The Miniaturist

The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton (Picador, 2014)

Introduced by Anne Brichto, Addyman Books 

#BooksellersBreakfast series


I just finished reading The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton published by Picador. It is a strangely atmospheric book. If Wuthering Heights sweeps you along with a mighty wind and a ferocious wave this novel trickles around you like a warm murky stream. I loved the setting of late 17th Century Amsterdam, the religious fundamentalism, the trade, the hypocrisy, the wealth, the guilds and the guilders. I hate using hackneyed phrases but this is a richly woven tale and I felt the points involving the prejudices and morales of the 1600s were well illustrated. 

In January I will have been making the Bookseller Breakfast for two years. Though they look better than they used to they don’t taste as good. The process of placing and photographing the food and the books means cold coffee and warm smoothies, lukewarm porridge and tea. Eggs Benedict need to be hot as do scrambled eggs. Avocado toast works at any temperatures at least, but while I was away I burnt my mouth twice with oatmeal as I had forgotten how hot, hot porridge can be.

This miniature breakfast, however, had no such effect. I had my hot tea and marmalade roll and then poured tiny bits of tea and milk into the little cups and jug. I cut a waffle biscuit into tiny triangles and tried to make some crumbs of honeycomb look like cake. I filled the sugar bowl for the first time as sugar features strongly in the story above.

I enjoyed all of this as it made me feel six years old again when I would make teas for my teddy bears and dolls. My father was quite skilled at making tiny cakes and tarts out of play dough for my dolls’ house.

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Derek Addyman and Anne Brichto first opened Addyman Books in 1987, in a room at the Blue Boar pub in Hay-on-Wye. Only six months later they moved into larger premises on nearby Lion Street. This rapidly expanded into the well-loved burrow of books that is still to be found there today.

In 1997 they opened a bookshop specialising in detective fiction, Murder and Mayhem, just across the road. And five years later The Addyman Annexe on Castle Street was opened.

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