The Miniaturist: A Novel
Petronella is eighteen when she marries a virtual stranger. In the Fall of 1686, Nella arrives at her new home in Amsterdam, where she receives no welcome from her much-older husband, a wealthy merchant, and a cold one from her austere sister-in-law. Marin rules the house and, oddly, for an unmarried woman, has a great deal of involvement in her brother’s work. Her new life isn’t what Nella expected, including nights spent alone. The only space Nella controls is the huge dollhouse Johannes gives her, and she begins requesting items to fill it from a miniaturist she never meets, but who sends her packages containing amazingly detailed dolls and furnishings. Soon, though, the miniaturist is sending items she never requested and which unsettle her with their seeming prescience. Nella observes from a distance Johannes’ and Marin’s argument over when and how to sell a large amount of sugar for a man and wife with whom they have a history, and then she discovers a shocking secret about her husband, something that could ruin all of their lives.
The Miniaturist is an interesting story about life in a time of repression. The only drawbacks are its imposition of modern mores on that era and a not-quite-satisfactory story arc involving the title character.
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|Mystery, Crime, Thriller