National Book Awards: New Writer of the Year 2014
Waterstones Book of the Year 2014
There is nothing hidden that will not be revealed...
On an autumn day in 1686, eighteen-year-old Nella Oortman knocks at the door of a grand house in the wealthiest quarter of Amsterdam. She has come from the country to begin a new life as the wife of illustrious merchant trader Johannes Brandt, but instead she is met by his sharp-tongued sister, Marin. Only later does Johannes appear and present her with an extraordinary wedding gift: a cabinet-sized replica of their home. It is to be furnished by an elusive miniaturist, whose tiny creations mirror their real-life counterparts in unexpected ways. Nella is at first mystified by the closed world of the Brandt household, but as she uncovers its secrets she realizes the escalating dangers that await them all. Does the miniaturist hold their fate in her hands? And will she be the key to their salvation or the architect of their downfall? Beautiful, intoxicating and filled with heart-pounding suspense, The Miniaturist is a magnificent story of love and obsession, betrayal and retribution, appearance and truth.
Jessie Burton was born in 1982. She studied at Oxford University and the Central School of Speech and Drama, and has worked as an actress and a PA in the City. She now lives in south-east London, not far from where she grew up.
©2014 Jessie Burton (P)2014 Audible Studios
There are no listener reviews for this title yet.
The storyline is written in quasi fairy tale mode.
The hidden mysteries in a young marriage.
Beautifully read by the author Jessie Burton so that it is heard as the author intended.
Much more than a dolls house.
Charming. Could not put it down.
"Poor narration spoils the story"
An actor rather than the author reading it. Sorry Jessie, you may know all your characters inside out but you failed to bring them to life.
By the last chapter you realise that no satisfactory resolution could be contrived in so short a space. Maybe the author intends a sequel but that's deceiving the reader/listener and it is disappointing to get to the end of a book and find the story unfinished.
That's difficult as there aren't too many in it anyway. I found the miniaturist the oddest character. Her part in the story borders on the supernatural and we are no nearer to knowing or understanding her by the end except for the vague explanation that she was unusual in her thoughts and talented in her craft.
The story displays too many modern attitudes. I do expect historical accuracy in historical fiction other wise it's just a story in costume. There are too many unexplained happenings leaving too many threads left dangling.
"A promising premise but something is missing"
I had high hopes on reading the blurb for this novel that it would be a historical novel of substance with a really engaging story. Unfortunately most of the characters are irritating and the main hook of the story - the mysterious miniaturist - is never adequately explained. I would have liked this character in particular to have been given more attention.
I was surprised that the story ended where it did and would have appreciated a few more chapters as it felt that several strands of storyline were unfinished.
Earnest but grating.
The ending left me feeling that the book was really an introduction to a future novel. There are too many unanswered questions for this to be a stand-alone novel.
While I was disappointed with the overall story, I did learn more about this period of Amsterdam history.
"too much information whilst lacking a resolution"
Frustrating. The ending lacked any form of satisfactory resolution . Too many questions left unaswered and for this man too much gynaelogical information . The male characters seem very pallid although the historical datail was ok . The miniaturist whilst mysterious was far too nebuleous and one was left wondering whether the author was saving plot for a sequel. If so I probably shant be buying it
To my women friends possibly, to my male friends probably not.
The narrator/author told the tale in a very ( overly) soulful way . Too droopy for my palate. From preference i would not listen to her again
Write my first book review. Just had to. Doing my grumpy old man thing
"Interesting and Original"
A quirky tale and a great, old fashioned story.
Sadly the author chose to read it herself. She's not a bad speaker but a professional would have really enhanced the story and made it a real pleasure. I nearly didnt continue with the book after a few minutes because of this, but I'm glad that I persisted.
"Utterly absorbing.....until the ending."
I couldn't "put this down" (audio) and loved the atmosphere of mystery and suspense that the writer immediately invoked, also the mental image of 17th century Amsterdam that Jessie Burton cleverly conjured up.
But I didn't really understand the ending, and it didn't seem to suit the rest of the story. So I listened to the last chapter again...and again..... I must be missing something and perhaps need to join a book club. Still, this review is for a good listen: it's rare that a writer can read their work as well, but JB's voice is magical and compelling, so in that respect 5 stars.
