As far as Historical Fiction goes, The Miniaturist is everything I would have wanted – a fabulous heroine, a whole bunch of mystery and intrigue, and...moreAs far as Historical Fiction goes, The Miniaturist is everything I would have wanted – a fabulous heroine, a whole bunch of mystery and intrigue, and a storyline that held me completely captive.
Nella is a country-girl – young, a little naive and at first very overwhelmed by life in Amsterdam. But she soon shows her true strength and determination, despite the fact that marriage isn’t all she imagined it would be, and that Amsterdam is pretty much a law unto itself. Nella takes things in her stride as much as possible, but also has a few moments of self-doubt, which all feels completely normal and fitting for the storyline without making her seem weak or stereotypical.
Although Johannes is rather distant and doesn’t appear as often as I had expected, I took a rather unexpected liking to his sister, Marin. Tough, uncompromising and yet rather mysterious, Marin’s determination really gained my admiration. I just wish there had been a little more about her past – her storyline was interesting but it felt like there was so much more to her that I didn’t find out.
There is a strong mystery element when it comes to the minaturist – who seems to have a connection to Nella and her family that is incredibly intense and more than a little creepy and I loved how it tied into the storyline so strongly. The Miniaturist also delves into the religious influences of the city during that period, which I found interesting considering the Netherlands is now one of the most religiously tolerant countries in Europe.
I absolutely adored the setting of The Miniaturist – although it was set over 300 years ago, the names of the streets of Amsterdam really connected with me because I know it quite well, and with the help of Burton’s excellent imagery, envisage Nella running from the Kaizersgracht to the Kalverstraat, and how the canals and the whole of Amsterdam feels during winter.
With strong characters, a mysterious, intense plot and a setting that was beautifully portrayed, The Miniaturist is a strong historical fiction novel, with a more unique setting and a compelling, addictive plot.(less)