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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 MarinBut 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 exuisitely suspenseful The Miniaturist is a magnificent story of love and obsession betrayal and retribution appearance and truth

10 thoughts on “The Miniaturist

  1. says:

    I found this book very confusing and the hype of it even soFor one thing I found it very readable very hard to put down On the other hand I found the characters very unbelievable I thought it highly unconvincing that an eighteen year old girl from the country would have had such wisdom and assurance and grown to have such acceptance and respect for Johannes as uickly as Nella did especially as there was very little record of the two of them having much to do with each other until he was arrested In spite of the fact that much has been said re the author's research into the time period I often found myself thinking that Nella's moral philosophy and knowledge of the world iewhen she compares Marin's mood to an unexploded bomb seemed far too modern Ultimately I found the book very disappointing I was intrigued by the mystery of the miniaturist and when I found out the truth it was like a damp suib I felt it was too easy and there didn't seem to be any reason for it The end of the book left we wondering what the point was what had been achieved both by the characters and by my spending my time reading itBut kudos must go to the writer for being a good story teller

  2. says:

    45 really really beautiful I was going to give it 4 stars but then I reread the first chapter after I finished AND IT WAS SO GOOD IN CONTEXT

  3. says:

    The death of Nella Oortman’s father left the family in difficult straits saddled with unexpected debts and a declining standard of living But the widow finds a suitable match for Nella in a successful Amsterdam merchant and trader As he travels extensively the wedding is a uick affair and it is a month before he will return to his home In October of 1686 Nella arrives there in a very exclusive part of the city She is greeted by her new husband’s sister Marin who makes her feel as welcome as a case of influenza and who just might make you think of Mrs Danvers Burton says “When writing my hero Johannes I had this guy in mind” As a wedding gift to his 18 year old bride 39 year old Johannes Brandt acuires for her a cabinet a kind of doll house that mirrors the Brandt home Nella engages the services of a miniaturist a craftsperson to help fill the spaces What she receives is far than she expected as the pieces reflect a bit too closely persons and events in the family’s life some frighteningly so Also they do not always remain exactly as they were when she’d received them And they arrive with Delphic messages Do these tiny constructions predict the future reflect their owners’ fears and concerns reveal secrets tell truths or offer misdirections? Nella determines to find out who this mysterious miniaturist is and what is behind these small objects Burton did considerable research to get her 17th century details right I have a bibliography as long as my arm And then there are first hand resources—maps paintings diaries prices of food inventories wills—and the physical city of Amsterdam itself I first went in 2009 which is when I saw the house in the Rijksmuseum and then again August 2012 for my birthday – with a long list of uestions and locations to visit post fourth draft Where did they bury the bodies in the Old Church? How many windows on the front of a gable? How did they winch furniture in? A lot in the book is all historically true in terms of life in the city from the Richard Lee interviewNella’s search and her coming of age occur in a difficult time and place The Amsterdam of the late 17th century the Dutch Golden Age is a world financial and military capital a harsh unforgiving place where human failing and difference is not be tolerated where neighbors are encouraged to spy and report on neighbors yes very much like your office and where it is always a contest whether the worship of gold