Girl with a Pearl Earring – by Tracy Chevalier

12 05 2017

Another recommendation from my Mum, she claimed she read this in a day, and it wasn’t too thick either, so despite knowing zilch about art, I decided I’d give it a go.

The book is about a maid, Griet, who is 16 and works in the house of a painter called Vermeer. Vermeer is a real life artist, you can look him up on Wikipedia and everything! But it’s probably important to say at this stage that the book is a historical fiction. There are elements about it that are true, his patron in the book also existed in real life, but the main storyline was created by the author.

The book isn’t just about the famous painting, that comes later; Vermeer paints a few paintings while Griet works for the family, but what’s great is that if you look up his paintings, you can see that Chevalier was referring to real paintings of his each time as she went through the detail of the compositions.

Throughout the book Griet is wooed by the local butcher boy, but she also has feelings she doesn’t understand for Vermeer as she cleans his studio, and then as time moves on, is allowed to assist him in mixing his paints from their raw ingredients (because, of course, this is 350 years ago, you didn’t just buy paint!).

The story is set in Delft in the Netherlands, which I actually visited when I was 12. I love Holland, I have relatives there and it’s where my name comes from, so when I realised the book was set there, I was excited to read more!

I’d definitely recommend this for a fairly easy read. I like real life stories, and while this isn’t one, the few bits of reality in it make it feel like it is!

Looking forward to renting the film to see what they did with that!

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