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Editor reviews

Winner of the Specsavers Book of the Year Award 2014, the National Book Awards: New Writer of the Year 2014 and Waterstones Book of the Year 2014, The Miniaturist is written by rising fiction star Jessie Burton and narrated by the author in this complete and unabridged audiobook. Hear of the unique love story of Nella Oortman, whose life changes forever when she leaves her family in the countryside and enters the house of her new husband. Find yourself as curious as Nella about the wedding gift she receives from her husband. A tantalising story available now from Audible.

Summary

Winner of the Specsavers Book of the Year Award 2014

National Book Awards: New Writer of the Year 2014

Waterstones Book of the Year 2014

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? Beautiful, intoxicating and filled with heart-pounding suspense, The Miniaturist is a magnificent story of love and obsession, betrayal and retribution, appearance and truth.

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.

©2014 Jessie Burton (P)2014 Audible Studios

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What members say

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • DebNwood
  • Norwich, Norfolk, England
  • 20-05-15

Tricky to get in to

Once I got into this book I did enjoy it. It is narrated in present tense, which is quite difficult to get your head around at first. The narrator is also the author, and sadly, I don't think she's a very good narrator. At some parts, it is difficult to tell the characters apart, as there are no inflections or indications in the characters voice to tell you who is speaking. I felt the ending didn't really explain the background of the miniaturist, and her story was added on an afterthought and was a let down.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Disappointing & very annoying narrator

Would you try another book written by Jessie Burton or narrated by Jessie Burton?

I might consider another book written by her, but DEFINITELY NOT anything narrated by her.

Has The Miniaturist put you off other books in this genre?

No

How did the narrator detract from the book?

Monotone voice, inability to act. It's taking me ages to finish as the voice is alternately grating & monotonous so I'm distracted from the story.

Any additional comments?

Obviously I fell for the hype around this title. The idea is good, but I'm finding the main character irritating & not that likeable. I can't sympathise with her, which is a pity as the concept is a good one.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

I'm still waiting for something to happen.....

it was rather like listening to someone read a long list of items 'and then I did this, and then that happened, so I did that, and then I did that, and then I did this....... '

So what happened to the parrot, who opened the window, what happened to Jack, why the significance of the minatureist, why was Agnes looking ill, who was the pock marked man, why did the confectioners wife become friendly and generous, why did nothing happen when the court case was so obviously flawed???????

11 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Disappointing...

Was really excited about this book but didn't enjoy it at all. Really disappointed. Authors voice was quite silly and it became irritating. Listened to the end and my opinion didn't change.

Saw some great reviews but was disappointed myself.

The characters were interesting but the actual storyline was not great and I lost interest.

Overall I wouldn't recommend this book and was disappointed- sorry to have to say that!

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

too much information whilst lacking a resolution

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

Frustrating. The ending lacked any form of satisfactory resolution . Too many questions left unaswered and for this man too much gynaelogical information . The male characters seem very pallid although the historical datail was ok . The miniaturist whilst mysterious was far too nebuleous and one was left wondering whether the author was saving plot for a sequel. If so I probably shant be buying it

Would you recommend The Miniaturist to your friends? Why or why not?

To my women friends possibly, to my male friends probably not.

Would you listen to another book narrated by Jessie Burton?

The narrator/author told the tale in a very ( overly) soulful way . Too droopy for my palate. From preference i would not listen to her again

Did The Miniaturist inspire you to do anything?

Write my first book review. Just had to. Doing my grumpy old man thing

26 of 32 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

A promising premise but something is missing

Is there anything you would change about this book?

I had high hopes on reading the blurb for this novel that it would be a historical novel of substance with a really engaging story. Unfortunately most of the characters are irritating and the main hook of the story - the mysterious miniaturist - is never adequately explained. I would have liked this character in particular to have been given more attention.

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

I was surprised that the story ended where it did and would have appreciated a few more chapters as it felt that several strands of storyline were unfinished.

What three words best describe Jessie Burton’s performance?

Earnest but grating.

Do you think The Miniaturist needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

The ending left me feeling that the book was really an introduction to a future novel. There are too many unanswered questions for this to be a stand-alone novel.

Any additional comments?

While I was disappointed with the overall story, I did learn more about this period of Amsterdam history.

21 of 26 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Thought provoking book.

What made the experience of listening to The Miniaturist the most enjoyable?

A thought provoking book which casts an interestingly spectre on a complex period of history. Characters are well drawn and the use of language impressive. I found the narration flat, and felt it hindered the pace of the book, making it hard work. Overall an interesting purchase but not a great one.

Who was your favorite character and why?

No favourite characters, rather a series of portraits of people whose circumstances, politics and economics, religion and cultures and are of a time where the world was fast changing, and prejudice and ignorance created terror for many.

What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

I found the narration flat and rather grating I am afraid.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Thought provoking, and with resonances for aspects of our world today.

10 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Overhyped

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

Better story, characters, dialogue and narration. It couldn't be much worse.

Would you ever listen to anything by Jessie Burton again?

Unlikely

Would you be willing to try another one of Jessie Burton’s performances?

Unlikely

What character would you cut from The Miniaturist?

All or any. Couldn't relate to the plot or characters. Hated how 21st century use of language and attitudes was expected to translate to 1600's Amsterdam.

Any additional comments?

The last book I gave up on was Room by Emma Donaghue. I thought I'd love this debut by Jessica Burton, but I found it overrated, tedious and lacking in credibility or empathy. Listened to just over 50% and gave up.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

If you love me, you will obey my commandments

Eighteen away from home, married out of necessity, in a new city, in a new home a home of secrets, a home of lies and the whispers of a magical artisan that recreates life in miniscule dolls.
Amsterdam 1786 at first seems benevolent and tranquil, the protagonists all appear at face value to be willing participants of the period the culture and move with in it with little or no apparent resentment, but as the story moves forward we see the heavy hand of culture and religion, stifling, suffocating, imposing its reality on all; even those that feel free and secure, are made to face the force that controls all. The moral majority are even now hammering away at individual freedoms,and religions like then are hard at work trying to control humanity, sexuality, thought it self.
This is a book lets you in easy and lets you out perhaps with more question in your heart, than answers about the protagonists. The period is described without drowning you in facts but by exposing you to everyday life the alien past, and the common humanity.
A very interesting book,with more depth than at first apparent.



13 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Ludicrous

Loved part one, then slowly became disillusioned as the storyline became more and more unbelievable. in the end, it was so irritating. I DID finish it, but I had invested time in it.
I don't believe the emotions this girl had at the end. Too much was not believable as being set in 1687. No, I wouldn't recommend it. Too many adjectives as well!

9 of 11 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Sharron
  • 28-09-15

Intriguing

Set in Amsterdam in the 1600's, a time of harsh social justice. Newly married 18 year old Nella arrives in the city from the country to find herself part of a very unusual household.
I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • mgn
  • 15-06-15

Unfulfilling

The story sounded boring from the summaries I read before purchasing the book. It's my book club June choice so I got it. The book is better than I had anticipated and surprisingly flowed well. Overall it feels inconclusive. Hence unfulfilling.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Fliss
  • 19-03-15

fantastic book well read

Such an imaginative and compellingnovel. It had me hooked from the very start and invested in every single one of the characters. Loved it.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Robyn
  • 12-01-15

A very compelling book

I enjoyed this very much, an intriguing Gand complex tale. But what about the end??? What happens next I wonder