The Miniaturist

The Miniaturist

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It’s a pleasure to discover an author who wields language in striking ways, and Burton’s setting and story line are equally singular. In her enticing debut, set in 1680s Amsterdam, she counterbalances her mischievous premise with stark commentary on greed, hypocrisy, and prejudice. Already puzzled by the indifference of her new husband, merchant-trader Johannes Brandt, 18-year-old Nella feels insulted by his seemingly childish wedding gift: a pricey dollhouse whose tiny rooms replicate the decor and layout of their home. However, she grows intrigued when the furnishings she commissions from a miniaturist reveal uncannily prescient insight into their household. Full of surprises and layers of secrets, the plot gathers suspense as Nella seeks answers from the enigmatic miniaturist and tension heightens between Johannes and a business associate over unsold sugar. While Nella’s determination and colorful observations are appealing, the inscrutability of her chilly sister-in-law, Marin, deepens the sense of mystery. The interactions between these strong characters and their spirited maid, Cornelia, make this refreshingly different historical novel a standout portrayal of the wide range of women’s ingenuity. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews

Released by Ecco on Tuesday, August 26, 2014

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