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The Miniaturist | [Jessie Burton]

The Miniaturist

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.7 (7 )
5 star
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4.0 (6 )
5 star
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Story
3.8 (5 )
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Performance


There are no listener reviews for this title yet.

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  • Anne
    7/12/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Enchanting"
    What did you like most about The Miniaturist?

    The storyline is written in quasi fairy tale mode.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The hidden mysteries in a young marriage.


    What does Jessie Burton bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

    Beautifully read by the author Jessie Burton so that it is heard as the author intended.


    If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    Much more than a dolls house.


    Any additional comments?

    Charming. Could not put it down.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • J
    9/17/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Poor narration spoils the story"
    What would have made The Miniaturist better?

    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.


    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    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.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Jessie Burton’s performances?

    Definitely not.


    What character would you cut from The Miniaturist?

    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.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • missreader
    Scotland
    8/31/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A promising premise but something is missing"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    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.


    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    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.


    What three words best describe Jessie Burton’s performance?

    Earnest but grating.


    Do you think The Miniaturist needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    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.


    Any additional comments?

    While I was disappointed with the overall story, I did learn more about this period of Amsterdam history.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Mr. J. C. Sutton
    uk
    9/6/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "too much information whilst lacking a resolution"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    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


    Would you recommend The Miniaturist to your friends? Why or why not?

    To my women friends possibly, to my male friends probably not.


    Would you listen to another book narrated by Jessie Burton?

    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


    Did The Miniaturist inspire you to do anything?

    Write my first book review. Just had to. Doing my grumpy old man thing


    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Rebecca
    9/16/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Interesting and Original"
    What did you like best about this story?

    A quirky tale and a great, old fashioned story.


    How could the performance have been better?

    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.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Patricia White
    Kendal
    8/27/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • RGH
    Spain
    8/25/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Very interesting but..."
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Miniaturist to be better than the print version?

    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.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Chrissie
    8/2/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Thought provoking book."
    What made the experience of listening to The Miniaturist the most enjoyable?

    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.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    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.


    What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

    I found the narration flat and rather grating I am afraid.


    Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Thought provoking, and with resonances for aspects of our world today.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • MICHAEL
    12/11/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A beautifully crafted world"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Miniaturist to be better than the print version?

    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.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    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.


    Have you listened to any of Jessie Burton’s other performances? How does this one compare?

    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.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    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.


    Any additional comments?

    Despite leaving me a little confused, The Miniaturist has been by far my favourite listen of 2014.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • E. A. Williams
    England
    12/11/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Errrrmmmm ...."
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    More detailed characterisation of several of the key players; better Editing and Publisher guidance.


    Has The Miniaturist put you off other books in this genre?

    No. Jessie has given me an interest in finding other books about Holland during this time period.


    Did Jessie Burton do a good job differentiating each of the characters? How?

    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.


    You didn’t love this book--but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    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.


    Any additional comments?

    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).

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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