For years I’ve owned a copy of Tracy Chevalier’s best-selling novel Girl With a Pearl Earring and like countless other books in my personal library I’ve never read it. But about a week ago I was seized by the urge to finally read Chevalier’s novel. Not only have I been craving fiction, but I’ve also been itching to read more books from my personal collection, as opposed to reading stuff from the public library. So after hearing a well-read co-worker praise the book one afternoon I figured it was time at last to give Girl with a Pearl Earring a chance. After a slow start (mostly because I was trying to read several other books at the same I time) I quickly finished it. And I have to say I enjoyed it.
Since it’s a well-known novel I won’t say much about the plot, except it’s set in 17th century Holland and revolves around Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer and his household. It’s told from the perspective of his housemaid, a young but surprisingly intelligent girl from a recently impoverished family. As the story unfolds we catch glimpses of class differences, religious tension, gender inequality, sexual awakenings, jealousy and of course painting.
As I mentioned earlier, I liked Chevalier’s novel. Her writing is good and I thought she did a fine job capturing the young protagonist’s voice. The story seemed to flow nicely with the characters seeming believable and quite capable of holding my interest. Looking back on the novel I have no complaints. Who knows, maybe this fine novel will help inspire me to read more fiction. I guess only time will tell.