling is one of critical survival. Here in lies a part of the storyline where Johannes Brandt’s personal and private life become fodder for public consumption-the politics and religion of the time will show no mercy.
    Johanne’s sister Marin plays a major role throughout the storyline but like Johanne she is emotionally distant and lacks any sort of literary color. Most of the household members remain static in their development but Johanne’s one time friends will play a role in his downfall.  It is not until the end of the story that we get a glimpse into the Brandt family dynamics and the darker secrets that they share. 

    THE MINIATURIST is a well written, dark and dramatic tale about family, betrayal, love and loss. It is a tragic look at life in the 1600s-from slavery to racism; judgment and religion; health, welfare and survival in a world where people have set themselves upon a pedestal of unreachable heights. The miniaturist is always in the background but never thoroughly explored-there are so many unanswered questions as to the who and why of the miniaturist’s involvement in the story--for all intents and purposes another storyline is required to clear up some of the mystery and to acknowledge to what purpose the miniaturist played in their lives. There is a hint of the paranormal with the miniaturist’s prophetic gifts.

    17 out of 20 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 3, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    This book was exceptional:) it was a bit slow in the beginning ,

    This book was exceptional:) it was a bit slow in the beginning , then it started to pick up speed and read it with in a 48 hour time period :) It was  was character driven which I love and wonderful world building! 
    For those that DIDN'T read this book: SHAME on you for using this review site as a chat or pick up site . Authors depend on honest review and ratings! I see you using this as a way to ruin her " real " reviews!:( For the person that didn't know what the story was even about and gave it a low rating..... pick the book up and at the very least READ the synopsis. It may give you a clue! Then you may actually pick up and read it.  I'm just bad, that a few thoughtless people would do this.....please for all our sakes , Grow up! I shall be listing a more in depth review on Goode ads and other sites

    17 out of 23 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 12, 2014

    Fascinating

    Couldn't put it down. Loved the setting in Amsterdam + the mysteries. Interesting female characters. Good ending.

    10 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 22, 2014

    I have to agree with the Page Turner review - it is hard to put

    I have to agree with the Page Turner review - it is hard to put this one down. There is a storytelling gift at work here, and the author keeps many secrets up her sleeve until the final third of the book. Recommended!

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 14, 2014

    A Sad Tale

    A sad, dark tale with a hopeful ending & an unsolved mystery.

    7 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 27, 2014

    Interesting, but unsatisfying at the end

    I enjoyed the historical aspects of the novel and the character development was very compelling. However, it was a great deal of build up for a somewhat dismal ending. I would say it is worth the time to read, but prepare for a bit of a let down. In addition, it is not a very uplifting book - very serious and somewhat dark.

    6 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 19, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Oh my goodness! This is one exceptionally incredibly good book!

    Oh my goodness! This is one exceptionally incredibly good book! I cannot rave about it enough! The best way to describe The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton is to call it heartrending novel with a great deal of mystery and a touch of magical fantasy. Rich with emotion and mystifyingly dark, this unique tale gripped me from the start and kept me turning each page, anxious to find out the secret of the miniaturist and the fate of the ever-evolving three-dimensional characters.




    The novel is set in 17th century Amsterdam and vividly depicts the social and economic living standards of the time. Eighteen year old Nella arrives in the city to the home of Johannes Brandt with whom a marriage has been arranged. But her groom is an enigma, odd in many ways, and distant, even though he is kind to her. Soon after the wedding, she receives a gift of a miniature replica of their home complete with furniture and little people resembling her, Johannes, and his sisters. She begins corresponding with the mysterious miniaturist, but is unable to discern who they are. The miniatures are not what they seem. In fact, they foretell the future. And it is this that adds tension and a great deal of conflict to the story. It is truly disconcerting. Through the miniatures, several dark secrets and tragedies occur, and Nella finds herself in a desperate frenzy to save those she loves.




    This is a clever, magnificently plotted novel. Although the opening chapters can be a little slow, with every page, the story unfolds and becomes ever more gripping. The dark secrets are revealed bit by bit, in a shocking way, so that one cannot help but race to the end. The story not only stirs up emotion, it shocks and sweeps the reader away with its opulent storyline. A truly magnificent novel, brilliantly written. 

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 28, 2014

    Book

    Love the book.