or god will hold sway in any given circumstance The two domains cross paths freuently It is this city It is the years we all spend in an invisible cage whose bars are made of murderous hypocrisy It is a time when being a woman was much of a challenge than it is today Marriage paradoxically was seen by some as the only way for women to secure any influence over their own lives But what if a woman wanted something something of her own the opportunity to be the architect of her own fortune and not submit to a life in a golden cage Nella may have stepped into a wealthy man’s world but she must still take care for the many traps that have been laid by a cold society and those jealous of her husband’s success and of her And there are challenges as well with her marriage which was not uite what she had bargained for I wanted to create women who are not ‘strongly female’ or ‘stronger than other females’ or ‘strong’ because they are braver than men or can physically lift saucepans or anything like that I just wanted some women who for once are not defined by any other ideal than that they are human from the Richard Lee interviewImages that inspired Nella and MarinJessie Burton has written a dazzling first novel The Miniaturist presents readers with a worthy mystery and maybe a bit of magic offering enough twists and turns for a figure skating contest opening tiny door after tiny door to reveal the secrets of Brandt’s household This is a look at the Dutch golden age that will resonate with contemporary gender race religious and power issues The author offers just enough imagery to enhance without overwhelming and breathes life into an array of compelling characters In addition Burton paints this world with the eye of a true artist and does it all in a book that you will not want to put down It will reuire no Dutch courage to get through this one To have crafted The Miniaturist is no small achievement Jessie Burton has written a book that seems destined to be huge The dollhouse of the real Petronelle Oortman currently in the Rijksmuseum in AmsterdamThis review is cross posted at CootsreviewscomReview posted April 4 2014Release date in the UK – July 3 2014Release date in the US – August 26 2014Trade Paper US 6215The BBC aired a three part series of The Miniaturist in 2017 It received mixed reviewsEXTRA STUFFOne must wonder what London resident Burton thinks of actors given how she portrays one here and given that she has worked as an actress while toiling as an executive assistant to bring in a few guilders Here are links to the author’s personal webpage and her Twitter feed She has a few historical novels in the works If she continues writing at this level she will be making history instead of writing about it My review of Burton's 2016 novel The MuseIn addition her Pinterest page is most definitely worth a lookThere is a lot of interesting material on Burton in this interview by Richard Lee at the Historical Novel Society site and here in a piece from The GuardianSugar loaves figure significantly in the story While I had heard the term Sugarloaf before my only association with it was with mountains whether the iconic mound in the Rio de Janeiro harbor or the host of other mountains across the planet that share the name Never gave it much thought But folks with a bit historical knowledge than me most of you would probably know that there was a time when sugar was routinely formed into solid cone shapes for shipping That Rio hill and its cousins seem a bit understandably named now Here is a link to the wiki entry for sugarloaf which I found pretty interesting And another that deals with tools used for handling the stuff Sweet82916 “I read and pursued The Miniaturist in manuscript for over a year before publication so utterly passionate was I about its astoundingly beauty and its rich and diverse characters Jessie has created an exuisite gem making the world of seventeenth century Amsterdam live and breathe in incredible detail whilst also delivering a fast paced thriller full of intrigue and dark secrets” – Executive Producer Kate Sinclair of the Production company The Forge

