The Miniaturist Review

Monday, 15 June 2015

I finally finished The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton. It took me from the 27th April to the 9th June which I know is way too long. Anyway, this is my spoiler-free review.

I don't have the book with me at the moment; so this image will have to do 


The Miniaturist follows an eighteen year old girl Petronella Oortman who through an arranged marriage, becomes the wife of mysterious and enigmatic Johannes Brandt. She is thrust into a house where secrets are the currency. Her new husband is constantly vacant, her sister-in-law all too present. When her husband gifts her with a cabinet that contains an exact miniature replica of the house she has moved to, she encounters the miniaturist and her life begins to change…


I had no idea what this novel was about before I began it. It seemed to have quite a lot of hype surrounding it but I went into it with an open mind. This novel was a slow burner. It took me so long for my interest to be sparked. I could tell from the offset that this was a beautifully written novel, which is a very important factor. However, this novel didn’t grab me straight away. I had the odd feeling of reading this novel, but not being all that interested in it.

A little way in I finally got interested. I don't think this was so much the story as it was for Nella. I found her to be quite an endearing character. I was pulled into this character and couldn't help but sympathise and care for her. The rest of the characters do not seem as in-depth as Nella and I found them to be somewhat lacking. Because this is a spoiler-free review I won't go into detail as to why but I felt parts of secondary characters stories were rushed and underdeveloped and by the end of the novel, there was still a lot left unanswered, which can work for some novels, but in this novel I found it ended in an unsatisfying way. The novel's eponymous character is one such example of a highly interesting character whose story is pushed to the side.

It's unfortunate because I think it's clear from this novel that Burton possesses talent for writing but the story just didn't work for me. It is the kind of novel I can understand why some people would adore it. I found myself thinking of the Night Circus throughout. It seemed to follow a similar sort of formula, that is a slightly magical setting. I enjoyed The Miniaturist slightly more than the Night Circus. I feel that if you enjoyed the Night Circus then you would definitely enjoy this novel.


Thanks for reading!

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