February Book of the Month: The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton
Beautifully detailed and immersed in the sensory atmosphere of 17th century Amsterdam, The Miniaturist has been the fastest selling literary debut since Fifty Shades of Grey. Like Tracy Chevalier and Rose Tremain, Jessie Burton twists historical fiction in style, crafting secrets and suspense at every turn.
Freshly-married country girl Nella arrives in her new townhouse to find a cast of strange characters: spiky sister-in-law Marin, secretive maid Cornelia and intriguing African servant Otto. Johannes, her wealthy merchant husband, takes no interest in her, apart from giving her a miniature version of their opulent home. When Nella starts to fill it with tiny replica furniture, strange packages begin to appear, and the dolls house becomes an odd crystal ball that seems to foretell the fortunes of the house and its occupants.
There is plenty of intrigue and excellent description of both the stifling religious strictures and the excessive consumption of the Dutch Golden Age. A Sunday Times Number One bestseller and voted Waterstones Book of the Year 2014, The Miniaturist is a sumptuous escape from February's dark days.
What Mumsnetters said about The Miniaturist
"Addictive reading throughout. I had to keep it at work so I would actually manage to get housework done at home." Callipiagio00
"Do you like The Girl with the Pearl Earring and Tulip Fever? (I loved both myself.) In which case I think you would love the Miniaturist." tripfiction
"I'm not usually a fan of historical or fantasy type genre, but it was very interesting and a bit different - I really liked it." Taffeta
What the critics said
"A fabulously gripping read that will appeal to fans of Girl With a Pearl Earring and The Goldfinch, but Burton is a genuinely new voice with her visceral take on sex, race and class. Burton writes great complex female characters." Observer
"Just magnificent... I loved it." Claudia Winkleman, The Arts Show
"Burton has created a complex, feminist story with a supernatural twist." Harper's Bazaar
About the author
Jessie Burton was born in London, in 1982. She studied at Oxford University and The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, and worked for nine years as an actress and a PA before The Miniaturist was published. The Miniaturist is her first novel, and will be translated into 31 other languages. Jessie was voted New Writer of the Year in the National Book Awards 2014.
Jessie has written a thoughtful piece called The Road to Publication about writing and her ambition to 'give it a go' – you can find the article here.
Q&A with Jessie Burton
We are delighted that Jessie will be joining us on Wednesday 25 February, 9-10pm to discuss The Miniaturist, her tips on writing plus much more. Please feel free to discuss the book here throughout the month (avoiding spoilers if possible) and then come and meet Jessie on the night, and ask her a question or simply tell her what you thought of the book. Look forward to seeing you on the 25th.
Picador have 50 copies of The Miniaturist to give to Mumsnetters – to claim your free copy, please fill in your details in the form below. If you're not lucky enough to bag one of those, you can always get your copy here.
Last updated: about 3 years ago