THE MINIATURIST, BY JESSIE BURTON
This one wasn't recommended to me at all, I just liked the cover.
Synopsis: Nella, a girl from a small city in the Netherlands (though I'm not sure if they were called the Netherlands at that point, my knowledge of that history is shamefully lacking) accepts an arranged marriage to a wealthy West Indies dealer to escape the poverty of her home. She dreams of a fairytale where she and her husband would gradually fall in love with each other, but is terribly disappointed.
Overall enjoyment: It was nice. To be honest, though, I'm not a big fan of the "MacGuffin" plot device. I'm not sure if that's the appropriate term, it kinda sounds wrong to my ears, but you know, something that moves the plot forward but is really unimportant? Like the Rosebud in Citizen Kane. The whole story goes around it, but in the end it doesn't even matter. That's what the miniaturist is in this book, and I always feel cheated when that happens.
Plot: The miniaturist is not important. Other than that, it's nice.
Characters: They are quite interesting, and very well constructed. Each of them have their own stories and little dramas. None of them feel unnatural. I especially liked Marin, who "walks in secrets furs".
World/setting: She does a very competent job of recreating 17th century Amsterdam, with their constant preoccupation with the dams and hypocritical morals.
Writing style: Quite pleasant and easy to read. She is capable of telling you exactly how a character is feeling without making it too obvious or outright saying it, and I love that.
Representation: There is a gay man and also a black man. And it's very historically accurate, so the people who say that historical fictions can't have POC among their characters can suck it.
Political correctness: She discusses a lot about racism and the acceptance of homosexuality, but that's in a different context than what we have today. In the background, though, it is a very interesting story of a woman's growing up and coming of age.
I realize how vague this review is; I'm trying to avoid spoilers.
Up next: The Book of Unknown Americans, by Cristina Henríquez