The MiniaturistBook - 2014
Engaging a miniaturist to furnish a cabinet-sized replica of her home, Nella, the wife of a merchant in seventeenth-century Amsterdam, discovers that the artist's tiny creations mirror their real-life counterparts in eerie and unexpected ways.
Now a television miniseries, as seen on Masterpiece on PBS
Set in seventeenth century Amsterdam—a city ruled by glittering wealth and oppressive religion—a masterful debut steeped in atmosphere and shimmering with mystery, in the tradition of Emma Donoghue, Sarah Waters, and Sarah Dunant.
”There is nothing hidden that will not be revealed . . .“
On a brisk autumn day in 1686, eighteen-year-old Nella Oortman arrives in Amsterdam to begin a new life as the wife of illustrious merchant trader Johannes Brandt. But her new home, while splendorous, is not welcoming. Johannes is kind yet distant, always locked in his study or at his warehouse office—leaving Nella alone with his sister, the sharp-tongued and forbidding Marin.
But Nella’s world changes when Johannes presents her with an extraordinary wedding gift: a cabinet-sized replica of their home. To furnish her gift, Nella engages the services of a miniaturist—an elusive and enigmatic artist whose tiny creations mirror their real-life counterparts in eerie and unexpected ways . . .
Johannes’ gift helps Nella to pierce the closed world of the Brandt household. But as she uncovers its unusual secrets, she begins to understand—and fear—the escalating dangers that await them all. In this repressively pious society where gold is worshipped second only to God, to be different is a threat to the moral fabric of society, and not even a man as rich as Johannes is safe. Only one person seems to see the fate that awaits them. Is the miniaturist the key to their salvation . . . or the architect of their destruction?
Enchanting, beautiful, and exquisitely suspenseful, The Miniaturist is a magnificent story of love and obsession, betrayal and retribution, appearance and truth.
Engaging the services of a miniaturist to furnish a cabinet-sized replica of her new home, 18-year-old Nella Oortman, the wife of an illustrious merchant trader, soon discovers that the artist's tiny creations mirror their real-life counterparts in eerie and unexpected ways. 100,000 first printing.
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Nella escapes her dreary dead-end future in small-town Netherlands via an arranged marriage to a successful merchant in Amsterdam. She enters the household of Johannes, his sister Marin, and their servants Cornelia and Otto. The big business deal on Johannes' plate is to sell a warehouse full of sugar. He'll split the profits with his former best friend, who is very eager to get the sale in motion even though it's not the best time of year to do so. He gives her a miniature house as a wedding gift. Soon thereafter, she begins receiving exquisitely created miniatures of the members of the household and the furniture in the house. Then the gifts begin taking on something of a magical predictive quality, i.e., the miniature dog develops a smear of red on his skull, and later the dog is stabbed in the skull and dies. Johannes is distant and often absent and seems to be disinterested in Nella as a wife. Turns out he's gay, which Nella discovers when she interrupts him in flagrante. His former best friend catches him, too, and turns him in to the police. It's a crime punishable by death to be gay in 17th century Amsterdam. He is "tried" and found guilty, and executed by drowning. Meanwhile, his sister Marin has given birth out of wedlock to a daughter fathered by Otto, the black servant ("a savage") Johannes brought back from his travels to Africa. She died in childbirth. So the story ends with Nella, Cornelia, Otto, and newborn Thea living together in circumstances created primarily by Johannes and Marin -- and the society of 17th century Amsterdam.
The mystery of the miniatures and their maker was not revealed.
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