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The Miniaturist

3.58  ·  Rating details ·  85,590 Ratings  ·  10,029 Reviews
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
...more
Paperback, 416 pages
Published June 2nd 2015 by Ecco (first published July 3rd 2014)
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Laci I think people get "review" and "book report" mixed up. Reviews aren't meant to be like your book report from grade school. I'm with you, that…moreI think people get "review" and "book report" mixed up. Reviews aren't meant to be like your book report from grade school. I'm with you, that irritates me too.(less)
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Community Reviews

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Lucy Bignall
I found this book very confusing and the hype of it, even more so.

For one thing, I found it very readable - very hard to put down.

On the other hand, I found the characters very unbelievable. I thought it highly unconvincing that an eighteen year old girl from the country would have had such wisdom and assurance and grown to have such acceptance and respect for Johannes as quickly as Nella did - especially as there was very little record of the two of them having much to do with each other, unti
...more
Regan
Oct 13, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-owned-read
4.5

really really beautiful. I was going to give it 4 stars but then I reread the first chapter after I finished AND IT WAS SO GOOD IN CONTEXT.
karen
I love you. I love you. From back to front, I love you.

this is an remarkably polished and transporting debut novel that has been compared to sarah waters.

which comparison alone should be enough for you to give it a shot, but i'll continue to blather on a bit in case you need more encouragement.

it takes place in amsterdam, in 1686, during that city's golden age, when it was incredibly wealthy because of its trading capabilities, but there was still a great deal of social progress to be made in t
...more
Will Byrnes
News Flash! The BBC has bought in, and will be airing a three-part series of The Miniaturist, for broadcast some time in 2017.

The death of Nella Oortman’s father left the family in difficult straits, saddled with unexpected debts and a declining standard of living. But the widow finds a suitable match for Nella, in a successful Amsterdam merchant and trader. As he travels extensively, the wedding is a quick affair, and it is a month before he will return to his home. In October of 1686, Nella a
...more
Jeffrey Keeten
Sep 15, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: the-dutch
”Behold,

as the stars of heaven for multitude….

How can I myself alone bear your cumbrance,

and your burden, and your strife?”

Deuteronomy 1:10-12


 photo PetronellaOortman_zps8077d70d.jpg
The Miniature Petronella Oortman

Petronella Oortman is barely eighteen years old in 1686 when she marries a rich merchant named Johannes Brandt and moves to his house in Amsterdam. It is unnerving to move so far away from her relatives and all the people she has known her entire life, but it is also exciting to finally escape the boredom of the country and
...more
Leah Beecher
Sep 11, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Amalia Gavea
''But words are water in Amsterdam, they flood your ears and set the rot''

When you visit the Rijksmuseum, one of the exhibits that is certain to attract your attention, is the beautiful dollhouse of Petronella Oortman, a creation of exquisite beauty. When I visited Amsterdam a few years ago, the book hadn't been published yet. Now, Jessie Burton's novel has come to add another thread in the glorious veil of mystery that surrounds this marvellous city.

We find ourselves during the 17th century i
...more
Leanne
3 stars is a difficult rating for me. When I look at the vast number of 3-starrers I've got sitting on my shelves, there is a definite divide between ones I sped through at the time but that left no lasting impression, ones that I did enjoy but just found too silly or amateur-ish to rate higher, and ones that I was highly anticipating and just failed to live up to such lofty expectations. Of any category, The Miniaturist probably falls into the latter. I had it pre-ordered back in March, read qu ...more
Bookdragon Sean
I tried to read this around six months ago and couldn’t get past the first page. I tried again a month ago and gave up after the first chapter. Finally, I tried one more time last night. I got past the first page, and the first chapter, and finished the whole damn thing in one seven hour sitting. Suffice to say, my perseverance paid off because I really liked this book.

My advice: push through the initial awkwardness of the prose.

Ok, so the phrasing of the prologue is very strange; it is enough t
...more
Helen Ροζουλί Εωσφόρος   Vernus Portitor Arcanus Ταμετούρο   Αμούν Arnum
Αυτή η ιστορία που ξεκινάει πολλα υποσχόμενη,κυρίως μας προϊδεάζει για σκοτεινά μυστικά,υπερφυσικές ικανότητες,πνιγηρες και ανομολόγητες συνομωσίες οικογενειακού και κοινωνικού πλαισίου και φυσικά για μια κρυφή σαγηνευτική απεικονηση μυστηρίου στη ζωή του Άμστερνταμ τέλη του 17ου αιώνα,καθηλωτική και γεμάτη πρωταγωνιστες που θα εξάψουν τη φαντασία μας και την αγωνία μας. Ωραία;;;;το αποτέλεσμα κατώτερο των προσδοκιών μου σε σημείο εκνευριστικό.

