Nominated by:

Městská knihovna v Praze, Czech Republic

Cork City Libraries, Ireland

Timaru District Libraries, New Zealand

Library of Birmingham, UK

Newcastle Libraries, UK

Publisher of nominated edition:

Picador, UK

The Miniaturist

Jessie Burton    

2016 Longlist

There is nothing hidden that will not be revealed.

On an autumn day in 1686, eighteen-year-old Nella Oortman knocks at the door of a grand house in the wealthiest quarter of Amsterdam. She has come from the country to begin a new life as the wife of illustrious merchant trader Johannes Brandt, but instead she is met by his sharp-tongued sister, Marin. Only later does Johannes appear and present her with an extraordinary wedding gift: a cabinet-sized replica of their home. It is to be furnished by an elusive miniaturist, whose tiny creations mirror their real-life counterparts in unexpected ways . . .

Nella is at first mystified by the closed world of the Brandt household, but as she uncovers its secrets she realizes the escalating dangers that await them all. Does the miniaturist hold their fate in her hands? And will she be the key to their salvation or the architect of their downfall?

(from publisher)

About the Author

Jessie Burton was born in 1982. She studied at Oxford University and the Central School of Speech and Drama, and has worked as an actress and a PA in the City. She now lives in south-east London, not far from where she grew up.

Librarians’ Comments

This is a remarkable debut novel – complex and atmospheric. It is that rare combination of a beautifully written book that is also a compelling page turner.

The Miniaturist was very popular within our reading group network and triggered much discussion. The gripping, imaginative, woven plot full of realism and obsession, secrets and lies, absorbs the reader into Nella’s world with a focus on a miniature replica of her house and the miniaturist creating intricate pieces linking to her life. The pace is fast and keeps the reader’s attention with the intriguing characters right to the end making this debut novel a fascinating read.

Nella is a neglected young merchant’s bride in seventeenth century Amsterdam. Her wedding gift is a miniature house. As Nella fills the house with miniature furniture and dolls, she is drawn into a societal underlayer of secrets, mysteries and intrigues. The novelist is equally skilful exploring detail and minutiae, and big social themes including the role of women, religion and superstition, and forbidden love. This novel is lavish, haunting, heart-pounding, atmospheric and unpredictable.

With an atmospheric rendering of character and place this is a haunting and intriguing tale. Nella’s story is compelling reading, conveyed in richly evocative historic detail. This is at times a dark, unsettling read with underlying mystical nuances contributing to the twists and surprises within the plot from beginning to end.

Related Entries