Posted in books, films & DVD, Television

The Miniaturist

I would like to watch this enjoyably atmospheric BBC Television adaptation of the novel The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton which is out on DVD. It concerns Petronella (Nella) Oortman, the poor, eighteen-year-old daughter of an impoverished and recently deceased country gentleman whose Mother advises her to marry a wealthy merchant named Johannes Brandt, who is rich and in his late thirties. Following the wedding Nella moves to Johannes Brandt’s luxurious home in Amsterdam where she meets his aloof cold sister Marin, who is in her twenties, and the servants Cornelia and Otto. However Nothing is as Nella expects. Marin and Johannes behave suspiciously, Then when Johannes, eventually does come home from his busy work he seems curiously uninterested in Nella, treating her more like a friend than a wife.

Brandt gives Nella a wedding present of a dollhouse designed to look like their nine-story home in miniature, Which Marin considers a waste of money. Nella asks a miniaturist to add realistic furnishings to it. These are delivered by a young chap named Jack Philips. Nella notices that the three items she ordered are suspiciously lifelike. including models of Johannes’ two dogs, a chair and a cradle. Gradually The miniaturist, whom she never meets, begins sending her more lifelike dolls and furnishings which are eerily accurate giving Otto serious misgivings about the miniaturist and soon Nella also starts to feel uncomfortable.

Meanwhile Johannes continues working for the Meermanses whose wealth consists of a large store of sugar from Surinam. Agnes is the overdressed and bling-laden wife, Frans the indulgent husband. Agnes loves to play status games, and flaunt their supposed wealth . So Nella decides she’s going to visit Johannes at his place of work however upon arrival she gets a bit of a shock.

Nella discovers many other secrets from Cornelia and encounters a mysterious woman in town. Agnes also suspects that Johannes is up to no good when she witnesses something shocking which could get Johannes executed. Then Otto and Johannes disappear and Gradually Nella discovers a world of secrets, lies and religious hypocrisy, whose pious façade disguises a convoluted web of illicit passion, Murder and Jealousy involving Johannes, Otto, Cornelia, Jack, Frans, Agnes and Marin, who is also hiding a rather large secret of her own regarding Frans Meermans. Meanwhile The Miniaturist continues sending miniatures together with cryptic messages. These start taking on an ever more symbolic nature, and seem to forshadow reality until it appears as if the Miniaturist herself actually has the power to influence the events in peoples lives through her miniatures…

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