Book #3 Girl With A Pearl Earring

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Finding I have increasingly little time to read, I picked up this audio book at the library the other day. I knew Girl With A Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier had been made into a movie in 2003 starring Scarlett Johansson and Colin First, but I didn’t know much about it beyond that. As it turns out, the book is a fictional account based on the painting by the same name by Dutch master Johannes Vermeer. Chevalier created a back-story to the painting, focusing on the painter and his relationship with the girl, whom she names Griet. In reality, not much is known about Vermeer, and even less is known about the girl in the painting, but Chevalier does create an interesting story, which I found to be worth the time spent reading it.

Griet is born into a close-knit, working-class family. When her father, also an artist, is blinded in an accident, the family becomes destitute. Griet is sent to be a maid in the home of Johannes Vermeer. At the Vermeer home, Griet is worked to the bone caring for six (at the time) children, Vermeer’s haughty wife, and his business partner/mother-in-law. She is forced to work with other housemaids who treat her badly. However, Vermeer himself is kind, albeit distant, to Griet. After some time, she earns his trust and is allowed to clean his art studio. Once he is comfortable with her being in his studio, she is allowed to mix his paint. Their relationship deepens, and at last he chooses to make her the subject of this now famous painting.

The story is interesting and thought-provoking. The mystery behind the real girl in the painting deepens. Although I don’t believe this book will achieve classic status (as this is what I tend to read), I do believe it was a well-written piece. There were a few racy parts that I feel were not pertinent to the story and left me wondering what they included. Besides that, I felt the book was intriguing. It’s not on my must-read list, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.

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