Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Girl with the Pearl Earring” as Want to Read:
The Girl with the Pearl Earring
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Girl with the Pearl Earring

3.82 of 5 stars 3.82  ·  rating details  ·  399,869 ratings  ·  6,827 reviews
Winner of the 2000 Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Award! Alex Award winner! Tracy Chevalier transports readers to a bygone time and place in this richly imagined portrait of the young woman who inspired one of Vermeer's most celebrated paintings. History and fiction merge seamlessly in this luminous novel about artistic vision and sensual awakening. Girl wit ...more
ebook, 240 pages
Published May 19th 2004 by Plume Books (first published 1999)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Girl with the Pearl Earring, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

Lieke I read the book first and was very sure then that I did not want to see the movie, because I really liked the book and did not want the movie to…moreI read the book first and was very sure then that I did not want to see the movie, because I really liked the book and did not want the movie to disappoint me. After a year or so I eventually did watch the movie and it did absolutely not disappoint me. It left some details, but helped me prepare for my literature speaking test as a refresher. However, I am glad I did watch it afterwards. The book isn't so difficult you should watch it first to understand it better. You can use your own fantasy to give the story an image.(less)
Leiden Sergeyevna My copy does not have. But maybe you can search the internet for discussion questions.
The Night Circus by Erin MorgensternThe Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own M... by Catherynne M. ValenteThe Girl with the Pearl Earring by Tracy ChevalierIn the Night Garden by Catherynne M. ValenteIn the Cities of Coin and Spice by Catherynne M. Valente
Smooth as Glass
3rd out of 49 books — 14 voters
The Girl with the Pearl Earring by Tracy ChevalierBridget Jones's Diary by Helen FieldingThe Devil Wears Prada by Lauren WeisbergerSilence of the Lambs by Thomas HarrisChocolat by Joanne Harris
books made into films
1st out of 83 books — 5 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Another one of my wife's recommendations (I read a lot of books that way), I picked it up from the bookshelf the night we came back from seeing the film with Scarlett Johansonn and Colin Firth. I loved the movie--it was just so incredibly sumptuous--and was curious to know the story in the novel, which I knew from experience, and from my wife's continuous comments, would be different, more detailed. I was right.

Chevalier has won a place in my heart and bookshelf. Her novels are well-crafted, sim
I know almost nothing about art, but even I can tell that Girl With a Pearl Earring by Johannes Vermeer is a brilliant painting; 'captivating' is probably the best word to describe it. One presumes that Chevalier agrees with me, and this is what lead her to write a novel about the painting, its subject and its creator. So, is the novel as captivating as the piece that inspired it?

The short answer would be 'no'.

Now for the longer answer...

Chevalier is probably one of the best-known historical nov
Jeffrey Keeten
“I heard voices outside our front door - a woman's, bright as polished brass, and a man's, low and dark like the wood of the table I was working on. They were the kind of voices we heard rarely in our house. I could hear rich carpets in their voices, books and pearls and fur.”

 photo Girl20With20the20Pearl20Earring_zpsmfguurj3.jpg
The Girl With the Pearl Earring

When the Vermeers came to visit Griet’s home she had no idea they were there for her. Her parents had decided, given their near destitution, to find Griet a position as a maid with a wealthy
Jason Koivu

The popular fame obtained by this book and its subsequent movie version starring Scarlett Johansson...

*two hours later*

(Sorry, I was daydreaming)...had me expecting a tumultuous romance, a grab-ya and hold-ya reading experience. But this...I don't know what this was, but it wasn't exciting in the least.

Girl With a Pearl Earring is about a maid, who becomes a model, who gets her picture painted and attracts the notice of a few men. The painter is famous, so tha
So the parts when Vermeer was actually being a painter were interesting. Seeing as I slogged through this on account of a recommendation that arose from an art-class lecture on Vermeer, I was hoping that the art stuff would at least deliver.