Σε αυτή τη χρονική περιοδο όπου στην πρωτεύουσα της
...more
Ferdy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Annet
Sep 13, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, dutch, dark, religion
Enjoyed this book, really entertaining story of 17th century Amsterdam and the adventures of Petronella, newly wed young wife of a rich merchant living at the 'Herengracht' in Amsterdam. The adventures however did not turn out what she expected...It's a rather dark and sad story, but beautifully told and beautifully characterizes Amsterdam of those times...you could feel the cold of winter and the frozen canals throug the pages... Loved it. And then there's the mystery of the miniaturist, who ke ...more
Blair
Review originally published at Learn This Phrase.

At some point within the past couple of years, I've lost the passion I used to have for historical fiction. Looking back on the historical novels I've enjoyed in recent times, I can see that they all have some element of another genre or type of book I haven't yet got sick of - the ghost story, the unreliable narrator tale, something with just a sprinkling of fantasy. There was a time when I used to specifically seek out historical novels by conte
...more
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
Final review, first posted on www.FantasyLiterature.com:

In the fall of 1686, eighteen year old Petronella (Nella), newly wed in a hastily arranged marriage, arrives on the doorstep of her husband's fine home in Amsterdam, and finds herself, like second Mrs. de Winter in Rebecca, in over her head, in a home where there are strange undercurrents and dark secrets swirling around. Her twenty-plus years older husband, Johannes Brandt, is kind but mostly absent and apparently uninterested in visiting
...more
Violet wells
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
F
Apr 11, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015, netherlands
I really enjoyed this.
B the BookAddict
Apr 06, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to B the BookAddict by: Goodreads

AMENDED REVIEW

Honestly, at pg 115, I wanted to stop reading it. I do tire of novels with a ‘Mrs Danveresque’ character. Burton is using lots of flowery turns of phrase but lacking in the story-telling department. This feels so unpolished, almost like a first draft, it lacks substance.

17th century Holland is ripe with historical detail and features but Burton has not used this to her advantage. And what are pattens? You may not know. Yes, you can Google it but should you need to? Not terribly muc
...more
Wendy Darling
May 28, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Wendy Darling by: karen brissette
3.5 stars Quite lovely in parts, but I found this strangely lacking in emotional complexity. It also bears the weight of the legacy of many other stories before it that touch on similar plot elements or themes, so that two of the three most central mysteries don't come as surprises at all. And the third? The third is left unexplained.

A bit more of a review to come.
Maxine (Booklover Catlady)
What a magnificent story! So moving and beautiful. Exceptionally written and exquisite in every single way possible. I am not normally a fan of historical fiction, but this novel swept me away in it's beauty, darkness and secrets. Tremendous.

This book is the fastest selling debut novel since 'Fifty Shades of Grey'. Eleven big name publishers battled it out for the rights to its publication. It is one of the most hyped releases of 2014 and is currently outselling J.K. Rowling. I do however think
...more
Jennifer Masterson
4.5 Stars. What a fantastic and beautifully written debut novel from Jessie Burton. The Miniaturist is about young Nella who lives in the small town of Assendelft and is married off to a much older man named Johannes Brandt who is from Amsterdam in 1686 during it's Golden Age. What Nella endures in just a few months is crazy and very sad. Nella goes and lives with Johannes, his sister Marin, and the rest of his dysfunctional household. The book deals with secrets secrets and more secrets and jus ...more
Heidi The Hippie Reader
A young woman gets married to a man she's never met. The household she enters is cold and uninviting. As a strange wedding present, her husband buys the woman a mock up of her household.

Against her wishes but wanting to please her husband, Nella hires a miniaturist to build furniture for the gift. The miniatures she receives are accurate enough to be scary. It seems that the miniaturist knows things about her life that Nella doesn't.

This is a story about secrets, trust and unexpected magic.