  4. says:

    ”Beholdas the stars of heaven for multitudeHow can I myself alone bear your cumbranceand your burden and your strife?”Deuteronomy 110 12 The Miniature Petronella OortmanPetronella Oortman is barely eighteen years old in 1686 when she marries a rich merchant named Johannes Brandt and moves to his house in Amsterdam It is unnerving to move so far away from her relatives and all the people she has known her entire life but it is also exciting to finally escape the boredom of the country and the oppressive slow slide into poverty that her family has been experiencing before and progressively faster after her father drank himself to death The Miniature PeeboShe has a parakeet named Peebo and very little else to her name when she arrives in Amsterdam Her husband a man she barely knows is not there to greet her but his sister is Madame Marin The Mrs Danvers of Amsterdam In theory the household belongs to Nella but everything is so different from her former life that she ends up doing what little she is allowed to do wrong and every time she tries to have a conversation with one of her fellow inhabitants she seems to end up inserting one dainty foot between her lips This isn’t due to the fact that she is spiteful or sarcastic or silly or stupid but has to do with the plethora of secrets that infest the entire household They are the unknowable things that make her feel exactly what she isan outsider Cornelia knows Well she thinks she knows She is the household maid She is the keyhole listener a snatcher of pieces of conversations She looks through keyholes sometimes seeing an arm or a leg but never seeing the body complete She fills in the blanks sometimes correctly but sometimes not and those of us who have studied language know how critical getting one word wrong or right can be in having a proper understanding of a situation There is Otto as well a man who wears his foreign heritage in the color of his skin He is a walking circus an inspirer of twittering conversations behind hands or for those bold catcalls of a derogatory nature everywhere he goes Johannes saved him from dire circumstances so despite having to live in a hostile city his loyalty to the Brandts keeps him in Amsterdam The painting that inspired the author when she describes Madame MarinMadame Marin has never married despite being beautiful and wealthy She inherited this household at a young age after their parents died and saw no need to exchange it for possibly a less desirable position as a wife As the plot unfolds we learn about Marin and the first impressions we have of her turn out to be but a few flakes in a wind blown snowstorm She turns out to be much complex and humanistic than her cold demeanor and her simmering fury will allow the world to see ”There’s something about Madame Marin She’s a knot we all want to untie”Nella has been in Amsterdam for eleven days and her husband has not visited her wedding bed For a girl that was expecting to be “made woman” this is confusing and embarrassing He is always busy rushing about down to the wharf to conduct business or locked up in his study when at home late into the night ”Nella inhales the air in the boat the hint of the places he’s been the scent of cinnamon stuck in his very pores he smells vaguely of the musky tang she smelled in his study the night he first came home Her husband’s brown face and his too long hair bleached and toughened by sun and wind trigger an awkward longing the desire not necessarily for him but to know how it will feel when they finally lie together”He travels the world in an age where most people may never leave the city they were born in or explore further than a few miles from home Amsterdam is a city of merchants Greed is the worm that everyone has swallowed Brandt has turned out to have a gift for negotiation and for swaying men with his charm and wit He has made many men rich He is tired of the life and finds he would rather have fluffy roasted potatoes than a pile of glittering gilders ”Greed is not a prereuisite for being good at business Nella I crave very little for myself Just potatoes?” He smiles “Just potatoes And you are right I am not a philosopher I am merely a man who happens to have sailed to Surinam”“You said the sugar was delicious” Sugar becomes the watchword of this book The world has a craving for it and Brandt has accepted a commission to sell bricks of it for some frenemies The sugar unfortunately proves to be a “millstone” around his neck A dollhouse owned by a real Petronella Oortman currently in the Rijksmuseum in AmsterdamJohannes buys his bride a cabinet a miniature dollhouse of “her” house It is expensive and certainly he doesn’t send the right message to his young bride who is still too closely tied to dolls and toys His intent was generous and Nell becomes caught up in the spirit of the gift and contacts MINIATURISTResiding at the sign of the sun on KalveerstraatOriginally from BergenTrained with the great Bruges clockmaker Lucas WindelbrekeALL AND YET NOTHING Miniature Houses became all the rage in the 17th century People spent ridiculous sums making their miniature houses as sumptuous as possible Brandt had an exact duplicate of his house made for Nella well except for one missing room but you will have to read the book to figure out whyNella orders items to make her house even her own The miniaturist as it turns out has some ideas of what she needs as well She starts sending her unsolicited packages with cryptic notes and presentiments of what will be It all becomes rather alarming She writes the miniaturist receiving no replies She stops at her shop She sees her on the street a splash of yellow hair but can never catch her She is a phantom whose intentions are hard to fathom This Miniaturist can see into people’s souls As spooky as it all seems these packages become Nell’s lifeline to understanding the truth Those secrets that everyone hoards like gold start to be spent There is an English lad named Jack Philips a fly in any ointment an actor a bohemian a blackguard a destroyer of worlds ”Jack steps into the light at the sound of her opening his arms wide He is really so beautiful Nella thinks So wild She cannot take her eyes off him” He has a puzzling hold on Johannes another of those secrets that will soon be out in the air Nella’s own attraction to him is unsettling but really he is just a good looking sprite of a man that can temporarily stir the hormones of anyone When I saw this photo of the author I was not surprised to learn that she had worked as an actressAs Nella’s world begins to unravel just as she starts to understand it we will see the resolve of the entire cast of characters tested one by one as the wheel of fate continues to turn Jessie Burton for such a young writer kept a steady hand on the tiller and unspooled the plot judiciously to lend maximum impact to the final chapters She showed wisdom beyond her years exposing the misconceptions that we all have about each other even sometimes those people we feel we know well Nella learns how intolerance leads to cynicism and how dark secrets can become cancers No secretsbut we all have secrets layers of them some are spun gold and others are a lead weight lending joy or anxiety in eual measures Some add spice inspiring giggles and smiles when remembered Others are sour like vinegar pulling down the corners of our mouths stealing the bliss from any new found pleasures Check out all my most recent book and movie reviews at

  5. says:

