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debauth1 jessie burton

A quietly dark, historical novel full of secrets, treachery and Dutch debauchery in 17th Century Amsterdam. Published 3rd July 2014

Nowadays most people go for a Gift List at John Lewis, but in 1686 the only way to truly flaunt your wealth was to treat your new bride to a monstrous cabinet replica of your home.  Creepy.

When Nella Oortman weds wealthy merchant trader Johannes Brandt, married life soon becomes a claustrophobic descent into paranoia and betrayal. Isolated, with just a frosty sister-in-law for company Nella takes comfort in her new miniature home.  Hiring the skills of a local miniaturist, Nella begins receiving more than the craftsman’s tiny trinkets as they begin to foretell the household’s imminent demise and reveal their private confessions.

The endearing pieces so small in size become colossal in their power to bring Nella’s world into disarray, furnishing her mind with suspicion and fear.

As an admirer of tiny trinkets and miniature novelties I knew I was in for a treat, but while the cabinet has a sinister story of its own, life outside the dollhouse is equally disturbing and curious. In the dead of night low whispers echo through the house, ears press against doors and eyes find peepholes…

Burton manages to create such a volatile and vivid landscape, rich in religious censorship and the growing divide between the city’s rich and underprivileged. Nella’s walks to the docks and frequent visits to her enigmatic miniaturist are intense in detail from the stench of Amstel River to the deliciously descriptive gingerbread at the local bakery.

The Miniaturist, so evocative of the time, will appeal to historical fiction fans and readers who enjoy the sinister side of fiction. The devil is definitely in the detail.

Check it out if you enjoyed-

Pure by Andrew Miller

The Affinity By Sarah Walters

Written for WaterstonesNG and waterstones.com

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