What
...more
Becky
Jul 11, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
In many ways this is a beautiful book, with gorgeous descriptive language that really brings the scenes in Amsterdam to life. It's rare that I find an author who can describe without over-use of adjectives. There is a lot to admire.

However ultimately I felt this book was like a series of rolling waves which never really broke - the tension seems to grow and swell, then it comes to nothing. Even the dramatic events, of which there are several, lacked impact.

I think the reason I ultimately found t
...more
Dem
Sep 17, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars.


Set in Amsterdam in the late 17th century the Miniaturist is an interesting story. We are drawn to a city of hidden opulence and religious repression.
Eighteen-year-old Nella Oortman enters a prosperous, but loveless marriage, with the merchant Johannes Brandt. When her husband presents her with a replica cabinet house Nella finds that she is living her life throughout the miniatures within the cabinet.

This is an intriguing story which I found very well written and quite dark. I had di
...more
Jeannette Nikolova
Now available on the WondrousBooks blog.

1. Cover love!
2. IS THIS HOW IT REALLY ENDED?


Let me back up here.
I stumbled upon this book and I thought the concept was interesting, even though I'm not a fan of historical books. I recently got a hold of it and I was in a hurry to read it.

Summary: Nella is a girl of almost 18 years whose father dies and she is forced to marry a rich merchant, Johannes Brandt, from Amsterdam and leave her village. Upon arrival, however, she realizes that her new husba
...more
Jan-Maat
Yes well, at first I thought the setting in seventeenth century Holland was very bold and a heroic undertaking, but then reading I thought maybe it was a sign of diffidence, a lack of confidence on the part of the author like a shy person wearing a huge hat or fancy shoes - no, don't look at me, look at my hat and shoes, don't scrutinise my sentences or my narrative - admire my lavish setting, the fabrics, the foods, the intricate details.

When one strips away the setting then I think for a story
...more
Elena May
Beautiful and well written, but the plot has some major issues.

This book’s greatest strength are the multi-dimensional, vivid, believable characters , who may not always be likeable, but are realistic and make a strong impression. Let’s start with them:

Nella: An 18-year-old girl from the countryside, coming to Amsterdam to live with her new husband, a much older wealthy merchant. She starts out as believably spoilt and naive. She dislikes Marin at first even though it’s clear there is so muc
...more
Katie Lumsden
Jan 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A thoroughly brilliant book, one of the best I've read in a long while - I loved the characters, the themes, the setting, the twists and turns of the plot, and the writing was just superb.
Lisa
This book is the fastest selling debut novel since 'Fifty Shades of Grey'. Eleven big name publishers battled it out for the rights to its publication. It is one of the most hyped releases of 2014 and is currently outselling J K Rowling. With this in mind, I came into it with fairly high expectations. I was not disappointed. It was everything I was hoping for, an intriguing mix of mystery, love, secrets, betrayal, identity and revenge, all set against the backdrop of 17th century Amsterdam.

The s
...more
Erin Clemence
Jul 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
“The Miniaturist” by Jessie Burton really took me by surprise. This historical fiction novel really pulled me in and left me guessing, with its short chapters and strong, developed characters, this novel was just as addicting as it was delightful.
In Amsterdam in 1686, Nella arrives at the doorstep of an illustrious businessman, ready and willing to take on the responsibility of being his wife. As she struggles to fit in, her husband buys her a miniature house (think, dollhouse of sorts) and Ne
...more
Rebecca Foster
With her debut novel, Burton follows in the footsteps of Sarah Waters and Tracy Chevalier, filling her seventeenth-century Amsterdam canvas with rich period detail and a suspenseful plot. The Miniaturist is flawlessly researched; like a Vermeer painting, it is rich in detail but subtle in construction.

However, the story does rather tip over into melodrama, with a trial and an unexpected pregnancy taking up much of the second half. The magical realist element, so significant to start with, is nev
...more
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1,620 followers
Jessie Burton studied at Oxford University and the Central School of Speech and Drama, where she appeared in productions of The House of Bernarda Alba, Othello, Play and Macbeth. In April 2013 her first novel, The Miniaturist, was sold at an 11-publisher auction at the London Book Fair, and went on to sell in 29 other countries around the world. It was published by Picador in the UK and Holland in ...more
More about Jessie Burton

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“Every woman is the architect of her own fortune.” 240 likes
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