It’s time for another book review!
I finally finished The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton, which wasn’t by any means a long book, but just goes to show the difference in time I can dedicate to reading on a weekend versus a weekday.
I will not divulge any spoilers in this review, but there will be a few vague details in order to emphasize my opinion; this is simply a forewarning!
The Miniaturist was an easy read. The story is written in a logical and enjoyable format that allows you to slide through chapters without difficulty and makes you want to continue reading. It’s about a woman named Nella (Petronella) who is married off to a man in Amsterdam. In her loneliness in a new city (a religious one, at that) with a new family, her husband gifts her a cabinet which is a replica of her house. She then proceeds to reach out to a miniaturist to start furnishing this house, and many secrets about the family are revealed in the process.
Firstly, this book was one that I wanted to finish. Each chapter had me interested enough that I desired continuing the story. Burton didn’t have me gripped, but certainly had my attention. But there were too many issues I had with this book to say that I loved it or would recommend it to someone else.
Firstly, we are living in a mega-Calvinist Amsterdam in 1665 and a woman is allowed to walk around, converse and do business on her own? Poppycock.
Secondly, this plot was so predictable! At no point was I like, “Oh my gosh!” by the least. I knew exactly what was coming, I knew exactly what to expect, and nothing surprised me. I was really disappointed by that. In my opinion, that’s poor character development, which is so sad considering how interesting each of the characters were.
Third (and a slight spoiler), why should I care about the Miniaturist’s name? Why is that important? What is the significance? Yeah, wow, I get the “coincidence”, but truly, who cares? How does it add to the plot? I really didn’t understand the Miniaturists’ “deal” and don’t truly understand why they know what they know, by the end of the book. It’s like Burton didn’t know how to explain it either, so “poof”… let’s just forget it and say goodbye. What? WHY!?
Not to mention, each of the “big things” in the book were so anti-climactic. I found the writing was poor when it came to preparing the reader for something exciting. It would start with a character screaming, “Come quick!” and then roll slowly into an unexciting description that has the reader going, “Oh, that happened, okay…”
Also, the description of the baby being born made me want to vomit. No thanks! Let’s give a trigger warning before that nonsense!
I was so excited to read this book because, firstly, the cover is all kinds of beautiful, and secondly, so many Instagrammers raved about it. I’m starting to think that me and Bookstagrammers aren’t reading the same books. I’m going to go by gut-reads from now on, and maybe avoid these suggestions… haha!
Pros: Easy to read, keeps the reader’s attention, interesting characters
Cons: Inaccurate for the time period, predictable, anti-climactic, no real resolution
I wouldn’t tell people not to read the book, it just wouldn’t be my first recommendation to them. It would be one of those books that I suggest if they have nothing else to read.
Did you read the Miniaturist? What are your thoughts about it? Let me know in the comments!