I really enjoyed this book, the characters were satisfying, and there was a lurking feeling of imminent doom. My only complaint was the slightly disappointing ending, I felt it just needed a bit of a twist to make the story more rewarding. I would also have liked to finally meet the miniaturist of the title.
Petronella, known as Nella, has come from a quiet Dutch village to marry Johannes, a wealthy Amsterdam trader. Nella's family has fallen on hard times since her father's death and this appears to be an excellent match. She finds herself in a household of secrets, ruled by her husband's sister Marin. Cornelia is the hardworking servant, assisted by Otto, the black manservant whom Johannes has brought back from his travels.
It is 17th century Amsterdam and the reader is instantly transported into this period. The cabinet of miniatures that prompted the story is worth as much as a house at the time, and there is something decidedly spooky about it. The tiny effigies and furniture were captivating, but the miniaturist who crafts them is never more than a glimpse of blonde hair and this was a bit frustrating.
As events start to spiral out of control, Nella is forced to grow up and deal with some very adult situations. Even Johannes, who falls far short of the husband she had hoped to love, was of little help, though I couldn't help but like him.
This was an excellent first novel and I'm sure the second will be even better. A new favourite author for me :)