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The Miniaturist: A Novel [Kindle Edition]

Jessie Burton
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,644 customer reviews)

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Kindle Edition £3.59  
Hardcover £6.49  
Paperback £3.85  
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Book Description

Set in seventeenth century Amsterdam—a city ruled by glittering wealth and oppressive religion—a masterful debut steeped in atmosphere and shimmering with mystery, in the tradition of Emma Donoghue, Sarah Waters, and Sarah Dunant.

”There is nothing hidden that will not be revealed . . .“

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 new home, while splendorous, is not welcoming. Johannes is kind yet distant, always locked in his study or at his warehouse office—leaving Nella alone with his sister, the sharp-tongued and forbidding Marin.

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

Johannes’ gift helps Nella to pierce the closed world of the Brandt household. But as she uncovers its unusual secrets, she begins to understand—and fear—the escalating dangers that await them all. In this repressively pious society where gold is worshipped second only to God, to be different is a threat to the moral fabric of society, and not even a man as rich as Johannes is safe. 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?

Enchanting, beautiful, and exquisitely suspenseful, The Miniaturist is a magnificent story of love and obsession, betrayal and retribution, appearance and truth.



Product Description

Review

The kind of book that reminds you why you fell in love with reading 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 ... Burton writes great complex female characters Observer A terrific novel: compelling cast, gripping plot, writing to savour A remarkable debut - complex, involving and deeply atmospheric The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton is set in 17th century Amsterdam where a trader presents his new wife Nella with a miniature replica of their home. Its tiny occupants mirror their real-life counterparts and show Nella what grave dangers lie in wait. Daily Express A delight on every page, The Miniaturist completely immerses the reader in sumptuous but strict seventeenth-century Amsterdam. Like the intricately crafted doll's house at the centre of the novel, there is a surprise behind each closed door and curtain - hidden worlds of deceit and seduction, guilds and guilders, candied walnuts and sugar loaves. Burton's novel is lovingly done, and exquisite to read Utterly beguiling and impeccably written. I am missing the characters already Utterly transporting, The Miniaturist is 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, while a riptide of a plot takes hold with an unrelenting grip of suspense. My first instinct on finishing this book was to immediately read it again

Review

'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.' (S J Watson)

'A remarkable debut – complex, involving and deeply atmospheric.' (Deborah Moggach)

'The next big thing ... Incredibly well-written, beautifully plotted ... If you tore through Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch, you'll love it.' (Evening Standard)

'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 ... Burton writes great complex female characters.' (The Observer)

'Utterly transporting, The Miniaturist is 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, while a riptide of a plot takes hold with an unrelenting grip of suspense. My first instinct on finishing this book was to immediately read it again.' (Hannah Kent)

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1114 KB
  • Print Length: 563 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0062326902
  • Publisher: Ecco (26 Aug. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00H1UK3UO
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,644 customer reviews)
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More About the Author

Jessie Burton was born in London, 1982. She studied at Oxford University and The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, and worked for 9 years as an actress and a PA before The Miniaturist was published.

The Miniaturist is her first novel, and will be translated into 31 other languages.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing 25 Mar. 2015
By M. Dowden HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
To be honest I only read this book as it is the next read for my local book group. I know that it has sold very well and that the film options have been bought up with an intention to make a TV series of this, but probably there will be changes to the story for that to come about.

Jessie Burton takes us back to Amsterdam from October 1686 – January 1687, thus we are only talking of a few months. Petronella ‘Nella’ Oortman arrives at the home of her husband, to take up her position as Petronella Brandt, husband of Johannes Brandt. From the very beginning we are taken into a strange world where Nella meets the servants of the house, and Marin, her sister-in-law, before her husband eventually arrives. We can see that this is really a loveless marriage as Johannes ignores his conjugal duties. To be honest it doesn’t take much imagination to figure out why.

