Well done, Jessie. There is no two ways about it. I enjoyed this book.
What is puzzling me is how it came about that I read it. It turned up at the library one day as something that I had placed a hold on many weeks before. I had obviously read about it somewhere but I can find no trace of it in the blogs which I read regularly. So whoever it was who gave me just enough information about the book to make it enticing, I thank you.
A young country girl comes to Amsterdam as the wife of an older man. It is the 17th century and she enters an established household of husband, stern sister-in-law and a couple of servants. She comes with no secrets but with her intelligent observant mind she soon becomes aware of the atmosphere of secrets in the house. Over the course of the book the secrets slowly unravel and the bride is gradually absorbed into and becomes a trusted member of the household.
This is all set among burghers and merchants, Guilds and Church, the wharves and canals of C17th Amsterdam. There is also a slight tinge of the supernatural with a miniaturist making tiny models for a miniature house. This merely heightens the tension. But it is the people in the house who dominate.
Jessie Burton writes beautifully but much as I love my British History it is such a pleasure to get away from Kings, Queens and the aristocracy. They have been so done to death.
I prefer the stories which move away from the well documented “upper classes” and tell us stories about the remaining great majority of the people. Books like “Year of Wonders” by Geraldine Brooks and “Harvest” by Jim Grace, both about villagers dealing with unusual circumstances. And this time a young bride dealing with unusual circumstances.
Soon after i started reading I started wondering if this debut novel is on one of lists of books being considered for a prize. I feel it is worthy of being there.
This book is also a good advertisement for telling a story chronologically. None of the annoying habit of leaving a story hanging and going back in time to give us large swag of explanations instead of just dripping information into the story as needed..
I’ll say it again, Well done, Jessie I look forward to your next book.