At eighteen, after the death of her father, Petronella is married to a merchant from Amsterdam, Johannes Brandt. Her mother makes the match and coaches her daughter for a productive marriage. On arrival at her husband’s home, Nella is greeted by her strict sister-in-law, Marin and the two servants Cornelia and Otto, but is disappointed to not see her husband welcome her. It is apparent from the start her household is kept under the tight control of Marin, but there is much Nella doesn’t know about her husband and her new family. She is affronted when he gifts her a miniature house and she commissions a miniaturist to help her furnish it, but the items she receives seem prophetic in hindsight.
A very haunting and tragic tale that is well told and immerses the reader into seventeenth century Holland and a very conservative society. The story was impossible to put down and Petronella a very worthy protagonist, who seems to endure all with much character and wisdom beyond her years.
Not written for the faint hearted, The Miniaturist reads like a mystery begging to be unraveled, it seems to accurately portray seventeenth century Holland, although I am no expert, and is very worthy as a notable read of 2014.
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