My 2017 in Books – ‘Girl with a Pearl Earring’

Girl with a Pearl Earring – Tracy Chevalier 

This novel is inspired by the painting of the same name by the Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer from the 17th century. The book is set in the Netherlands in the period when Vermeer was painting. This book is a fictional take on who the subject of the painting was and her relationship with the painter.

I love the concept of this book; imagining a whole story behind the mysterious girl in this painting and what led her to become the subject of this piece and what happened to her afterwards. There is always more than meets the eye and this painting merely captured the physical imagery of this girl and with no information to go on, people have wondered about who she was, given the direct and personal nature of the painting.

I really enjoyed this book, I found it easy to read. The story was told from the perspective of Griet, the girl with the pearl earring herself, and found her relatable and likeable. She becomes a maid in the household of Vermeer and we go through Griet’s struggles of finding her place, missing her family, the difficult relationships with some family members, and the slow build up as she becomes closer to the master of the household.

This was a beautiful imagining of the story behind the painting and it showed how stories can be complex and intricate and only those at the heart of it can know the truth. This was not a simple story of love or star crossed lovers; it was an interesting delve into life for a young woman during these times and the decisions she had to make to serve her family and her livelihood.

8/10

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