    6 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 3, 2014

    Highly recommended

    I love historical novels, so when I saw the book jacket of The Miniaturist, I was intrigued. I found this story to be so interesting and unusual. I learned so much about 17th Century Amsterdam. There were so many twists and turns. It is definitely a page turner.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 15, 2014

    This book was awful. I picked it up as it was in the recommended

    This book was awful. I picked it up as it was in the recommended reads at our library and I had an interest in this period of Dutch life. The picture of the miniature house in the front of the book also intrigued me. Let's just say the book starts out extremely slow. I was about to give up on it when a few questions were finally answered, but in a completely predictable way. I had Johanne's secret figured out way before his wife did. Spoiler alert: if a newly married man has no any interest in his bride he just may have married her to cover up his lifestyle. I kept waiting for the big payoff in this book and I was thoroughly disappointed. We never really find out who the psychic like "Miniaturist" really is and where she gleans all her inside information. The book that takes pages and pages to tell us minute details of these people's lives wraps up at the end like the author ran out of paper. The very slowly revealed plots and subplots in this book are far too easy to see through. I told a friend this book was like the child of two period pieces gone wrong. I would not recommend this book to anyone. The beginning is slow and tedious and the end is disappointing.

    3 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 14, 2014

    The Miniaturist is the first novel by British author, Jessie Bur

    The Miniaturist is the first novel by British author, Jessie Burton. Amsterdam in the late 1680s is a prosperous place for merchants of the VOC (Dutch East India Company). When eighteen-year-old Petronella Oortman, newly married to wealthy merchant, Johannes Brandt, arrives at his luxurious home on the Herengracht, she is nervous but expectant: surely her life can only get better now that she has left Assendelft. 




    But Johannes is absent, and his sister Marin is less than welcoming. When her husband finally returns, things do not go as Nella had expected. He does, however, bring her a remarkable gift: a replica of their home in miniature. She engages the services of a miniaturist to craft items to furnish this amazing creation, but is disturbed by the accuracy of certain extra pieces, pieces she did not order. 




    As Nella becomes familiar with the household, it is soon apparent that neither people nor circumstances are what they first seem, and that the life she had expected, and perhaps even hoped, for is unlikely to be the one she will have. Before long, she discovers the shocking truth about her marriage, learns disturbing facts about her husband’s business dealings, surprising truths about other household members and about the elusive but seemingly prescient miniaturist.




    Nella begins to realise that while there is abundant prosperity, there is very little tolerance in this Amsterdam “Where the pendulum swings from God to a guilder”. Within three months, this young innocent country girl has to draw on reserves she was unaware she had, along the way witnessing a drowning, a stabbing and a sexual act, attending a funeral, seeing a man condemned to death, bribing a prison guard, and handling the sale of a valuable commodity. 




     As she weaves a fictional world around real life characters, Burton also provides the reader with a wealth of information about late seventeenth century Amsterdam. Her extensive research is apparent in every paragraph. How interesting to imagine a time when sugar was rare enough to be a valuable commodity, and to actually view Nella’s cabinet house in the Rijksmuseum. 




    Burton also treats the reader to some marvellously evocative descriptive prose: “A spray of red pimples covers the second man’s forehead. He’s little more than a boy. God has been malicious with his paintbrush” and “The threads of Nella’s imagination begin to spool, embroidering conversations, patches of which it stitches loosely together” and “There is water everywhere she looks, lagoons as still as glass, patched with murk like a foxed mirror when the weak sun moves behind cloud” are just a few examples. This amazing debut novel is a brilliant read. 4.5 stars

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 11, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    A great historical novel can transport you to a completely diffe

