The Miniaturist book club questions

Ten questions for book club discussions about The Miniaturist, compiled by Jessie Burton herself and her editor Francesca Main.

04/12/2017
2 minutes to read

If you've been reading Jessie Burton's The Miniaturist in your book group, or feel inspired to having watched the enthralling BBC One adaptation, these ten questions, compiled by Jessie Burton and her editor Francesca Main, will help kick off your discussions.

  1. How would you describe the sense of place in The Miniaturist, and how does the novel present seventeenth century Amsterdam?
  2. What does the gift of the cabinet house symbolise to Nella in terms of her marriage to Johannes and her own status?
  3. The Brandt household is full of secrets. Which made the biggest impression on you and why?
  4. Did your attitude to the characters remain consistent throughout the novel, or did your loyalties shift as you kept reading? Which character provoked the strongest reaction from you?
  5. How would you describe Nella’s relationship with Marin?  In what ways do they conflict, and are they more alike than they think?
  6. What do you think was the most significant cause of the Brandt’s downfall?
  7. Do you think the miniaturist is a magical force or a human one? What is the most important thing that Nella learns from her?
  8. To what extent do you think Nella was in control of her own fate, or was she at the mercy of those around her? 
  9. How did seventeenth century Dutch society view women, and how different is life for women today?
  10. If you were Nella and had to take up her role at the end of the book, what would you do next?


The Miniaturist

by Jessie Burton

Book cover for 9781509857487

On an autumn day in 1686, eighteen-year-old Nella Oortman knocks at the door of a grand house in the wealthiest quarter of Amsterdam. She has come from the country to begin a new life as the wife of illustrious merchant trader Johannes Brandt, but instead she is met by his sharp-tongued sister, Marin. Only later does Johannes appear and present her with an extraordinary wedding gift: a cabinet-sized replica of their home. It is to be furnished by an elusive miniaturist, whose tiny creations mirror their real-life counterparts in unexpected ways . . .

The Miniaturist is a million-copy bestselling debut novel by Jessie Burton and a major BBC TV series.