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Girl with a Pearl Earring

by Tracy Chevalier

Books with reviews by our Reader Review Panel eBooks of the Month Historical Fiction Literary Fiction Modern and Contemporary Fiction Relationship Stories

LoveReading View on Girl with a Pearl Earring

20th Anniversary Edition

When Griet’s father, a notable tile-maker, is blinded she goes to work for artist Vermeer to support her destitute family. She’s an outsider from the start, a poor Protestant in a well-to-do Catholic household who’s regarded with suspicion by her fellow staff, especially when she alone is entrusted to venture into the master’s studio. Soon enough Griet experiences the magic of artistic creation, of seeing colour anew, of seeing everything anew. But, as her passion for art is aroused so too is an ache of guilt as she grows ever distant from her family. Then there’s the attention and lusts of the handsome butcher’s son who seeks her hand in marriage, and the lascivious approaches of her master’s wealthy patron. The intrigue and tension of the Vermeer household, and the ebb and flow of life in a 17th century Dutch market town are described in painterly detail through Griet’s keenly observant eyes as a swelling scandal spills to the outside world from within the duplicitous household. 

At once a compelling page-turner and a tour de force of tension and coming-of-age turmoil, this novel remains a must-read for historical fiction fans some twenty years after publication.

Joanne Owen

Girl with a Pearl Earring Synopsis

When Griet becomes a maid in the household of Johannes Vermeer, she thinks she knows her role: housework, laundry and the care of his six children. But as she becomes part of his world and his work, their growing intimacy spreads tension and deception in the ordered household and, as the scandal seeps out, into the town beyond.


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Girl with a Pearl Earring Reader Reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title. You can click here to read the full reviews.

I have read this book so many times. And even after re-reading this book so many times, it is and will always remain one of my favourite books, a story that is evergreen and has such an emotional story worth retelling. Full review

Ivana Atanasova

Slow, seductive historical fiction. An exquisite and evocative read. Full review

Clare Wilkins

A great classic of historical fiction about a world-famous portrait. Full review

Linde Merrick

A beautiful read – I’m already looking forward to re-reading it Full review

Sarah Webb

A beautifully written, easy to read story. A real delight. Full review

Pauline Braisher

Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier is still as wonderful as it was twenty years ago when it first came out. The challenges Griet faces as a servant, her growing love of art and sitting for a portrait that ultimately leads to her demise combined with powerful descriptions of life at that time in 1660's makes this a great read. Full review

Glenda Worth

I have to confess never to have read this beautiful book. The author takes such a famous paining by Vermeer and brings it to life with a wonderful story set in the 1600s. Full review

Jane Brown

A gently gripping story of how a beautiful young servant girl became the enigmatic subject of Vermeer’s famous painting. Well worth reading! Full review

Lynne Manton

A beautifully written, enthralling, evocative depiction of Delft in the time of Vermeer - a true page-turner. Full review

Susan Wallace

Tracy Chevalier has taken one painting and imagined the world it existed in, and it is sublime. Full review

Catherine Purcell

I love the atmosphere in this book and the detailed descriptions. The subtle storylines and the grace of Griet draw you into Vermeer's world. Full review

Nikki Telling

Worth reading this book gives an insight to life in Holland long ago. It also gives one an appreciation for art. It's a well written book full of feelings about what happened and about a maid's life back then. Full review

Lynette McCann

Republished after twenty years 'Girl with a Pearl Earring' is an imaginative snapshot into the life of 'Griet', a fourteen year old Dutch girl, who leaves her home, to live and work as a maid in the house of the painter, Vemeer. Full review

Peter Baiden

Girl with a Pearl Earring Press Reviews

'A portrait of radiance…Tracy Chevalier brings the real artist Vermeer and a fictional muse to life in a jewel of a novel.' Time

'It has a slow, magical current of its own that picks you up and carries you stealthily along…a beautiful story, lovingly told by a very talented writer.' Daily Mail

'A wonderful novel, mysterious, steeped in atmosphere, deeply revealing about the process of painting…truly magical.' Guardian

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9780007232161
Publication date: 07/02/2019
Publisher: Harpercollins Publishers
Format: Paperback

Book Information

ISBN: 9780007232161
Publication date: 7th February 2019
Author: Tracy Chevalier
Publisher: Harpercollins Publishers
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 288 pages
Genres: Reader Reviewed Books, eBook Favourites, Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction, Modern and Contemporary Fiction, Relationship Stories,
Categories: Historical fiction,

About Tracy Chevalier

Tracy Chevalier is the author of six previous novels, including the international bestseller Girl with a Pearl Earring, The Virgin Blue, Falling Angels, The Lady and the Unicorn, Burning Bright and Remarkable Creatures. Born in Washington, DC, she moved to London in 1984, where she lives with her husband and son. The film of Girl with a Pearl Earring, starring Colin Firth as Vermeer, was released in the UK in January. It was nominated for 10 BAFTAs and two Academy Awards. Photograph © Eammon McCabe

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