Eighteen year old Nella accepts an arranged marriage and arrives in Amsterdam to take her place as the new bride of wealthy merchant Johannes Brandt.
She finds her husband constantly busy and preoccupied with business, kind but inattentive to the point of neglect. His reserved and unbending sister, Marin continues to run the household as she always has, leaving Nella confused and lonely.
Her husband give her a Dolls’ House as a wedding present, a replica of their house in Amsterdam and she engages an elusive miniaturist to furnish it. But, the miniatures seem to mirror reality in an uncanny and frightening way. As Nella uncovers dangerous truths about their life in the repressive society of the 17th Century, she becomes desperately afraid and determined to confront the miniaturist. Are her creations warning her or influencing what happens in some mysterious way?
The miniaturist is an atmospheric read which intrigues and does hold the attention as it explores 17th century Dutch society and the themes of repression and ‘religious’ fervour.
I found some of the plot-lines a bit hard to swallow but Nella was a character that evoked empathy and mainly because of that I felt involved and wanted to read on when at times I was less than fully engaged with the story.
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