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Amor’s book club – The Miniaturist

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Amor’s book club – The Miniaturist

Hello and welcome to Amor’s first book club! In case you didn’t know (and if you didn’t, where have you been?!) this year Amor launched its first book #Amors30Under30.

This created a lot of buzz around the office (a digital office that is) and got us thinking, there are so many amazing books out there by so many inspirational women, why not dive in and share some of our favourites to try and encourage more of you to get reading.

Now, most of us can’t finish a book in a week, due to life being so manic, so this is a bi-weekly book club, we will post a review of what we read then hopefully, you’ll feel inspired to read it and let us know your thoughts.

If you want to read along, we will post at the end what we are reading next!

Now that’s the admin out of the way, let us get onto the review.

This book: The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton.

This may ring a few bells as it was recently adapted into a BBC One drama, however, I decided not to watch it – and still, haven’t – and instead allow my imagination to help create the story.

Set in 1986 Amsterdam, we are introduced to Nella Oortman a young girl recently married to Johannes Brandt, a man whose key role doesn’t play out until halfway through the book.

This one is a slow starter, the language can be complex due to the use of Dutch words, but once you’re a few chapters in, it’s hard to put down.

The key roles in the book are that of Nella (our protagonist), Marin Brandt, Cornelia and the allusive Miniaturist.

Nella’s character develops with time, it can be hard to remember that while she appears to have grown and been more mature, in fact, it is all set in the same year. The book explores how the events which take place in our lives can shape how we act and subsequently grow us up.

The Miniaturist acts as a guide, setting up the story and then sitting back and watching as the other named women unfold it. While she never says anything, arguably she is the most important character in the book.

Marin Brandt personifies how women in this century were suppressed, but echoes the views on many women today. She watches as her brother travels and explores the world, something she yearns for. While she does have a tough exterior this starts to shatter as the story develops, causing Nella to become stronger.

The powerplay between these women is exciting and dynamic to read. As they try to help each other (Nella helping Marin more so) the role of ‘woman of the house’ is batted between them as they struggle for ownership.

While this story may seem on the surface to be about a young woman entering married life and struggling to understand living in a busy city with an ominous presence watching her every move.

It’s actually about female empowerment. 4 women each playing their roles, from different backgrounds trying to help one another.

Nella, the nearly wed bride who has yet to lay with her husband. Marin, the traveller who has been shackled to her house. Cornelia, the maid who wants nothing more than to serve and protect her household. Finally, the miniaturist, what she wants, that’s up to how you interpret it.

Next book: Billy and Me by Giovanna Fletcher

Words : Amy Jo

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