    I love you I love you From back to front I love youthis is an remarkably polished and transporting debut novel that has been compared to sarah waters which comparison alone should be enough for you to give it a shot but i'll continue to blather on a bit in case you need encouragementit takes place in amsterdam in 1686 during that city's golden age when it was incredibly wealthy because of its trading capabilities but there was still a great deal of social progress to be made in the areas of racial and sexual tolerance and gender rights petronella oortman finds herself in this bustling metropolis after a conveniently and uickly arranged marriage brings her from her small village to the city following the death of her father she is only 18 and she is a bit out of her depth as she struggles to adapt to the social s and expectations as the madame of the house her new husband johannes is twenty years older and while seemingly very kind is emotionally and physically distant as he conducts business both at home behind closed doors and abroad where he is gone for weeks at a time she is left in her new home with her husband's unapproachably cold and enigmatic sister marin and the household help otto and cornelia otto is the first dark skinned man nella has ever seen and she is innocently fascinated by his exotic appearance but notices how people on the street stare at him with less kindly fascination she begins to see the ugliness of the city under all its gilded ostentationjohannes arrives home one day with a present for nella a cabinet house which is an exact replica of their own house miniaturized and unfurnished the abstemious marin is outraged by the extravagance and nella is offended by what she sees as a toy for a child resentfully under orders she sends out for custom made pieces to fill it pieces that she selects specifically as little passive aggressive jabs which speak to the frustrations and disappointments she feels as the ostensible lady of a house weighed down by an absent husband iron lady opposition in marin and no power of her own Yes I will decorate my house Marin Nella thinks with all the things that you detest a tiny scrap of marzipan that marin claimed made people sick in the soul a miniature betrothal cup that was missing from her hasty wedding the lute she has been forbidden to touch her little tantrum backfires however and her moment of triumph is short lived as other pieces begin to arrive for the cabinet house unordered eerily accurate miniaturizations of the furnishings and inhabitants of the house which are ominously attuned to the happenings beneath the roof and even seeming to predict the futurethe miniaturist is elusive despite nella's several attempts to get to the bottom of these unsolicited pieces and to determine how a stranger seems to know so much about the goings on of her household secrets upon secrets upon secrets are discovered as nella begin to learn how to navigate her new life and come into her own things happen both horrible and beautiful but the story is always addictively compelling great writing superior characters a stunner of a debut highly recommendedPEEEEEEBOOOOOOcome to my blog

  6. says:

    This book was very annoying I kept persevering oh yes I did Chapter after chapter night after exhausting night when common sense was telling me to go chuck the book across the room and get some much needed sleep Why? Because I wanted to know who the bloody Miniaturist was of course Spoiler alter you never really find out not really anyway It is very vague I even went back and read the cryptic first chapter upon finishing the thing think maybe that would help me to somewhat get it Nope Annoying Way too many boring scenes and conversations about sugar Didn't get the point and I like to think that I am not totally stupid and the characters were not believable Why Nella loves her husband why her sister in law is the way she is why her husband's lover turns on himnothing was convincing And the whole miniaturist being some supernatural prophet observing it alldidn't work for me When will I learn not to judge a book by the its prominent Barnes and Noble placement?

  7. says:

    3 stars is a difficult rating for me When I look at the vast number of 3 starrers I've got sitting on my shelves there is a definite divide between ones I sped through at the time but that left no lasting impression ones that I did enjoy but just found too silly or amateur ish to rate higher and ones that I was highly anticipating and just failed to live up to such lofty expectations Of any category The Miniaturist probably falls into the latter I had it pre ordered back in March read uite a bit of early buzz and rave reviews and had seen multiple Goodreads friends with similar taste add it to their to read shelves And while it was certainly good it just didn't uite make the leap to great The story is told entirely from the perspective of 18 year old Nella Brandt nee Oortman who has entered into a prosperous marriage with a man she barely knows the rich but aloof Johannes In the Brandt household she co exists with a crew of somewhat cliche characters Marin Johannes' cold spinster sister Cornelia the brash but kind maid and Otto the wise and trusted butlermanservant Upon her arrival Johannes presents Nella with a strange but oddly enticing bridal gift a cabinet filled with rooms that are an exact replica of the Brandt household There were parts that I found fascinating particularly the mystery of the miniaturist's identity and methods and the descriptions of all the little items she made for Nella And Nella herself is a good character very developed and sympathetic although probably a bit too independent and resourceful to be totally realistic to the time period Really all of the characters have secrets and hidden depths but unfortunately by the end they all start to veer into complete melodrama I think one of the things that bothered me the most was that Burton tried to tackle too many different subjects in a relatively short book and she wasn't particularly subtle about it Women's rights homosexuality racism and class division are all introduced within the first 50 100 pages and none of them are developed satisfyingly enough to provide any real social commentary Other reviewers have also cited the lack of historical accuracy in places and while I wouldn't know enough about that add an intelligent opinion I can see where it might have occurred The book doesn't feel under researched exactly there was obviously a lot of care put into it but it does just lack a depth and amount of detail that the the strongest examples of historical fiction I've read seem to have All in all it's a prettily written historical tale with several interesting twists and turns that never uite matures into something magical worth a look but not up to the high standards that seem to have been set for it

  8. says:

    ''But words are water in Amsterdam they flood your ears and set the rot'' When you visit the Rijksmuseum one of the exhibits that is certain to attract your attention is the beautiful dollhouse of Petronella Oortman a creation of exuisite beauty When I visited Amsterdam a few years ago the book hadn't been published yet Now Jessie Burton's novel has come to add another thread in the glorious veil of mystery that surrounds this marvellous cityWe find ourselves during the 17th century in Amsterdam a capital where Art and Commerce are flourishing Our eyes and ears are filled with lively sounds and sights and our nose catches weird smells coming from the market Our walk stops in front of a house where a girl of eighteen is waiting for the door to open She is all alone nervous and discouraged holding the cage of a parrot her last connection to her childhood Once she enters the house she will become its mistress for she is the new bride of Johannes Brandt And the door opens and a woman is about to introduce Nella the young woman to her new life The welcome she receives is slightly less hostile than the manner in which Heathcliff welcomed LockwoodNella has been brought up with the notion that she has one purpose in life to become a wife and use her body as the ''key'' in order to be in good terms with her husband But Johannes is too distant poor Nella can't obey her ''calling'' even if she wanted to ''How can this house of secrets ever been called a home?'' Secrets everywhereIn the hearts of the family in the household in the cityCricks and cracks and the feeling of being watched It is too early for us to get answers and we're thrown into the mystery from the very start Although we have 3rd person narration we witness the story exclusively through Nella's eyes a device which makes every twist of the story even tense The plot is loaded with themes Jessie Burton has woven a web of commerce travel discovery The notion of sin the hypocrisy that inflicts the lives of the characters the conseuences of blind passion vices and their price the acceptance of being different or the lack of itThe greatest strength of The Miniaturist in a story that is devoid of any weakness is the complexity of the characters Every single character is three dimensional They start from a certain position and end up in a completely different standing having gone through a complex process of self awarenessNella is innocent but not naive She is clever and willing to adopt to her new environment She is kind strong and determined Her words are poignant when she says ''I am searching for the light Marin In the middle of all this murk'' Marin is a lot than she shows A wonderful intriguing character clever independent fiercely loyal to her personal principles Cornelia is the clever loyal maid of the house She is layered and complex Johannes is a kind intelligent man with a talent for commerce but he falls victim to his desires He has much to hide while Nella sees through his secrets and develops a special kind of relationship with himThe antagonists of the Brandt household are archetypes for the hypocrisy of the era Willing to project their prejudices and narrow mindness to those who have climbed higher based on their own abilities The language has a uniue kind of beauty There are similes metaphors the narration is as layered as the characters You have to read carefully to unlock the text each dialogue reveils little and holds so much It is built piece by piece composed and arranged in the same way Nella's dollhouse is arranged You feel there is a storm about to begin even though all you may witness is two women making delicious pastries in the kitchen ''It is a prison And its bars are made of murderous hypocrisy'' The city is beautiful lively but the winter cold is matched by the cold in the hearts of its residents they are hiding their intentions like the dark waters of the riverThe dollhouse is a prison and a way of escape Each new piece is like a new step that Nella takes towards the fulfillment of her expectations the struggle to find a way through her new life And as the curtains of the dollhouse are drawn each time she wants to hide a new figurine from view so does her household hold its own secrets The atmosphere becomes claustrophobic suffocating''And what about the miniaturist'' you may ask? Well there lies the power of the book in my opinion It wouldn't be the same without this mystery this magical feelingview spoilerMany have stated it is a gimmick a trick I think this view is simplistic shallow We don't have to answer all our uestions once we finish a story Many uestions in our lives are left unanswered forever Why do we seek this from a book? hide spoiler

  9. says:

