Friday, August 15, 2014

Friday Freebie: The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton

Congratulations to Yvonne Jefferson, winner of last week's Friday Freebie contest: a signed copy of Malcolm Brooks' debut novel Painted Horses.

This week's book giveaway is The Miniaturist, a new novel by Jessie Burton.  You may have seen the book highlighted earlier this week here at The Quivering Pen's monthly Front Porch Books feature--where you can also find a plot summary and an excerpt from the debut novel by the London-based author/ actress.  Here's a little more about Burton's path to publication, lifted from her website:
Over the past 7 years I’ve worked as an actress and an executive assistant in the City. While doing that, secretly--or not, if I didn't minimise the Word screen quickly enough--I wrote a novel. It's called The Miniaturist, and it's set in Amsterdam in 1686. It focuses on two women’s very different journeys to find a slice of freedom in a repressive, judgmental society. There’s a trial, a hidden love, a miniaturist who predicts the fate of her customers, a parakeet called Peebo and a plan to escape to the sea. It’s going to be published by Picador in the UK in July 2014, and by Harper Collins in the USA and Canada, as well as in 29 other languages, from Korean to Hungarian, Portuguese to Polish, Catalan to Japanese. I am delighted. To put it mildly....My image research for the book is on Pinterest, containing source material and photos I took in Amsterdam.

Burton posing in front of a replica of the UK cover
In this Q&A, Jessie Burton explains more about the inspiration behind the book:
I was visiting Amsterdam when I came upon this dolls' house in the Rijksmuseum. It had been built in 1686 and was a thing of true decorative beauty. The owner was a woman called Petronella Oortman, who had commissioned it as an exact replica of her own townhouse in the heart of the city. She had spent as much money on it as you might on a real house, and miniature pieces had been made for its interior as far away as Japan and China. I was so curious as to why she would miniaturise her existence, why she would purchase food she couldn't eat and chairs she couldn't sit on...and then there was the city of Amsterdam and its history. A place of trade and power, contradictions of outward modesty and bursting inward pomp--and the dolls' house was a perfect symbol of this, of the need for secrets, for control, for domestic harmony that covered over inner chaos....This book is set in 1686 because the real Petronella Oortman had a dolls' house commissioned for her in 1686. I wanted to honour that time, and yet I did not want to be a slave to it. Part of my intention was an impressionistic offering to the reader of what life might have been like then, certainly not to smother them with a drab historical recreation. I was as diligent as it was possible to be--and it was fascinating to discover the social habits, the food, the clothing, the grieving processes, the feasting--and then to realise, in many ways it was not so long ago, and love, and pain were very much experienced the same as they are now.

If you’d like a chance at winning a new hardback copy of The Miniaturist, simply email your name and mailing address to

Put FRIDAY FREEBIE in the e-mail subject line.  One entry per person, please.  Despite its name, the Friday Freebie runs all week long and remains open to entries until midnight on Aug. 21, at which time I’ll draw the winning name.  I’ll announce the lucky reader on Aug. 22.  If you’d like to join the mailing list for the once-a-week newsletter, simply add the words “Sign me up for the newsletter” in the body of your email.  Your email address and other personal information will never be sold or given to a third party (except in those instances where the publisher requires a mailing address for sending Friday Freebie winners copies of the book).

Want to double your odds of winning?  Get an extra entry in the contest by posting a link to this webpage on your blog, your Facebook wall or by tweeting it on Twitter.  Once you’ve done any of those things, send me an additional e-mail saying “I’ve shared” and I’ll put your name in the hat twice.

1 comment:

  1. The only thing better than seeing your name in print is knowing that it's because a brand new beautiful book is on its way to you. Thanks, David, I'm looking forward to reading Painted Horses. I've been hearing/reading good things about The Miniaturist and will be checking it out as well.