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. Chevalier vividly evokes the complex domestic tensions of the household, ruled over by the painter’s jealous, eternally pregnant wife and his taciturn mother-in-law. At times the relationship between servant and master seems a little anachronistic. Still, Girl with a Pearl Earring does contain a final delicious twist.
Definitely worth the read, however it was just a really good book to me. In this case it was enough. Though I found life in an artists world during the 1600’s very interesting, I was continually frustrated with the female character because her passive nature. Of course this made sense for the book and the time period, it’s just that Griet pushed all my buttons as a woman. The author was fantastic at keeping you poised for wanting more story because of this, wondering what Griet was going to do to untangle herself from the emotional undercurrent that was dragging her further out. In the end, the book paid off. I think if I wasn’t an artist who studied art history already, the book would have been more interesting because it would have had more surprises. If you’re looking for a historic peek into the life of an artist, there is no better way to absorb it than by reading this book. You will be transported to another time as if you were there. If you read it, let me know what you thought about the book.