But it's not a good sign when a book's most compelling moments revolve around two people grinding pigments. And, no: "Grinding pigments" is not a euphemism for artist-bangin'. It is, quite literally, referring to the detailed descriptions of how paint was ma
I wrote a paper on artistic expression using Girl with a Pearl Earring as a source, since it is a painting, a movie, and a book. It provided me fascinating fodder, a really good read, and a good grade on my paper. This is a wonderful study in repression and tiny details. There are some beautiful passages. I absolutely love the study done of the character of Vermeer. At one point, a character tells Griet (the imagined Girl with a Pearl Earring) to be careful, since Vermeer does not see her, but r ...more
This book features one of my favorite book heroines of all time. Griet is competent, intelligent and observant. She possesses the laudable ability to maneuver 17th century Delft in a shrewd and practical manner while still retaining her love of art; finding beauty in even mundane things.

Griet has a first-rate mind, concealed in the body of - essentially - a peasant. This poor maid is the only person who truly understands Vermeer's work. The relationship she develops with the painter is satisfyin
I've been hearing good things about this book for years. WHAT IS YOUR PROBLEM, everyone I know?? I found the prose artificially concise (as if she had purposely limited her vocabulary by a factor of ten, or as if the narrator was Dutch but just learning English), the characters completely flat and unbelievable, and the rise in drama both ill-explained and uninteresting. I did not like or feel compassionate toward a single character, I didn't feel any catharsis about ANYTHING, and I understood na ...more
Girl with a Pearl Earring

Tracy Chevalier

Plume, 2001

The “Girl with a Pearl Earring” is a painting done by Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer, around 1665. Not much is known about Vermeer which gives Chevalier creative license to develop what I believe is an interesting story. The painting is currently on exhibition in New York, at the Frick Collection. The exhibition is scheduled to be there until January 19, 2014.

The story told in first person by Griet the protagonist starts in Delft (South Holland)
I loved this. I don't say that often enough about a book. I was impressed with the writing, completely invested in the story and pleased with the ending. It's not easy to tick all those boxes, especially in a relatively short story. What more can I say.
I enjoyed this book. The story is subtle making it the perfect example that less is more in a story.

Some of my thoughts as I read:
1. The society of the time classified everyone as a "have" or a "have not". For a girl who was in between it was a matter of time before she was forced to one side or the other. She never fit in either world.
2. Clearly this girl had a raw, undeveloped talent for art. Had she lived in a different century would she have been the artist instead of the muse? Her role w
Love this story, love Vermeer's work. Over 2 years a quiet and obedient maid named Griet goes to live as a servant for Johannes Vermeer and his family. It is hard for Griet not to like this good and obedient protagonist, for she struggles with universal yearnings such as love and an escape from poverty. Her life is a fairly solitary one as she finds herself growing apart from her family while living as an outsider in another's home. The Vermeer family, with the exception of the painter himself, ...more
Crystal Starr Light
Gorgeous painting, deeper appreciation of art; mediocre, annoying book

This is a book that fictionalizes what might have been behind the famous Vermeer painting, "Girl with a Pearl Earring". Griet's family is destitute, and now she must work as a maid in the Vermeer household, cleaning up the famous painter's workstation. Slowly, she grows more interested in her master, and her master in her.

I am not what you would call an artsy person. I make an effort to decorate my home nicely, I can pick out
I don't know if it has to do with my vacation days or the fact that I really, but really enjoyed reading this novel, but is was almost impossible to put it down, even though I'm not a big fan of historical fiction and I've watched the film 2 times already. Speaking of it, I'm sure there were many details left out, it's hard now to tell which, but it was definitely an advantage to put a face on the characters.

My interest in art over the years was quite inconsistent and I started by liking the mod
Most of us know the painting, if not by name, but by sight at least. You might have even watched the movie starring Colin Firth (!!) and Scarlett Johanssen. Many of us might have heard of Johannes Vermeer, the artist behind this painting. But have you ever wondered, who is the girl in the painting? What is her story? What lies behind that indecipherable expression?

Ever since I read The Birth of Venus by Sarah Dunant, I have loved books which involve art and artists. I don't claim to have much kn
My favorite reading genre's are historical fiction, art and art history, and romance; well, this book has all of these elements which made it a treat for me. I have read most of Tracy Chevalier's work so I appreciate her ability to craft a good story. After his death Vermeer and even his paintings fell into obscurity for two centuries, so Chevalier had a free hand to paint the fictional picture of the artist and the story surrounding the painting, The Girl With a Pearl Earring. She did so beauti ...more
A real gem of a book, short and easy but so rich and colourful. While not a great deal happens throughout the book there is a constant feeling of tension building and the language is beautiful. The Reader is transported perfectly to 17th Century Delft. The background to the paintings sends you running off to google for a closer look even if youre not an art fiend.
Are you suffering from insomnia?


