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  • Location: Amsterdam

The House of Fortune

The House of Fortune

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1705: Has the Miniaturist returned to Amsterdam?

  • ISBN: 978-1509886081
  • Genre: Historical

What you need to know before your trail

In the golden city of Amsterdam, in 1705, Thea Brandt is turning eighteen, and she is ready to welcome adulthood with open arms. At the city’s theatre, Walter, the love of her life, awaits her, but at home in the house on the Herengracht, all is not well – her father Otto and Aunt Nella argue endlessly, and the Brandt family are selling their furniture in order to eat. On Thea’s birthday, also the day that her mother Marin died, the secrets from the past begin to overwhelm the present.

Nella is desperate to save the family and maintain appearances, to find Thea a husband who will guarantee her future, and when they receive an invitation to Amsterdam’s most exclusive ball, she is overjoyed – perhaps this will set their fortunes straight.

And indeed, the ball does set things spinning: new figures enter their life, promising new futures. But their fates are still unclear, and when Nella feels a strange prickling sensation on the back of her neck, she remembers the miniaturist who entered her life and toyed with her fortunes eighteen years ago. Perhaps, now, she has returned for her . . .

Travel Guide

The Amsterdam of the Miniaturist

Amsterdam is clearly the background of this novel although the city is not as vividly evoked here as it was in The Miniaturist. The house on Herengracht is the main setting as is the old Schouwburg Theatre and the Old Church.

The city is going through changes and much wealth is still apparent in the city. The families like the Brandts who live along The Golden Bend all seem to have maintained their wealth judging by the ornate houses in which they live. However, inside the Brandt house, the walls are bare as they have sold the paintings to make money.

The trade in pineapples has overtaken that of sugar. This rich fruit is an illustration of what Amsterdam is now – prickly and tough to get underneath its skin but the temptation of sweet rewards if they do. However, this is a novel to show how the prickly exterior is as tough and hard to pierce as ever.

 

Assendelft

The small village in North Holland where Nella arrived from, all those years ago, to marry Johannes Brandt.

Trail Gallery

Booktrailer Review

I have spent a lovely weekend with this book. I have to say however that there’s barely any mention of The Miniaturist and no appearance of her at all. IThere’s a few miniatures of course and a few mentions of what happened before but it really is in the background of the book as a whole. I was disappointed with this but if you read it as a standalone , a novel of complex family relations and a young girl on the cusp of womanhood ready to take her fate in her own hands, then this is a great read.

The watery, dark world of Amsterdam opens up again and we are thrust back to that house on the Golden Bend. The novel picks up 18 years after The Minaturist and we see that the baby born to an interracial couple ( unheard of in 1600s Amsterdam) is now 18 and in love with a set painter at the local theatre. The family that Johannes left behind is now destitute and so money is essential. They sell of paintings and feel that a good marriage for Thea is the only way to save them.

Needless to say, things don’t go well. Thea is in love with a man the family would not approve of. They choose someone called Jacob who is wealthy and the set pieces of the grand ball, his house and the talk of pineapples ( a new luxury in those days) were wonderfully written and described. Take out the few mentions of mysterious parcels showing up, of Thea not knowing what they are or of their significance of them in the past, and you have the same novel to be honest. It’s a sequel to what happens after the events in the novel The Miniaturist, not of what the figure of the miniaturist might be up to now.

The writing is simply wonderful and the turn of phrase exquisite. It was a real pleasure to read and to see Nella again! What a treat! Sadly no Peebo and the house was now in disrepair. We do get to go back to where Nella came from which was a nice thread and the ending was quiet and sad.

Definately recommended despite the lack of the miniaturist.

BookTrail Boarding Pass: The House of Fortune

Destination/Location: Amsterdam  Author: Jessie Burton  Departure: 1705

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