Books · Read in 2021 · Reviews

Book Thoughts: Girl With A Pearl Earring (Tracy Chevalier)

A quietly atmospheric novel, but something was missing…


Title: Girl With A Pearl Earring
Author: Tracy Chevalier
Genre: Fiction / Historical Fiction
First published: 1999
Edition: Paperback, published by Harper Collins in 2003

Griet, the young daughter of a tilemaker in seventeeth century Holland, obtains her first job, as a servant in Vermeer’s household. Through Griet’s eyes we see the complicated family, the society of the small town of Delft, and life with an obsessive genius. Griet loves being drawn into his artistic life, and leaving her former drudgery, but the cost to her own survival may be high. 


This book had been lingering on my shelves for a while and I finally picked it up. It was an easy read. It was well written and atmospheric, but I did not love it.

I think everyone knowns the painting this book is based on. It is one of the most famous paintings in the world. This fictional account of its birth is not based on much fact, as little is known about the painter or the painting itself. However, the author brought the time period to life with skilfull writing. The quiet tension between Griet and Vermeer is well written. Overall, this is a quiet sort of book and generally I like a quiet book, but I found something was missing, like the pearl in the painting. There is something niggling at me.

I enjoyed reading this book, but I did not find it particularly memorable. I am glad I finally read it and I would like to read more from this author.

5 out of 7 stars

3 thoughts on “Book Thoughts: Girl With A Pearl Earring (Tracy Chevalier)

  1. I enjoyed finding out about all the details of the paints and pigments, but found the “voice” of the book too modern. It is an easy read, indeed, though, in its favour!

    1. Maybe that’s it. I am not sure. Yes, the painting side was interesting, but maybe there was not quite enough of it. Maybe I would have liked for it to dig a little deeper.

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