"Very interesting but..."
I found the story fascinating as an interesting description of life in the 1600 Holland and in the description of the characters. However I would have liked to know more about the miniaturist and the effect of her work on the life of the people she touched. I felt that that side of the story was underdeveloped and almost not related to the main plot.
"Thought provoking book."
A thought provoking book which casts an interestingly spectre on a complex period of history. Characters are well drawn and the use of language impressive. I found the narration flat, and felt it hindered the pace of the book, making it hard work. Overall an interesting purchase but not a great one.
No favourite characters, rather a series of portraits of people whose circumstances, politics and economics, religion and cultures and are of a time where the world was fast changing, and prejudice and ignorance created terror for many.
I found the narration flat and rather grating I am afraid.
Thought provoking, and with resonances for aspects of our world today.
"A beautifully crafted world"
Yes. Having thoroughly enjoyed listening to The Miniaturist, I bought the printed version for a friend and was highly impressed by the look and feel of the hardback copy. The cover was beautifully designed and the smell of fresh ink on the pages was intoxicating. For me however, these things could not compare to the joy of hearing the author read her own story to me as I either went about my work or rested my eyes.
For me, Marin was the most compelling character. With her guarded behaviour and insular attitude, she really brings a mysterious and antagonistic presence to the story.
This is the first time I have heard Jessie Burton narrate an audiobook but must say I respect the time and effort she has devoted to the development of the audio version of her novel. I have a lot of respect for authors who take the time to narrate their own work.
Yes. Having immersed myself in the vivid world portrayed by the author, I couldn't stop listening. I am certainly no expert on 17th century Amsterdam but I appreciate all the small details the author has added to the setting and characters to bring the story to life.
Despite leaving me a little confused, The Miniaturist has been by far my favourite listen of 2014.
More detailed characterisation of several of the key players; better Editing and Publisher guidance.
No. Jessie has given me an interest in finding other books about Holland during this time period.
I felt the characters were clear in the main, but several of the key players were 2D cardboard cut-outs that meant I really didn't have an affinity with them when I should have done.
It had the potential to be an absolutely superb book, totally unique, that would have you spellbound and rivetted to every page. But it did not achieve it's potential and this is why I felt the author has been let down by her Editor and Publisher.
I felt like I was reading the first draft of an author's idea that was being submitted to a Publishing house for approval and then further detailed work-up. To me, this had SO much potential that wasn't achieved. Even the potential to be a true classic novel. Hence, why I feel Jessie has been let down by her Editor/Publisher.
Firstly, staying in the primary character (Nilla) for the entirety of the story made other characters 2-dimensional or even 1-dimensional. I felt like I was listening to a friend telling an interesting story over coffee about people I didn't know and therefore never really cared about, even though many of the stories were traumatic. I felt the story could have been enhanced SO much by moving to the other characters and exploring their points of view/feelings.
Secondly, there was so much tension, emotion that wasn't explored or brought out - the miniaturist and what was happening could have raised feelings of absolute terror, and yet I didn't even really know (or care) who the character was or their motives. What is more terrifying than having someone know the most intimate details of your life when that shouldn't be possible? The fact that the sugar owner's wife (who's name I can't remember) also started to experience the same things from the miniaturist could have really brought a great deal of tension and atmosphere to the story, but it didn't. Even the oppression within the community at the time (no gingerbreads/effigies to be made in human form, etc) could also have brought a tremendous threat-atmosphere to the book, but also didn't.
When Johannes' character was revealed I, at first, had an 'oh, please!' moment fearing this was going to resolve with the old cliche, but was very relieved when Jessie stuck by his true character. However, so much opportunity was missed: how did this feel from his perspective? His story should have had me pulling off the road and sitting wide-eyed and open mouthed as to what would happen next - particularly at the beautifully described conclusion - but it didn't.
I hope very much this will be made into a film as this would require the characters to be brought out. If that happened, I feel this would sit alongside the likes of 'Perfume: the story of a murderer' (Patrick Suskind).
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