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Girl With A Pearl Earring

by Tracy Chevalier
Synopsis: Griet is a sixteen year old girl living in Delft who is forced to support her family by taking a job as maid to the household of the dutch painter Johannes Vermeer. Her duties in the artist's studio soon become her only escape from a life of drudgery. Thus is she drawn into the magical world of the artist and his art... only to eventually become the subject of one of his most reknown paintings. You will want to examine every detail of each Vermeer painting once you have read this book!

Discussion Starter:

Did you find Griet to be a likeable heroine? How well could you relate to her? What about Vermeer?

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Book Venue's Reader Reviews:

Reviewer: Danielle
The story was awful. The characters were, as a whole, BORING, the plot transparent... i knew what would happen halfway through the book, it's a good read for anyone who enjoys exceedingly boring and unadventurous novels.

Reviewer: D. Stanley
What an outstanding piece of work! Not only the Vermeer painting, but this fictious novel based on its origin. The author's reach into the unknown world of this particular painting and all it shows to the world is wonderful. A story of a young woman, who must work as a maid to support her family after her father's unfortunate accident, and her life encompassed by light and dark, servitude and freedom, all within the tiny town of Delft. You are held captive by an intriguing story and a wonderful portrait that speaks of one thing, but then whispers of something else. A must read!

Reviewer: TK
This novel is one of the worst I have ever read. The storyline is dull and uncompromising and Griet is one of the most pathetic heriones in modern fiction. There is absolutely no mystery to the plot or the characters, and it never takes off. The only reason i got to the end of it was because I kept thinking it must go somewhere soon, but it never did. However it is a very good description of life in 17th century Delft, but so is any Dutch history book, and I don't think that good depictions of towns make a good story.

Reviewer: Sharon
Being of Dutch ancestry, I am a bit partial to the general setting of this book. But that aside, I found that the story itself really sparked my imagination and after I had read it I saw Vermeer's paintings in a whole new light. I thought that Griet had an unusual quality about her, not your usual fiesty heroine. I liked her narration tremendously. Her attitudes brought about by 17th century society were a little hard to relate to, but she puts them forth very matter-of-factly. In this book she faces all of the trials and tribulations of her times with a quiet dignity and strength. Vermeer is portrayed somewhat enigmatically, but after searching for more information about him on the internet, it appears that there really is not very much factual knowledge of him, so maybe it is best that his character is not as clearly defined. Although the real story of the portrait and the painter will probably never be known, this is one account that is sure to make you wonder about it.

If you have read it, please vote!
(1 star) Don't bother.
(2 stars) Good enough to finish.
(3 stars) It was okay...
(4 stars) I liked it!
(5 stars) Great! I recommend it.

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Related Links:
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The Official Book Site
Vermeer Posters & Prints
The Paintings of Vermeer
Read An Excerpt
Quotes From the Book
What Did Vermeer Look Like?
- No one know for sure, but the shadowy figure to the left in "The Procuress" is thought to be a self portrait, possibly the only picture of Vermeer in existence.

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Further Reading Suggestions:

The Dance of Geometry by Brian Howell "...three masterfully interwoven imagined episodes from the life of Johannes Vermeer..."
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Vermeer: A View of Delft by Anthony Bailey "... an intriguing portrait of Vermeer's life and character, long lost in history..."
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Tulip Fever by Deborah Moggach "... a delightfully conceived story which offers a new dimension to what really goes on within the apparently placid domestic interiors of 16 beautifully reproduced Dutch paintings."
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Girl in Hyacinth Blue, by Susan Vreeland ...the tale of an alleged 36th Vermeer painting, and the people who have owned it.
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The Music Lesson, by Katharine Weber - More great Vermeer fiction!
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