I rate this book 4/5 stars. This book is full of beautiful references to painting’s by Vermeer. How he sees colours, how he processes his work. How an artist spends hour upon hour sitting in front of the easel and just ‘seeing’ how he wants to paint the picture. The book is about love, hardships of life, relationships in the home and in the workplace.
Griet’s family were forced to send her and her brother out to work after her father was involved in an accident that left him blind.
Her parent’s arranged a job for her. Her new employer’s were with the Painter Vermeer and his wife, Catharina, who is continuously pregnant and giving birth to child after child. Catharina holds much jealousy and distrust towards Griet.
Catharina’s mother, Maria Thins, and her loyal personal maid, Tanneke, make life more interesting for Griet. Some days they are good to her, other days they want to punish her for things that she usually hasn’t wronged in. But life as a poor maid for a large family can never be easy.
Although Griet and her painter barely talk throughout the book, you can see their relationship grow. You recognise his trust in her and you know of the underlying feelings between the two.
Where there’s a girl close to becoming a woman, there is always a man who likes to cause trouble. The one who pay’s for Vermeer’s artwork, van Ruijven. He is continuously trying to dishonour Griet with his sly smiles, his wandering hands whenever he corners Griet. Using his wealth and power to gain what he thinks should come free.
Griet has also attracted the attention of another man. The butcher’s son. He courts Griet, openly gaining himself an invite to meet her parents. Due to the circumstances, her parents encourage Griet to be nice to Pieter the son. If she were to marry the butcher’s son, they would never go hungry again.
I don’t want to include any spoilers yet I can’t help but to state my disappointment in regards to the ending of this book. I feel like I’m left yearning for more. Like this book was pointless but at the same time I couldn’t put the book down. I enjoyed every scene with Griet and her painter. How she feels love and loyalty to Vermeer and I wish she had chosen a different path for herself.
Recommended read, but I would say this book is probably more for females and art lovers who pay attention to detail.