    A great historical novel can transport you to a completely different time and place, a place you are unfamiliar with. Jessie Burton's The Miniaturist does just that. Set in 1686 Amsterdam, we meet young Petronella Oortman, who has just arrived at the home of her new husband, wealthy, influential merchant Johannes Brandt.
    Brandt is not there to greet his bride, but his sister, cold and imperious Marin is, along with the young maid/cook Cornelia, and Otto, the dark-skinned manservant to Johannes. Petronella is unhappy to find that her husband is gone and his return is unknown.
    When Johannes does show up, he shows no interest in his new bride. Nella is confused, but to appease his young wife, he gifts her with an exact replica miniature of her new home. He tells Petronella that she may order furnishings from the miniaturist to fill her new replica home.
    Johannes and Marin argue about Johannes' business. He has agreed to sell a large quantity of sugar for Frans and Agnes Meerman, a married couple with whom Marin and Johannes have a complicated relationship. The book is told through Nella's eyes, so we find out the history of this relationship as she does.
    When a package arrives from the miniaturist, it contains the items Nella ordered, along with a note that reads EVERY WOMAN IS THE ARCHITECT OF HER OWN FORTUNE. Nella is puzzled by this, and by the fact that there are more items than she ordered in the package. Exact replicas of two chairs, with the same carvings on them as the ones in the salon, along with a cradle, and replicas of Johannes two beloved dogs are also inside.
    Nella is shocked by how the miniaturist would know what the chair and dogs look like, having never been to her home, and what the cradle means. She sets out to find the miniaturist for an explanation, but is unsuccessful. And then more packages with cryptic notes continue to arrive.
    A scandal befalls Johannes and he is imprisoned. When Otto disappears after an altercation with a man who works for Johannes, that leaves only the women to carry on. Marin and Nella must pull together and find a way to sell the Meerman's sugar to get money to save Johannes.
    I loved watching Nella grow in strength. She began the story a young, naive woman, who knew little of the ways of life in Amsterdam, yet like the famous Eleanor Roosevelt saying- "Women are like teabags- you never know their strength until they are in hot water"- she rises to the occasion when it becomes necessary.
    We learn so much about the trading business, life in Amsterdam, the food they ate, how the people lived, their prejudices and laws, I found it so fascinating, even though I would have said before I read this book that I wasn't particularly interested in this time period.
    The Miniaturist is a book that kept me reading on the treadmill just a little bit longer each time I read it, unwilling to put it down. There are strong female characters, a bit of the supernatural in regards to how the miniaturist knew what she did about the family, and a suspenseful plot that propelled the reader to continue on.
    Burton shares her research at the end of the book, which was extensive, and she includes a photo of the actual miniature house that belonged to the real Petronella Oortman that resides in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. You can bet I will be looking for information on the real Petronella Oortman.
    The Miniaturist will definitely be on my list of Most Compelling Reads of 2014- it's brilliant and breathtaking, and the fact that Jessie Burton is a debut author is astonishing.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 5, 2014

    A well written tale that includes a spray of mystery, THE MINIAT

    A well written tale that includes a spray of mystery, THE MINIATURIST left port a little too slowly for me at the start of the journey. Once the story did set sail, I gladly clung to the railing, enjoying the very intense, emotional voyage. If the author had only visited an additional port or two before drawing the tale to a close, I would have given it five stars.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 18, 2014

    Captivating!

    Great read and it only took two days to finish because I couldn't put it down!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2015

    Unfinished

    Slow moving at first then finally picks up and difficult tok put down. Very cdisappointed in the ending. Too many unanswered questiions. Had enough of authors asking their readers to figure out the ending. Gave 2stars because of interesting historical facts and storyline was great however the ending leaves so much to be desired

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2015

    Boring book

    This sounded good in the blurb from R/N... but wasn't worth the $3 I spent on it. It never seemed to get off the ground.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 20, 2015

    Suckssssss

    It sucks

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 1, 2014

    Great reading!

    I was surprised about the age of the author. She treats homosexualism with such maturity and portraits the inter racial relationships with such simplicity. .. I really enjoyed this book!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 21, 2014

    I HAVE A QUESTION,A BIG ONE!!!!!!!

    O.K.This is the same review space,less all the NASTY(two reviews especially that got me going)am I in the right place or have I finally snapped??????I am SOOOOOOO blown away that,I'm assuming,B.&N. deleated them.I don't consider myself a prude(ya,everybody says that)Yes,we do have freedom of speach,for now anyway,until the government takes that away also.I'm confused about why you have that need to be so downright nasty.If there is a reason could you share that with us,maybe I'm overlooking something.I'm almost positive I titled myself"I GIVE UP"and I had someone that was TO I GIVE UP.Just to set the record straight I really am a Granny AND I DO OFFER LIFE LEASONS TO MY GRANDSONS.I am gratefull to B.&N. for standing up at the plateThis goes to show me that all things I feel I've tackeled don't end up in vain!!!!!!!!!!Can't thank you all enough.

    1 out of 22 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 56 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)