When I thought of today I was going to write about a book I was reading, however, I stayed up so late I finished it so it will be a book I have just finished reading. I must stop doing that, I have such problems waking up and functioning next day if I read until 2-3 in the a.m:(
we have all been there though I am sure, when leaving a book just to sleep seems to be impossible. Far too often in my life have I done this:)
On an autumn day in 1686, eighteen-year-old Nella Oortman arrives at a grand house in Amsterdam to begin her new life as the wife of wealthy merchant Johannes Brandt. Though curiously distant, he presents 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 ring eerily true.
As Nella uncovers the secrets of her new household, she realises the escalating dangers they face. The miniaturist seems to hold their fate in her hands – but does she plan to save or destroy them?
I had had a mixed bag of good, okay’ish and ‘don’t like that much’ books lately. Many of them for the book groups I belong to. None were awful, a couple were disappointing and some I think were just me, or the mood I was in..
So it was with trepidation I approached The Miniaturist, another book group read. Weary from the long reads of Wool by Hugh Howey 500 pages and Citadel by Kate Mosse 1000 pages, I groaned as I reached for it, 400 pages – not so bad:) . It accompanied me to the garage to find out what bad news they would give on the car. It was bad, bad, bad, but the trepidation about the book, the shock of the estimated bill were not enough to dim this book. What a delight it was from beginning to end. A book where the loss is felt after the pages close, when another book is impossible for a day or two.
17th century Amsterdam. A city built on reclaimed land and trade from every corner of the globe. A naive young bride, a rich merchant husband who is reluctant to consummate the marriage, his sour sister, a Negro man servant and a outspoken maid. Living unconventional lives within a conventional and hypocritical society of fabulously wealthy elite and a thundering Calvinistic religion.
And of course a doll’s house.
I discovered after I had finished it that this is a Marmite* book. Rave reviews or scorn. Nothing, it appears, in the middle. For me, the story flowed along beautifully, like an old river. Each character so different, the claustrophobic feel of a society of long ago was, for me, interesting. The unseen but ever present miniaturist is the creepy part. Is she friend or foe, how does she know so much of this fairly closed household, how does she know the secret lives. Is she an insider that she knows so much or . . .or. . . is this a delicious bit of magic realism?
It is a story with some endings predictable and others left hanging. A book to weep over and to wonder at after the event. For a debut novel it was impressive.
- Marmite for those who do not know is a dark brown yeast and salt based food paste with a advertising slogan ‘Love it or Hate it’ and is now used generally as a metaphor for polarized positions on any subject
Musing Mondays is a weekly meme that asks you to choose one of the following prompts to answer:
- I’m currently reading…
- Up next I think I’ll read…
- I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
- I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
- I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
- I can’t wait to get a copy of…
- I wish I could read ___, but…
- I blogged about ____ this past week…
THIS WEEK’S RANDOM QUESTION: Approximately how many books do you usually read per week? Per month?
How many a week, a month. It is so dependant on how much time, how much work, how many social commitments or appointments. On my mood, health, family’s mood and health. Is the sun shining, is it pouring with rain or blowing a gale . Some weeks I read book after book then I may go for a week without picking one up.
I can report that my Goodreads challenges for the past few years come in at
2012 = 64 books
2013 = 120 books
2015 = 106 books
2016 so far = 23 books
I don’t remember why 2014 is missing I would have read but I was in the middle of a great depression so maybe didn’t register on the book challenge. 2012 I was ill most of the year with massive migraine type headaches which had to operated on, so reading was difficult.
I used to read a lot more when I was young and cutting edge – late night sessions didn’t bother me so much – massive books were easier to hold before wrists gave out and I spent a lot of time on public transport so reading times were extended:)