Title: Girl with a Pearl Earring
Author: Tracy Chevalier
Pages: 240 (excluding about author, title page, etc.)
This is simply one of my most favourite books of all time. I was recommended this book by one of my friends who had taken it out of the school library – and, let’s say I was a little sceptical about it, even though I had done an essay about the painting by Johannes Vermeer I wasn’t sure if it was for me.
Boy was I wrong, though! I’m not sure if this book is classified as YA fiction, but I’m putting the review up nevertheless. If it means it is revealed to someone else I will be pleased!
Griet, a young girl, is forced to work as a maid for a rich family, who are Catholics (she is Protestant) after her father loses his sight doing his job. The family are not so welcoming to her, neither the only man of the household, artist, Johannes Vermeer. As she works here she starts to loosen her relationship with her family, whilst still not being received well at her work.
However, she starts to fall for the artist when he allows her to clean the still life objects in the studio, and SHOCK, even to mix paint and buy the needed ingredients from the apothecary! This doesn’t bode well for his wife, Catherina, who, when she finally finds out, isn’t very happy. And then when one of Johannes’ friends/clients’ wants a painting of Griet, Catherina is furious, along with the rest of the family.
As she is a maid, Griet has to go to the market to purchase meat and fish. At the familys’ butcher she meets a young man called Peter, who seems to have his eye for her.
Will she end up falling for Peter, the choice her family expect her to choose? Or will she completely ruin her reputation by saying her love for Johannes?
I completely ADORED this book. Tracy Chevalier is a master of description, and I loved how everything was so easy to imagine, the place was so beautiful!
And I also believe I learnt a thing or two to do with the artist himself and life at that point in time.
Even though Johannes Vermeer is an important character in the book, the main character is, of course, Griet. I really interacted with Griet and really started to understand how she was feeling, thanks to Tracy Chevalier’s wonderful descriptions and use of words.
This book has made me completely fall in love with this time period and Johannes Vermeer. If this is the same with Tracy Chevalier’s other books I need to go check them out!
I would so love that this was the true story behind the painting…
Rating – 5 Stars