This book was almost a masterpiece. Almost. I didn’t go in to it with much foreknowledge, I genuinely bought this on it’s cover (which was the special edition for Waterstones after it was named book of the year) which is beautiful – if you haven’t seen it, check it out. I was hoping for a book that was sort of a historical-magical realism and in a way it was, but not to the extent I was expecting.
We start with our protagonist, Nella, as she knocks on the door of her new home. Having recently married an Amsterdam trader, Johannes Brandt, she is hoping to be met at the door by her husband but is instead met by his sister, Marin. Marin has a bit of an attitude problem but over the course of the book she’s fleshed out and, actually, was probably my favourite character when all was said and done. Johannes wasn’t the man that Nella thought he was, or that Marin hoped he would be as a husband and over the course of the novel, we find out why. He buys his wife a cabinet; a miniature replica of their home for her to furnish and this is where the miniaturist comes in.
I was hoping for more on the miniaturist, truthfully. It felt almost like a side story rather than a titular part of the novel which was a little misleading. It was nonetheless a great aspect, but I was hoping for more focus on it. I always longed for a dolls house as a child and this just brightened my imagination; the description that Burton gave was just amazing and it did feel like it was alive. I would really like to see a story about The Miniaturist though, as in the person who makes the tiny dolls; the character was so intriguing and interesting and I’d really just love more!
I feel that the ending was disappointing. I’m so angry about what happened to Marin! I think it was very unnecessary, I’ll not lie, I grew very attached to her by the end and I was so angry I had to put the book down for a while and eat some comfort food! Was it so difficult for anyone to be happy in this book? Seriously?
So this book was a page turner, I read it in 2 days. I read 100 pages of it on a bus and took the long bus home so I didn’t have to put it down for 90 minutes! Jessie Burton can sure as hell weave a story but I feel that a little of it got a little tangled or caught up and didn’t quite reach it’s potential. Ultimately, it was damn good and I’d recommend it to anyone who likes historical fiction or even just general fiction; history didn’t come in to it much! 4/5 – it wasn’t quite perfect and I think there was a lot of unnecessary stuff that could have been replaced with something more interesting!