Recommended by Lindsey Alexander
Described as ‘a jewel of a novel’ Tracy Chevalier’s ‘Girl With A Pearl earring’ does not fail to disappoint.
Set in the Dutchtown of Delft, famous for its handpainted blue porcelain, the story takes us into the world of it’s other most famous product, the 17th century artist Johannes Vermeer.
Aged just 17 Griet is sent to work in the Vermeer house as a maid, but even from her initial ‘interview’ it is clear Vermeer has been inspired by her.
Equally, Griet is mesmerised by the master’s studio and becomes the only maid allowed to clean it. When she is banished to a bedroom in the attic above the studio she begins mixing paints for him, and eventually she becomes his muse, much to his wife’s disgust.
Although a work of fiction, the novel gives us an amazing insight into life in the 17th century Netherlands, as well as a glimpse into the genuis that was Vermeer.
Griet is a likeable heroine whose hard but interesting life will touch everyone who reads her tale.