The Miniaturist tells the story of the young Nella Oortman. She finds herself almost alone in the large house of her new, wealthy husband. She is trying to settle into her life when she begins to receive extra realistic miniatures to put in her dollhouse.
This is a novel packed with atmospheric tension. It really explores the effects on the mind of having nothing to do.
I would definitely read this if you are at all interested in the experiences of women sent off to marry and then left to their own devices. I found the ending a little disappointing, but overall this was a really compelling read.
Because The Miniaturist is set in Amsterdam, one of my favourite cities, I am recommending that you read this with a sip of jenever.
Jenever is the Dutch precursor to gin. It's flavoured with juniper berries, but has a more neutral flavour than gin.
I tried jenever in a tiny, old bar in Amsterdam with some great friends and it was such a fun start to our evening. We tried it neat, at room temperature, although I do know that some places will serve it ice-cold.
There are two types of jenever: old and young. It's not aged, but the old jenever must contain at least 15% malt wine, whereas young jenever is more blended. Try both and find your favourite.
Have you read The Miniaturist or tried jenever? Let me know in the comments!