A peculiar tale of life in 17th century Amsterdam with an unnerving mystery at it’s heart. You feel for Petranella, the main character who is married off to a wealthy Venetian Merchant. The novel opens as she moves into his peculiar household ocupied by his cold sister, African Man-Servant and curious Maid. She is held at arms length and isolates, taking comfort in figurines created by a strange merchant that sends models she hasn’t requested. The models are initially a little odd, but become increasingly unusual as the novel progresses, seeming to hint at a reality Nella can’t quite grasp.
The novel has an interesting concept and the character draw you into their secret lives. It also gives a historical insight into Amsterdam’s economic past as a trading port. Though it is a different take on a domestic novel, I feel the concept of the minitaturist as a architect of fortune falls short of compelling execution. It also felt very unrealistic particularly further into the novel where the stakes becoming increasingly high for the characters. After the revealtions regarding Johannes’s (the husband) secret life Petronella’s preoccupation with the Minaturist begins to feel a stretch too far. There is no way, (faced with her new reality) that she would still be considering whether the minaturist might be trying to tell her something.
I also didn’t feel as though there was any explaination for how the characters became the way they were. The readers were kept in the dark about their motivations as much as the main character, but it just left a bad taste rather than a sense of intrigue. There are some twists and turns, but I didn’t find it satisfying enough to justify the leg work of reading it.
How did you find it if you’ve picked it up already?