Well, try picking up this book. It should put you to sleep in 10minutes flat.

The story about the most boring people in the world, told by a girl who has the most boring thoughts and ideas in history. Even while getting groped in the alley, she thinks of the clouds! I mean really!!!

At times, I liked some of the description used, but at others it was so wrong I wanted to poke my eyes out and burn the book.

Characterisation does not seem to be something Tracy is
Finished: Excellent writing. Each character was portrayed with depth. I kept thinking that I should quote this line or that, but this was impossible without giving spoilers. You must read the book to get into each of these characters and to submerge yourself into their lives. The book is not only about thes principal characters but also about what motivates an artist to create. Who is an artist? Isn't it someone who simply cannot stop himself from painting, or playing music, or sculpting shapes, ...more
Αυτό το βιβλίο είναι κατάλληλο για όσους αγαπάνε τα ιστορικά μυθιστορήματα, τις πολλές πολλές περιγραφές στην αφήγηση και την ζωγραφική, ειδικά την τέχνη του Βερμέερ. Γραμμένο σε πρώτο πρόσωπο από την οπτική γωνία της ηρωίδας, που όπως είπα γίνεται με μια περιγραφική αφήγηση. Μιλά πολύ για τα τοπία, τους ανθρώπους, τη ζωή στην προτεσταντική Ολλανδία του 17ου αιώνα και φυσικά για τη ζωγραφική. Αυτά είναι τα καλά. Αυτό που δεν με κέρδισε είναι οι ήρωες, είναι πολύ ήπιοι και αθόρυβοι σαν χαρακτήρες ...more
Sharon Robards
I hate the star system, and it’s books like this that make it so. I was torn between giving 4 (for a slight irritation with it) and 6 (for its brilliance). Fortunately, half way between the two is five. I loved it.

Being someone who has dabbled in painting and constantly seeks to understand emotions, this book does well to provide a little insight into the process of painting and the complexities of life, especially the layering of paint and complexities with capturing light and colour of subject
Piccolo aneddoto familiare di introduzione alla lettura de 'La ragazza con l'orecchino di perla'.
Qualche tempo fa, su Sky Cinema andava ininterrotto in programmazione un film dall'enigmatico titolo, appunto quello del libro in questione (film e libro omonimi) e mia sorella rimaneva lì a guardarlo per tutte le ore ininterrotte. Da poco, sono passati quasi due anni da questa ipnosi cinematografica, ho chiesto a mia sorella che cosa abbia pensato del film che tanto intensamente guardava, aspettan
I'm tempted to give this one 5 stars. Excellent historical fiction. Great characters surrounding an interesting story. Longer review to come. (I'm glad Cornelia got slapped again in the end. Perfect.)
Robert Beveridge
Tracy Chevalier, Girl with a Pearl Earring (Dutton, 1999)

To date, I've read only one bad review of this slight novel, and a whole lot of excellent ones. I'm casting my vote on the excellent side. Chevalier took one of Vermeer's best-known and most enigmatic paintings and built a story around it (there are a series of these novels; Joyce Carol Oates' I Lock My Door Upon Myself is the only other one I've read, and it is similarly excellent). Griet, a sixteen-year-old from the Protestant side of th
Lance Charnes
A simple teenaged girl from a poor family is forced into service in a more prosperous 17th-Century Delft household. Other than the Dutch setting, this could be the start of a Dickensian tale of working-class woe or yet another BBC soap opera about the downstairs help. But instead of a grasping capitalist, historical fiction writer Tracy Chevalier made the master of the house one Johannes Vermeer, one of the greatest Dutch Golden Age artists. This leads the story in a very different -- and welcom ...more
Giorgia Penzo
Delicato come una pennellata, intenso come il blu oltremare. L’arte e la narrazione di mescolano come olio e pigmenti, rivelando mille sfumature: i quadri di Vermeer prendono vita, si rivelano, diventano i personaggi di contorno alla protagonista.
Visto le poche informazioni che abbiamo sulla vita del pittore, questa è una bellissima leggenda a cui è un piacere credere.

