Skip to main content

Book Review: Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier


When 16-year-old Griet's father loses his eyesight and can no longer work, she becomes a servant to the artist Johannes Vermeer in order to help support her family. From the start, she doesn't feel she belongs in the Vermeer household. The artist's wife, Catharina, is jealous of the girl because Griet is given access to her husband's studio ~ a place she is not allowed. One of their many children tries to sabotage Griet from the start. And the servant who is already in the home offers her a lukewarm welcome, to say the least.

In Girl with a Pearl Earring, Tracy Chevalier has written a historical novel that aims to reveal one possible story behind the Vermeer painting by the same name. She has taken the girl who appears in the painting, and brought her to life in the character of Griet. It's an interesting concept, and I really enjoyed her descriptions of the scenes where Vermeer actually creates the painting itself, as well as the explanation of why the painting was done in the first place.

But I've struggled to write this review, because while it was interesting to read about this time and place ~ 17th century Holland ~ I just never felt connected to the story or the characters. It felt a little flat to me. Reading the many reviews of this book, it seems the big thing is the romance between Griet and Johannes. But I never felt it. It seemed like she had a bit of a crush on him, but he never seemed to care for her. He was nice to encourage her artistic abilities, letting her help in the studio beyond just cleaning it. But that was all I got from their relationship. I kept thinking something more would happen. And I thought all the secrecy around her helping him in the studio was overdone.

I know this book has gotten great reviews, and I will be discussing it at book club later this month so I'm interested in hearing what others thought. But for me, while an easy read, it wasn't very interesting or engaging. I never felt an emotional connection to the story or the characters. I did enjoy the historical aspects of it, though, so that brings my rating up a bit.

My Rating: 3/5

Discussion questions for Girl with a Pearl Earring

This review was written based on copy of Girl with a Pearl Earring that I borrowed from the library.

Comments

  1. Sorry that this one didn't wow you. I usually find that Chevalier's novels add a little something different to historical fiction. The only book of hers I didn't really like was Burning Bright, although I have yet to read Remarkable Creatures.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I did enjoy the historical aspect, just had a hard time with the storyline itself.

      Delete
  2. Julie--I remember this novel as somewhat dry myself. With Vermeer's paintings, at least the landscapes, you have to lean right in to get the "gasp" factor of his technical brilliance, his deep love of his subjects. I kept leaning in to this novel and never quite gasped. I can imagine him pouring most of his intensity into his paintings and not his cohorts! Wife and kids included.

    Thanks for the review.

    Barbara Richardson
    www.barbarakrichardson.com

    ReplyDelete
  3. I just found this book on my shelf. Didn't even know I owned it. I recognized the cover from your blog and put it in my queue for reading. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Thanks for stopping by! I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Popular posts from this blog

Getting back to blogging

It seems that blogging has dropped to the bottom of my list for the past year, and was pretty low for the year or two prior to that. I love to read, and am continuing to do so, but as my regular readers know I haven't been around much. My last blog post was almost a year ago!!

There are many things that have taken me away from blogging. Work has been much more challenging and interesting these past few years, but that means I really don't want to get back on the computer when I get home at night - or on the weekends.

Family life has been more busy with kids having multiple activities in the evenings, leaving little time to just hang out and write about the books that I read.

I will admit to a bit of a Facebook addiction, which means way too much time spent scrolling through my newsfeed instead of doing something more productive. This is one of the things I'm working on and hoping that this will free up some time for getting back to the blog.

Overall, life is good. Work is …

Banned Books Week: Junie B. Jones by Barbara Park

This is the end of Banned Books Week and unfortunately, I haven't had a lot of time to write about banned books this year. But I did want to include at least one post about it, so today I wanted to share one of the book series that it seems most people are surprised to find on the list: Junie B. Jones by Barbara Park.

According to Wikipedia:
The Junie B. Jones series came in at #71 on the American Library Association's list of the Top 100 Banned or Challenged Books from 2000-2009. Reasons cited are poor social values taught by the books and Junie B. Jones not being considered a good role model due to her mouthiness and bad spelling/grammar. This is an interesting example of a banned book. Many times there are serious, controversial topics featured in books that are challenged. Things like homosexuality, drugs, vulgar language, etc. You can actually understand why people may not want their children to read those books, and why they may challenge their inclusion in school libra…

April Reading Review

Where exactly did April go? I swear it was just the middle of March and now it's May. Once again, I'm going to provide a quick review of each of the books I read last month. For the last two weeks of the month, I participated in the Spring Into Horror Readathon hosted by Michelle at Seasons of Reading. The only rule was that you had to read at least one book that was horror, thriller, etc. I read one book that qualified. With the exception of the first book in my list, the books I mention below were read during the readathon


My book club's May selection was Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson. I had started reading this nonfiction book about the author's work representing men, women and children who were on death row in March but finished the book in April. This is an eye-opening story that everyone at my book club discussion agreed should be required reading for law schools and police officers and even legislators who are making the laws related to judgements. I learned to…