The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Historical gothic fiction is (I think) the genre I'd give this. The depiction of 1600s Amsterdam and the tensions between commerce and piety are well-drawn. There's enough background for us to quickly understand that Africans are a strange sight, that sugar is relatively new and how the society worked. But not so much that readers will get bored, which is good because the underlying question of how the miniaturist knows what's in everyone's house, how the dolls and items so accurately reflect real life (sometimes even before Nella knows what's going on) is far more interesting. The gothic-ness is light, yet the creepy factor is high. Sometimes you wanted to take Marin and Nella and slap them, then tell them to just actually talk. So much of what happens could have been avoided had that been the case.
Best part? Some of the questions about the minaturist's art are never resolved. Yay!
ARC provided by publisher.