Book Review: The Miniaturist By Jessie Burton


Beautiful book. Set in the puritanical 17th century Amsterdam, the story gives a glimpse into life around the busy streets around the canal. The life of rich traders and their guilds. It made me want to go there!


The book paints a clear picture of the hypocrisy of people. The way life was for women then, their value in society and the restricted roles they played. It made me think about the easy accessibility of basic commodity like sugar today which was then a rare delight (considered sinful to many), about brave men who had to spend their lives on choppy waters to bring in produce of other countries to their homeland.


Amsterdam Dam Square 17th century


Stadhuis – City Hall 17th century


Golden Bend, Herengracht 1685


Herengracht 2010


Kalverstraat 1974

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

The miniaturist provides a mystery to the novel but everything about this mystery is vague. I wished there was some better explanation to the whole thing considering the miniaturist being the book tittle! Lot of background information is omitted so we cannot figure out the characters and their relationship easily. Again the ending seems unfinished, leaving you wanting for more.



Marin, a very strong character is not the protagonist.

Nella is a 18 year old girl from the countryside, who gets married to Johannes a wealthy and powerful merchant. She adapts surprisingly easily (maturely)  to dramatic events later in the book. She is the protagonist.

Cornelia, the bold maid was quite an interesting character.

Otto, the wise, kind African manservant who arouses curiosity, dread and disgust in the people of the city; he is different from them, a dark skinned stranger.

Johannes who is barely around but a strong character nonetheless and is most important to the plot. A radical thinker.

Overall I liked the pace and enjoyed the book thoroughly.

4 thoughts on “Book Review: The Miniaturist By Jessie Burton

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