July 12, 2019 by TinyNavajo
Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier
♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ◊
*Published September 30, 2003*
This was a book that was part of a local librarian traveling book project. I was doing mine for @youthbookreview’s from Tumblr, and one of my friends at work was excited and wanted to try it. This was her pick and it was an interesting book.
In seventeenth-century Delft, there’s a strict social order—rich and poor, Catholic and Protestant, master and servant—and all know their place. When Griet becomes a maid in the household of the painter Johannes Vermeer, she thinks she knows her role: housework, laundry, and the care of his six children. She even feels able to handle his shrewd mother-in-law; his restless, sensual wife; and their jealous servant. What no one expects is that Griet’s quiet manner, quick perceptions, and fascination with her master’s paintings will draw her inexorably into his world. Their growing intimacy sparks whispers; and when Vermeer paints her wearing his wife’s pearl earrings, the gossip escalates into a full-blown scandal that irrevocably changes Griet’s life.
Written with the precision and focus of an Old Master painting, Girl With a Pearl Earring is a vivid portrait of colorful seventeenth-century Delft, as well as the hauntingly poignant story of one young girl’s rite of passage.
The most enjoyable part of this book was that it was a historical fiction novel and it delved into how a very famous painting Girl with a Pearl Earring came to be and the inspiration behind it. While a bit of a stretch the story was enough that I didn’t mind it.
Griet, daughter of a renowned title painter, has to go and work to help support her family. In doing so, she learns to not only appreciate beauty but paintings not of her religion as well. She also learns more about herself, something that she wouldn’t have learned staying where she was comfortable.
I like it when stories take something we don’t know more about, such as paintings, and gives a backstory to how it came about. I also learned there is a movie based off of the book. This is not a movie I want to see, but the book was interesting enough.
What do you think of books that give backstories to paintings? Or backstories to things that we know very little about? Comment below and let me know!