I was at Barnes and Noble the other day, picking up a few volumes in their classics series for a friend’s Christmas gift and just generally looking around, because of course you spend a while just wandering around a bookstore. It’s a requirement.
I’d been eyeing Jessie Burton’s debut novel, The Miniaturist for a while, intruiged by the synopsis of a young woman, Nella, who marries into a wealthy Dutch family. Nella’s new husband gives her a miniature version of their house and so she hires a miniaturist to furnish the tiny house. Through him, the family’s mysteries are opened up to Nella.
It’s a period novel with art as the centerpiece. I like books like that. I loved Girl with the Pearl Earring, so diving back into late early modern Dutch culture sounded…. not fun, persay, but interesting. Especially after I was disappointed AGAIN when I was unable to see the Dutch masters at the National Gallery the last time I was in London. (the first time I was there, the Renaissance wing was closed for renovations. This time it was open, but a lot of the rooms had been closed for the day).
I’m about forty pages in, and loving it so far. Not the characters, to be sure. At least, not Marin. She is hard-edged and disapproving, but I don’t think we’re supposed to like her. Maybe I will later, but right now, I don’t. Nella right now, is a fearful little sparrow, but she could very well spread her little wings and take flight.
It’s written in the present tense. A lot of books are written like that lately, which feels a little weird in the beginning, but a few pages in I don’t even notice. The writing itself is lovely and very much rooted in the time period and the culture. I’m looking forward to finishing this book and picking apart the mysteries of this family.