My Summary: The Miniaturist is a pure historical fiction novel that takes place in Amsterdam 1686. The story follows eighteen-year old Petronella Oortman as she starts to live her life as a wife to the rich and handsome Johannes Brandt. Though keen to start her life a fresh, Nella is intimidated by her new surroundings and sister in law, Marin, who seems to keep the Brandt household in tip top condition.
Many secrets linger in the house and Nella soon realises that being the wife to one of the wealthiest merchants in Amsterdam comes with as many downfalls as there are ups. With the her mysterious wedding gift, a miniature of the Brandt House and the strangely intriguing Miniaturist making eerily lifelike furnishings, Nella goes on a private mission to find the Miniaturist, who seems to hold Nella’s life in her hands.
My Review: I liked this book. I mean just liked this book. It was a nice and cosy historical fiction to read, but that’s all it was. Nice. Maybe I’m being too harsh, but I found that the whole book just stayed on a straight line. Not saying that there wasn’t any spikes throughout the book, because there definatley was some points, but not enough to keep a tight grip on my interest.
Lets talk about the main character, Petronella Brandt nee Oortman. First of all, I loved the name a lot, it is just a fun name to say, but my friends did get a bit annoyed when I kept on saying it during random spaces of silence. Though Nella acted like she knew what was going to happen when she became a wife, she reeked of naivety which made me want to guide her, almost like the Miniaturist did. She had these many rigid images of what it means to be a proper woman, but by the end of the novel those images came crumbling down, and it made her into a stronger woman I feel.
It is now around twenty-four hours after I have finished the book and I can confidently say I had no issues whatsoever with the characters. The main characters were developed enough for me to enjoy and I could picture most of them very clearly in my mind, which is helped by the lovely description that flowed through the book. The plot on the other hand…I had some problems.
The mystery of the Miniaturist was never really solved. I wanted Nella to have a proper conversation with her, I want to know how she talked, how she sat, if her teeth were sparkling white. What I’m trying to say is that the Miniaturist seemed like a hollow character to me. My second point kind of links on the first but the ending was like cold cup of tea you expected to be hot. After building a relationship with the characters (the novel seems more character than plot driven) I was left feeling Cornelia slammed a door in my face. I wanted to know what happened, so many questions were left unanswered for me and knowing that this is a stand alone novel,I am a little bit disappointing that many of my questions will not be answered through another greatly written book.
Verdict: Though I enjoyed the characters, the writing and pace there was just too little suspense and sharp, unpredictable plot twists that kept me fully intrigued.