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The Miniaturist by [Burton, Jessie]
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The Miniaturist Kindle Edition

4.1 out of 5 stars 2,639 customer reviews

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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: 1411 KB
  • Print Length: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Picador; Main Market Ed. edition (3 July 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00HW7IPEW
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars 2,639 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #501 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
I put off reading The Miniaturist because it was so wildly successful upon its release and I hate going into a book on a wave of hype - I am so often then underwhelmed! Set in 1680s Amsterdam, the novel explores the hidden secrets of a wealthy merchant family as they are uncovered through a series of unexpected parcels.

For me, The Miniaturist read as two parallel books which never quite came satisfactorily together. On one hand, the historical novel of the Brandt family is wonderfully researched and portrayed and I loved picturing the vibrant trading city. We have visited Amsterdam ourselves, in midwinter, so I could remember the pretty canals and the bitter, damp cold! Burton does a great job of describing the people, their clothing and food. Especially the food! I was reminded of my hunger while reading Julie Lawford's Singled Out and The Temporary Bride by Jennifer Klinec. The Brandt household's diverse characters sit well together although events do get rather over-melodramatic at the painting-ripping point.

The alternate storyline is that of the eponymous Miniaturist, a model maker employed by new Brandt wife Nella to furnish the lavish doll's house that was her wedding gift. As well as the ordered items, Nella receives others that confuse her. However, as she begins to understand what is really going on in her husband's house, the extra items become scarily prophetic. I liked the idea of the doll's house and the descriptions of its tiny rooms and furnishings. The possibly magical element didn't really fit for me though and I think the novel could have been just as intriguing without this plot device.

The repressive religious beliefs of 17th century Amsterdam compete with its inhabitants' greed for guilders showing everyone to be a hypocrite to some degree.
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Format: Paperback
This was a much hyped book. In my temporary Christmas job at Waterstone's I was told to push it at every customer who came to the till. Is it worthy of such hype? Not exactly. It is a beautifully presented hardback; the ideal Christmas gift.

The novel is a sweet and light confection like the delights one finds in the bakers of Amsterdam. The story is set in the seventeenth century. Nella, just eighteen, arrives from the country to marry a rich Amsterdam merchant, Johaness, who ignores her completely. The household consists of Johaness' bitter and cold sister, Marin, a female servant and a black manservant, Otto, from the tropics. Nella is given a dollhouse to amuse herself. The mysterious miniaturist sends pieces to fill the dollhouse whose fashioning suggests a rather too intimate knowledge with the goings on of the house. Nella becomes intrigued and endeavours to find out the identity of the miniaturist. Johanness' dark secret is revealed to all and tragedy befalls the household.

The book is delicately written, Nella is a likeable and relatable heroine and the characters are well drawn, However, I couldn't help feeling that something was missing. The historical details of seventeenth century Amsterdam were fascinating and this was the main interest of the book to me. More could have been made of this. The story had the feel of a Victorian melodrama and was perhaps too flimsy a tale for the hype the book received. I yearned for more depth. The novel felt slow to start but did involve me in the maelstrom from the middle onwards.

Worth reading but I am puzzled by the five star reviews and glowing publicity.
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By Wynne Kelly TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 12 Oct. 2014
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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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I didn't believe in the characters. Everyone spoke using the same voice, regardless of their gender or social status, and their behaviour unfolded in ways which didn't make sense. One minute a character is nervous and provincial, feeling out of her depth; the next she is asserting herself and challenging people without, apparently, a second thought. One character passionately kisses another in the middle of a violent scene, for no obvious reason, and it is not questioned by anybody, nor ever mentioned again. The act, and the other character's reaction to it, made no sense.

I didn't believe in the relationships. One minute a character is so shocked and repulsed they take to their bed for days; the next minute they accept it and carry like nothing happened, defending them unconditionally against other people who are shocked and repulsed. Nella and Johanne's relationship develops and matures despite them spending hardly any time together. There is a big plot twist involving a secret relationship despite there being barely any interaction between those characters.

I didn't believe in the plot. Even ignoring the supernatural/miniaturist side show, the plot seemed anachronistic and unlikely.

Worse, I didn't care about the plot. The pace was so slow and repetitive. I felt bored every time Nella set off for the miniaturist's house because it was so obvious that something would happen to stop her reaching it, or if she did there would be no reply. There wasn't any sense of anticipation about it because I didn't believe anything interesting would happen even if she did make contact with her. The twists were predictable. I didn't see the point of the miniaturist. The existence of the cabinet house and the miniaturist didn't add anything to the story.
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