La storia della nascita del quadro più famoso di Vermeer ci viene raccontata dalla sua modella.
Siamo nel 1664. Griet è una giovan

"Ora avevo capito.
"Sì. Non muoverti." Aveva incominciato a farmi il ritratto."

Suggestivo. È l'unico modo che ho per descriverlo. Suggestivo ma, forse, un po' incompleto. Tenterò di spiegarmi meglio: il quadro prende forma sotto i tuoi occhi. Vermeer è lì nel suo atelier; davanti a lui cavalletto e colori, Griet e i suoi occhi grandi, indagatori, rassegnati. Passano i mesi e il quadro muta e muta di nuovo, fino a raggiungere la perfezione. Vermeer posa il pennello; i colori vengono relegati
I had to persevere in order to make it through Tracy Chevalier's Girl With a Pearl Earring. In spite of all the reviews on the back cover lauding this as a literary gem, a literary jewel, and a dazzling novel, I was pretty sure it was "just" a romance novel.

My romance credentials are these: although I have never read a romance novel, I have seen the covers of romance novels. And I've also listened to people I know discuss romance novels. So with that it mind...

It struck me as cheesy in a Fabio r
This is the story of Griet - a maid in 1600's Delft Holland and the imagined subject of Vermeer's famous painting. I really enjoyed this book. I love thinking that Chevalier was looking at this painting and thought - What is this story? Who is this girl? The stunted writer in me thinks this would be a really fun writing exercise.

I really have to give Chevalier credit. This book was easy to read and very engaging. I am a fan.

On a side note - the movie made from this (with Scarlett Johansonn and
Phew, that was a painfully "long" book. Clocking just over 200 pages, this damn thing was one of the most boring books I read to date. I guess it's not that it is boring, it's just that I grew tired of Griet doing things like washing clothes, cleaning the house, folding laundry, fetching meat at the Meat Hall, having pointless arguments/confrontations with the rest of the family members, being shy yet quite smart, and crying because someone wants to draw you. Oh wait, no, it was boring.

You also
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
The Book Was Better: GIRL WITH A PEARL EARRING 7 57 Feb 02, 2015 08:52AM  
Hopeful Wanderers: Girl with a Pearl Earring 2 4 Jan 30, 2015 11:25PM  
2015 Reading Chal...: Girl With a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier 2 21 Jan 18, 2015 10:53AM  
Goodreads Librari...: Book Covers - Question 2 4 15 Jan 12, 2015 01:04PM  
Retro Chapter Chi...: August 2014: Girl with a Pearl Earring 21 17 Sep 14, 2014 08:35PM  
  • The Passion of Artemisia
  • Tales of Passion, Tales of Woe (Josephine Bonaparte, #2)
  • The Birth of Venus
  • The Bonesetter's Daughter
  • Marrying Mozart
  • The Painted Kiss
  • Year of Wonders
  • The King's Favorite: A Novel of Nell Gwyn and King Charles II
  • Restoration
  • Artemisia
  • The Queen's Fool (The Tudor Court, #5)
  • Falls the Shadow  (Welsh Princes, #2)
  • Portrait of an Unknown Woman
  • The Last Nude
  • To Lie with Lions (The House of Niccolo, #6)
  • Lust for Life
  • A Thread of Grace
  • Slammerkin
19 October 1962 in Washington, DC. Youngest of 3 children. Father was a photographer for The Washington Post.

Nerdy. Spent a lot of time lying on my bed reading. Favorite authors back then: Laura Ingalls Wilder, Madeleine L’Engle, Zilpha Keatley Snyder, Joan Aiken, Susan Cooper, Lloyd Alexander. Book I would have taken to a desert island: Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery.

More about Tracy Chevalier...

Share This Book

“He saw things in a way that others did not, so that a city I had lived in all my life seemed a different place, so that a woman became beautiful with the light on her face.” 157 likes
“You're so calm and quiet, you never say. But there are things inside you. I see them sometimes, hiding in your eyes.” 94 likes
More quotes…