Amsterdam and Damp and Dark Rooms: The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton Book Review

Hi fellow book lovers, welcome back to Tea and Paperbacks, new posts every Monday! In this week I just want to share with you a book I read in the wintertime, a very long-awaited book (I’ve been wanting to read this since forever), and a really really beautiful story.


There were so many things that went right with this book for me, it was like this book was especially made for me. The Miniaturist is set in 17th century Amsterdam, mainly in the winter, and it was a perfect read for the winter. It’s about Nella, the main character who comes from a small village who comes to the capital city when she is married to a wealthy man and lives in his large house with his sister and their servants. The story is about Nella discovering secrets about the family and their trading job.

Title: The Miniaturist
Author: Jessie Burton
Publisher: Ecco Press
Date Published: August 2014
Num of Pages: 400
Date Read: 25th January, 2017
Goodreads Link
Book Depository Link

I love the whole cold, slow atmosphere of Amsterdam and the house where the main character, Nella lives in. The atmosphere Burton crafts, from the freezing streets of Amsterdam, the damp and dark rooms, the canals, everything was so vivid in the descriptions that it became part of the story, not just the conversations and the plot itself.

The storyline was wonderful to read about. It’s my type of book, with slow-build characters slowly evolving and opening up to the readers as we slowly get to know them through their secrets. I thought the plot was wonderful, how it was really slow at the beginning but really picked up into an absorbing web of events that unraveled quickly by the end. I didn’t particularly think the last parts of the book was mind-blowing or that it had a good plot twist, but I still really enjoyed how everything turned out.

Love is best a phantom than reality, better in the chase than caught. (p.157)

What I also really enjoyed was of course the characters. When we first meet Nella she’s a timid, inexperienced, hopeful and slightly naive young woman. By the end of the book we can really see her character development. Her relationship with the other supporting characters are wonderful. I particularly liked reading about Marin, how she’s filled with so many secrets and uncertainty so that the readers never really know if we should trust her or not, but slowly learn to like her and root for her. Meanwhile Johannes was a well-written character as well, and I wanted to explore more of his personality in the book, like his feelings and friendship with Nella, his closeness with Marin, his companionship with Otto, how he really felt about Frans or Jack. The other characters really brought the book to become much better than it could’ve been.

Growing older does not seem to make you more certain. It simply presents you with more reasons for doubt. (p.159)

Overall, a very wonderful read. I love the writing, how it’s so atmospheric and descriptive but also lets us really learn about the characters and also making us looking forward to what will happen next. Although the ending wasn’t very strong, I still think it might be one of the best books I will read in 2017, despite the fact that this was my second book of the year.

4.5 stars

Did you read The Miniaturist, and did you like it? What are your favourite reads of 2017 so far? Share in the comments! I’ve also been really interested to read Burton’s new book, have any of you read it? Until my next post, have a nice day!




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