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Girl With a Pearl Earring
Girl With a Pearl Earring
by Tracy Chevalier
Edition: Paperback

47 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Alive with Delicious Tension and Detail, 29 July 2001
Author Tracy Chevalier creates a vivid, complete world in 17th-century Delft, Holland, famous for its blue and white pottery and tiles, and home to the painter Johannes Vermeer. The book centers around the subject of one of Vermeer's most enigmatic paintings, and brings to life Griet, the fictional maid-servant of the Vermeer family.
Chevalier describes the household and Griet's life in such vivid detail that one feels one is walking the cobbled streets right next to Griet, and sharing her fears, desires and personal conflicts. Tensions build as we learn how she comes to be the subject of the painting and the denouement is not a disappointment. This novel guides you along a perfect course and the ending is as satisfying as one would hope. Five stars for subject matter, writing style and plot development!

The Lost Diaries of Frans Hals: A Novel
The Lost Diaries of Frans Hals: A Novel
by Michael Kernan
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Great concept, poor execution..., 29 Jun. 2001
Although not a new one, the concept for this book is a good one: newly discovered and possibly fraudulent information regarding the life of a dead artist. Frans Hals was not a painter well known to me, but Kernan did a good job of bringing Hals' life in 17th-century Haarlem, Netherlands into vivid detail.
However, unfortunately, the character who is charged with translating the Diaries is neither compelling, nor does he make any important discoveries about said diaries. The whole concept would have been much different if the diaries shed some light on an unknown part of the artist's life. The diaries simply contain the comings and goings of an interesting character who happened to be a famous artist.
For an easy read, this certainly hits the spot - especially if your interest lies in the art of the Dutch Masters or in the history of the Netherlands. Otherwise I would recommend "Possession" by A.S. Byatt for a book in this genre that is both better written and much more satisfying.

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