    I tried to read this around six months ago and couldn’t get past the first page I tried again a month ago and gave up after the first chapter Finally I tried one time last night I got past the first page and the first chapter and finished the whole damn thing in one seven hour sitting Suffice to say my perseverance paid off because I really liked this bookMy advice push through the initial awkwardness of the proseOk so the phrasing of the prologue is very strange; it is enough to immediately put the reader off as it did so with me twice However once you reach the end of the book and go back and read it it makes complete sense and the writing styledoes in fact add to its meaning Moreover the story is not told in that manner in its entirety; it is only at the beginning So if you’ve been put off by the initial few pages then I recommend reading through them again and then continuing with the story The rest of the prose is normal and approachable and the plot that develops is brilliant Indeed when a young girl is shipped off to marry a wealthy merchant of Amsterdam she is excited at the prospect of being a married woman However the marriage is not what she hoped; it turns out to be terrible and cold Her husband ignores her and shows no signs of wanting intimacy with his new bride; his sister lives with them and she is a bully and takes charge of the home Thus Nella wants to run back home but she can’t because if she did she would never discover why the miniaturist is sending her so many miniatures; they begin to haunt her life in disturbing ways so she stays to find out why Why is The Miniaturist sending her these things?This is the uestion that kept me reading The miniatures are a frightening reflection of her messed up marriage; they change as the characters change or the characters change as the miniatures change It is not clear which one is the cause and which one is the effect They haunt her life as and arrive on her doorstep Each one is revealing than the last and harbour intimate knowledge of her secrets How the Miniaturist acuired such knowledge is unfathomable and disturbing The uestion remains why does she do this to Nella?It is never completely answered; it is open to interpretation This makes the ending of this book perfect It isn’t perfect for the characters involved; it is uite the opposite tragic But the Miniaturist remains shrouded in mystery; she remains an ethereal entity that is the heart of this book; she drives the events forward somehow and makes the book special The Miniaturist’s reasons and the effects she causes are completely open for the reader to decide The Miniaturist may be a crazy stalker person or heshe may be something much There is a reason Waterstones named this as their book of the year in 2014 I’m so glad I gave it a third reading attempt otherwise I never would have experienced its brilliance

  10. says:

    SpoilersCould have been great the premise sounded really intriguing and uniue Unfortunately the story was plain nonsensical and filled with tedious characters who were obsessed with sugar I couldn't stand Nella she was an irritating passive embarrassing and insipid main character She was also a right thicko she missed so many obvious things that were right in front of her How on Earth did she miss her husband being gay? Or Thea being Otto's daughter? Why did she let Marin treat her like crap in her own home? Also why did she think ordering those miniatures would piss off Johannes? Ugh she was so daft Most of the characters were annoying and unlikeable not only that they were super boring I didn't care about their secrets or their evasiveness the only 'character' I wanted to know about was the miniaturist but nothing significant was ever revealed about her I did uite like Cornelia Hanna and Johannes they were the only half decent characters there What was with that first chapter? I thought it would make sense by the end but if anything I was left confused Was the miniaturist trying to stop certain events from happening or something? Because she ended up changing nothing I didn't get it Why was the miniaturist even interested in Nella and all the other women's lives in the first place? It was like her character was a mystery just for mystery's sake The fact there wasn't even the slightest explanation about her made the intriguing premise totally nonsensical Who was the miniaturist? How did she know what to send Nella and the other women? Why did she send stuff to them? Did she have psychic powers? What was the point of it all? Why was she stalking Nella? What was she trying to achieve? I hated Marin most of all she was a total hypocrite an abusive cow and so self righteous and holier than thou Her personality wasn't just vile it was also boring she didn't say or do one interesting thing It was irritating how she played the victim and the martyr when she was none of those things anything bad that happened to her was of her own doing I especially despised the way she treated Nella she ruined Nella's life by forcing Johannes to marry her because of her Nella didn't get to have a real marriage or kids of her own Ugh I was glad Marin died at the end it was what she deserved I kind of loathed and loved Johannes he was a good man and his life was tragic but his carelessness and selfishness was frustrating to read I felt sorry for him at first for being forced to marry so that no one would suspect he was gay but then his antics with the sugar and the shagging around in public made me hate him He knew being caught would not only mean the end of his life but also the possible destruction of his family Why did he find it so difficult to be careful? Also what was his problem in selling the sugar? Why did he leave it so long? Why couldn't he be bothered to actually do something with it? How did he not know that the sugar was rotting? How did he not know about his money situation? How was he successful in his work yet totally incompetent about the sugar? Him hating Agnes and Frans wasn't a good enough excuse for fucking up with the sugar At times he seemed to have zero common sense or care for anyone else except himself For a good chunk of the book I disliked him but by the end I really started to feel sorry for him again he didn't deserve everyone turning on him and being punished the way he was It was so depressing but I guess it was realistic for the time period Liked the Amsterdam setting and the general premise was good but the execution of it was utter rubbish All in all I wasn't impressed If the ending had been satisfying as in finding out the mystery of and the driving force behind the miniaturist then I could have forgiven the crappy protagonist and slow moving story Sadly the ending revealed nothing if anything it just made things confusing I doubt I'll read any of the author's future releases