Although I had heard some very good things about this book I was unsure if I was going to take to it; a period novel set in Amsterdam about Nella, newly married to a successful trader…
What I found was a page-turning, beautifully written, and intricately crafted gem. It was the miniature furniture and the dolls house that drew me in (reminiscent maybe in some small way of The Borrowers?) and it certainly does draw you into to details of late 17th-century life.
I find it hard to talk much about this book without giving away spoilers, but suffice it to say that we quickly discover that the marriage that Nella finds herself in is not the marriage that either she nor we are expecting. Like with a good thriller, we know that something shocking is going to happen, but I think we are all shocked by what does happen, and then the surprises keep on coming, as do the gifts from the mysterious Miniaturist of the title, and the gifts that they send to Nella that seem to echo and foreshadow events with unnerving regularlity.
This is a fine, if curious book, all the more startling for it being Jessie Burton’s debut novel. I shall look out for the next.