Ahoy there me mateys! While drawin’ up me lists of 2016 for me log, I realized a curious thing – out of 134 books read, not a single one was a re-read. In me enthusiasm of discovery and taking suggestions from me crew, I did not revisit a single old port for plunder! And part of what I love about readin’ is re-visitin’ old friends. So I decided to remedy that and thus created me new category where I take a second look at a previously enjoyed novel and give me crew me second reflections, as it were, upon visitin’ it again . . .
the miniaturist – Jessie Burton
This be different from me normal reflections in that I did not actually reread the book this time. The circumstances surrounding new thoughts on the novel were because of a plane ride.
A little while back, I discussed me second reflections of heidi which I listened to on me flight back home from London. Not only did the plane’s entertainment include audiobooks but it also featured some podcasts including the BBC Radio 4 Bookclub’s episode “Jessie Burton – The Miniaturist.” I have to admit that I had never listened to a podcast before even though me sister loves the true crime ones and has been trying to get me to listen to “serial” (I think that be what it is called) for forever.
Now when I originally read the miniaturist, I have to admit that I loved the writing and the entire set-up but the ending made me extremely grumpy. It was so annoying obnoxious to me that I actually thought about making the book walk the plank. I didn’t only because the book was a fast, engaging read and the concept was awesome. Sadly this was in pre-blog days so I don’t have further specifics written down. Suffice to say that I was so angry by the ending that I found the idea of a tv mini-series to be insane. I just didn’t get the hype or love. I was kinda pissed.
So picking a podcast on this book was an odd choice. But the flight was over seven hours, I finished the only paperback I had, I didn’t like the movie choices, couldn’t sleep, and I didn’t recognize any of the other books mentioned in the three other available Bookclub episodes. Turns out the miniaturist podcast was an awesome choice. The episode is an interview between the author and James Naughtie (great name!) with questions from readers. It runs around a half-hour. I loved it.
What captivated me was how intelligent and well-spoken Jessie Burton is about writing the novel and the historical research behind it. Her enthusiasm was infectious. Apparently the book is based off a dollhouse that the author saw while on vacation in Amsterdam. The dollhouse was made to scale using the actual manufacturing processes of the time. This involved ordering miniature china from China and This doll house actually cost more than a real house of the time period. Film and Furniture has an excellent article showcasing the dollhouse and discussing other features of the novel and tv series. To see information about the dolls used in the show, check out dollmaker Julie Campbell’s post.
The names of the main characters in her novel are taken from the actual owners of the dollhouse though the lives of the real couple don’t match experiences of the fictional duo. I loved hearing the author discuss tidbits from her research. I was actually sad when the podcast was over because I could have listened to more facts about Amsterdam especially regarding the economics and shipping industry.
And aye, in the podcast the author discusses the crazy ending and her reasoning behind it. It was fascinating. It didn’t make me like the ending any better or want to reread the book. But I have a great appreciation for the author’s work and why she made those choices. Ultimately I loved the insight into the novel and have a better appreciation for it overall.
I do think that I be in trouble when it comes to podcasts though. I haven’t yet allowed meself to look up more book related podcasts or even more BBC Bookclub ones. Though the day is nigh . . .
Side note: I will be checking out other works by the author. Arrrr!
Goodreads has this to say about the novel:
“There is nothing hidden that will not be revealed . . .”
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 Marin.
But 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 exquisitely suspenseful, The Miniaturist is a magnificent story of love and obsession, betrayal and retribution, appearance and truth.
To visit the author’s website go to:
To buy the novel visit:
To add to Goodreads go to: