Friday, March 27

Book Review: Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier

Author: Tracy Chevalier
Title: Girl With a Pearl Earring 
Genre: Historical Fiction
Pages: 233
First Published: 1999
Where I Got It: My shelf (Used Book Store)

With precisely 35 canvases to his credit, the Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer represents one of the great enigmas of 17th-century art. The meager facts of his biography have been gleaned from a handful of legal documents. Yet Vermeer's extraordinary paintings of domestic life, with their subtle play of light and texture, have come to define the Dutch golden age. His portrait of the anonymous Girl with a Pearl Earring has exerted a particular fascination for centuries--and it is this magnetic painting that lies at the heart of Tracy Chevalier's second novel of the same title.
Girl with a Pearl Earring centers on Vermeer's prosperous Delft household during the 1660s. When Griet, the novel's quietly perceptive heroine, is hired as a servant, turmoil follows. First, the 16-year-old narrator becomes increasingly intimate with her master. Then Vermeer employs her as his assistant--and ultimately has Griet sit for him as a model.

This has been sitting on my shelf for quite some time. There was a lot of dust on it! 0.o I got it a while back because the movie had come out and everyone was raving about the book. Plus, I like that particular painting, so a nice little fiction about it would be fun. 

So why did I wait so long? I have no idea. I am glad I finally got myself to read it.

It was good. I had never read a book by this author (but I own two of her books), but she is beloved in the HF world and I can see why. She has a way of bringing the world alive. She draws up in from the first page and doesn't ever let you go. There isn't a lot of description, but it isn't really needed...the characters she writes about makes the world. I could see the houses and Griet's path every Sunday from the painter's house to her little shack with her parents. I loved it.

At first, though, I was having a hard time emotionally connecting with Griet. She rarely showed emotion to anything...even when a certain event with her sister happened. She seemed to show the bare minimum of emotion. It was annoying! However, as the story progressed you get to understand Griet more and understand she bottles everything in like me. The only thing that escapes is through her eyes, which is why her master (the painter) wanted to paint her. 

WHICH! They are suppose to have a "romance" of some sort, but I did not see it. Yes, they gave each other a couple looks and he touched her cheek once, but that was it. There was no kissing, embracing. She was just a muse to him for a hot second. The love and wanting of romance was all on Griet it seemed. When she couldn't handle it anymore she would run to her "fiance". FRUSTRATING! 

In the end, this was good. I am mad at myself for not reading this sooner. I still don't understand why I waited FOREVER to read this. Now, I must watch the movie even though the main character is played by an actress I think is totally overrated. Meh. ANYWAYS, I wish that there was more of a romance between Griet and the painter; like one kiss? Over all, though, this was a good book for any Historical Fiction lover. Out of five stars, I stamp this with 4. 

Favorite Character(s): Griet (even tho it took a few pages before I connected with her) and Maria Thins 
Not-so Favorite Character(s):  Cornelia (little freakin' brat who needed to be shoved into the river)


Blodeuedd said...

I liked it :)

Anachronist said...

I liked it as well - now go and watch the movie ;p. Preferably the dvd version with some nice scenes added.

Melliane said...

I heard great things about this one so it's nice you had a great time with it. I need to try one day.

Piecraft Bucharest said...

Haven't read this one either, but it sounds good, despite the frustrating non-romance :) Thanks for sharing it.

Carole Rae said...

B, :)

Ana, hahah will do

Melliane, you should!

Ramona, the summary over played the "romance". Oh well.