Taking in bigotry in all its different forms we read of the Brandt household who seem to be so modern and liberal in their attitudes at home, whilst being secretive, and also of the hypocrisy of the world they live in. It does seem rather remarkable when you think about it that Otto the servant, who is black is stared at with such fascination when you consider that Amsterdam at this period was arguably the most important port in the world and thus the city would be quite busy with foreigners of all colours and nationalities. With people trying to be pious it is of course money that motivates and makes the people we read of in this book. To Nella who finds her life quite boring Johannes gives her what we would call nowadays a doll’s house, and after commissioning a miniaturist to make items for this house mysterious occurrences start to happen.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars It's ok... at best 1 April 2015
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The review by Natalie B. below pretty much sums this up. After reading the endorsements and other reviews I thought I'd give it a go, but sadly wasn't impressed. By the end I cared nothing for any of the characters (the maid was the only one who made any sense) and they seemed to have really strange relationships (not in an interesting literary way, but rather seeming like I'd totally missed a major event every now and then). The most frustrating thing was that at the end, nothing felt like it was concluded, and the miniaturist was such a minor part of the book that she and the miniature house could have been removed and not affected the story at all in my view. The writing is fine once the story really gets started (about 150 pages in...) and then has a good pace (early pages, not so much), but the annoyances above meant that it was an unsatisfying read.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing and contrived 11 Mar. 2015
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed the first section of this book. It was refreshingly different, being set in 17th century Amsterdam, and the mysteries of the merchant's house were intriguing. Sadly the promising start did not continue. As the action started to unfold I found it difficult to believe that such occurrences would have taken place in this era - it seemed like a 21st century dramatic soap opera - which was totally out of place in the setting the author had so carefully devised. Added to this, I feel the book is mis-named, because the miniaturist is an unresolved plot line which makes no difference to the story - the book is certainly not about a miniaturist! It's almost as though the author took the idea of the miniature house and resolved to to fit it in, somewhere, to an existing 'soap opera' story. The book's structure doesn't hold together well; the progression is aimless and the story is far too contrived. Reasonably researched and written, but disappointing in it's outcome.
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150 of 161 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A bit of a soap opera..... 12 Oct. 2014
By Wynne Kelly TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover
This historical novel has a really interesting setting: the merchant class of late 17th century Amsterdam.
Eighteen year old country girl Nella is happy to marry Johannes but soon finds life very difficult in her new household. Johannes’s spinster sister Marin seems to be very much in charge of the house and Nella struggles to assert herself. Also in the house is Cornelia, an orphan maid and Otto, an African servant who has been brought back by Johannes from one of his travels abroad.

Nella is confused and puzzled when Johann avoids all physical contact with her. She soon realises this is a house full of secrets. She is offended when her husband present her with a cabinet containing an exact replica of their house – she wants to be in charge of a real house not a play one. Soon strange things begin to happen when she orders some miniatures to go in the house. She never meets the mysterious “miniaturist” who creates beautiful and intricate objects – but they begin to arrive unsolicited and seem to predict the future.

The creation of social life in the late 1600s is well done. I also like the way in which Nella gains an understanding of the family dynamics and finally reaches an accommodation with a very difficult situation. Having said that, it was a bit of a soap opera in parts!

The weakest aspect was the mysterious miniaturist. I was waiting for a rational explanation but this never arrived.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Don't believe the hype! 26 Feb. 2015
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I am only giving this 2 stars because as a story of 17th century life in Amsterdam this is an okay (just about) read.
However, as others have already pointed out, the development of the characters over such a short period of time make absolutely no sense whatsoever, and one minute they are strong, the next they are weak. And no, you never actually engage or care for any of the characters - I personally wouldn't have anything to do with them if I ever had the misfortune of being anywhere near their social circles!
The "Miniaturist", in the end, turns out to be the book's version of a movie's MacGuffin and you actually feel conned by this when you reach the end of the book. This effect of feeling conned is exaggerated by the opening chapter dangling a carrot to the reader that is never answered in the final chapter.
I'm sorry to be so negative and if someone would like to enlighten me as to where I went wrong then please do so.
To summarize, an okay book if you like historical fiction; a poor book if you were expecting more than that, find something more interesting. It was one of those books I found myself forced to read to the end to see what, if anything, would happen, but eventually realised it was so many hours of my life that I would never get back!
After this, I read "the 1st fifteen lives of Harry August" by Claire North - wow, now there's a book and an author that truly astounded me - read that one instead of this and don't believe the hype.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Readable
I found this a very strange read. Took it away on holiday and yes, it's very readable but I must admit was left wondering why it had so many great reviews. Read more
Published 4 hours ago by F. Wilson
5.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't put it down!
I heard reviews of this book on the radio recently and decided to give it a go. I wasn't sure I'd made the right decision during the first chapter but after that I couldn't put it... Read more
Published 5 hours ago by Hilary
1.0 out of 5 stars Slow/depressing
Have to agree with negative reviews. All pretty pointless. Could not get into it. Gave up at page 90. Slow and disjointed. Read more
Published 7 hours ago by loui
5.0 out of 5 stars Well worth the readers time. Stays in your memory.
A really good read. The narrative so good that you felt you were there in the past.
Published 7 hours ago by Kathleen Mason
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Nicely written, but didn't get anywhere poor ending
Published 10 hours ago by MartinA
5.0 out of 5 stars Mesmerising
This beautifully written book had me page turning without halting, until I reached its conclusion. It is a reminder of female strength in the face of adversity and atrocity. Read more
Published 13 hours ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Best book I've read this year. Kept me awake all night as I wanted to finish it.
Published 14 hours ago by Mrs. J. A. Pedersen
1.0 out of 5 stars Beware of the hype - it misled me.
I know its hard to write beautifully, and there is no doubt that Jessie Burton can write exquisite prose. Unfortunately, a good novel needs more than beautiful writing. Read more
Published 14 hours ago by p l cornelissen
2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars
terrible book, poor characters, dire story line, but of an interesting time and place
Published 15 hours ago by Corinne
5.0 out of 5 stars Well crafted and engaging, a great read.
Totally engaging, I nearly didn't buy this book having read the reviews, this is an historical fiction based in Holland, contains mystery, intense relationships, a fascinating fast... Read more
Published 15 hours ago by Mumsy
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