So it’s been a while since I’ve posted on this blog. Mainly because when I do post, it’s to post a book review and I’ve been stuck in a book slump all summer. I’ve not managed to actually stick to reading a book the whole way through which has really set my book-reading back. I flitted back and forth between “Carry On,” “The Amber Spyglass” and “Trigger Warning” and didn’t finish one of them. It wasn’t until I was sitting on the plane back from my summer holidays and I had plenty of time to spare (5 hours to be exact) that I managed to finally read something, and enjoy it.
This book, is a masterpiece. The way it is written captivates you from start to finish with its poetic language and magnetic characters. There are so many twists and turns that it takes you down that you often find yourself lost with what the purpose of the story is, and then it all ties together beautifully.
You follow the story of Petronella Oortman in Amsterdam 1686, arriving at her new home after having married a merchant trader Johannes Brandt. She has been raised to expect certain things as a wife and yet when she arrives she is met with a husband who is kind, but distant, leaving her alone to wander around the house. Johannes sister Marin still acts like the mistress of the house and Cornelia, the maid, and Otto, who is employed by Johannes, have more freedom than she would have expected. Then Johannes gifts her with miniature version of the house she now lives in, telling her to decorate it for her pleasure. What comes of this, is a fascinating journey with an ending that upsets and yet allows you to question every detail the story presents you with.
I think my only criticism for this book would be that it didn’t feel as authentically accurate to the time period as I would have liked. A lot of the situations and problems that the characters faced were not as correctly resolved as they would have been done during the 17th century. If I’m correct, Nella would not have been as easily allowed to roam Amsterdam unchaperoned as she did for sections of the book. This, of course, could be completely wrong as I do not pride myself as having a wide knowledge of this time period but moments of it felt more like modern language and feelings, compared to the ideas and thoughts a woman would have had to think about during that time.
It is still a book I would completely recommend to any of my friends that enjoy books that have a magical twist to them, allowing your mind to think about what truly makes you happy and whether what you are pursuing is something you, yourself wants, or what you are being told you want.
Language/Style: 8 points
Story: 8 points
Plot: 8 points
Chracters: 8 points
Favourite Quote: “‘Marin believes love is better in the chase than caught,’ she says. He raises his eyebrows. ‘That does not surprise me. It is not better. But it is easier. One’s imagination is always more generous. And yet, the chase always tires you out in the end.'”