Genre: Historical Fiction
Size: 256 pages
Release Date: August 30, 2005
Stand Alone or Series: Stand Alone
Rating: 4/5 stars
I had this book on my shelf to read for a long time. I liked Vermeer as an artist and was curious to read an imaging of the history behind one of his famous works. This was a good book, it does a good job of transporting you back to that era and of giving you a glimpse into the life of Vermeer.
The story focuses around Griet, who is a girl hired into Vermeer’s household as a maid. Things are tough for Griet at first and she misses her family. Her love of color and presentation interest Vermeer and suddenly she finds herself being more than a maid, she is assisting Vermeer with his art supplies and his paints. The household Griet has been shoved into is not a happy one; Vermeer’s wife is constantly pregnant and exhaused, his mother difficult, and his children somewhat evil at times.
Chevalier does an excellent job of painting beautiful pictures in the reader’s mind. She has created characters that are very human; they have human problems and lead somewhat normal lives. These characters are seamlessly woven into to this historical setting making for a realistic story that’s a bit fanciful at times.
I enjoyed reading about Griet’s life and how Griet navigated the tensions in the household. As a character Griet possessed a sort of grace that makes her endearing to the reader. Vermeer is portrayed as somewhat mysterious, although the reader is given occasional glimpses into his character through Griet’s eyes.
This was an engaging read and an interesting look into what things may have been like in Vermeer’s household. I loved reading about how the paints were made. The ending of the book is well done, with a surprising little twist of irony.
Overall a decent read. I enjoyed Chevalier’s writing style and how she blended her fictional ideas seemlessly into this historical setting. Griet is a wonderful character that readers can’t help but love and cheer for. At points some of the things seem a bit fanciful, but that is part of what makes the book interesting. The ironic twist at the end was wonderful too.
This book goes towards the following reading challenge:
– 100+ Reading Challenge