This sequel to The Miniaturist was mostly a very good read, although a little thin on plot towards the end. You don’t have to read or even re-read The Miniaturist first, as there are sufficient explanations in this book.
I’m going to be vague about the story, to avoid spoilers for its predecessor in case you’re planning to read that. Set in Amsterdam in 1705, the story follows the emotional dynamics of a household – 18-year-old Thea, her father Otto, aunt Nella and the cook Cornelia. Thea is expected to marry a man of fortune, not that anyone wants her to, but it seems this is the only way for the family to regain their status.
I enjoyed being back in historical Amsterdam for this novel and to explore the backgrounds of familiar characters. The writing style veered between impressing me and irritating me! There are four instances of someone feeling ‘pinioned’ and for some reason I wasn’t keen on that, or someone looking like part of their soul had been ‘vaporised’! Occasionally I felt that it was overwritten, i.e. the same thing said in several ways. On the other hand, there were some lovely descriptions and a careful attention to detail to bring the setting to life.
In summary, an unnecessary sequel which is not as good as The Miniaturist but is worth a read.
Published in 2022.