The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton. Review 

I must express some confusion at how anybody at all can give this novel a less than 5* rating. 

I read a lot, last year alone I read 225 books. I read across genres, self published authors as well as traditionally published. I read good books and bad books but it is not very often that I come across a book which I truly cannot put down. 

The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton is one of those books. I started it at 10pm yesterday and read into the early hours only putting it down when my eyes were too tired to stay open any longer. It’s been a while since that happened! 

The Miniaturist is set in Amsterdam in the 1600s. Nella Oortman has arrived at her new home after being married a few weeks before to a wealthy merchant 21 years her senior. 


Nella is expecting life as a wife in the big city to be a little different than the one she finds. A husband who travels and is never at home, a servant who spies at keyholes, another servant who is the first black man Nella has ever seen. As for her husband’s sister with her dark clothes and pious attitude, she seems intent on ensuring Nella never finds happiness in her new life. 


The story takes an unexpected twist when Nella’s new husband Johannesburg gives her a dollshouse and she enlists an elusive Miniaturist to fill it. It soon becomes apparent that the Miniaturist is more than she seems and she’s not the only one. The house at the sign of the dolphin holds more secrets that Nella can ever anticipate. 


This novel is beautifully written, engaging and interesting. It explores the little known world of the Dutch past in a city now seen as liberal. Historical fiction meets mystery and intrigue to bring together a fantastic piece of fiction which will leave the reader reeling for a long time after putting it down. 

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