Tag Archives: Media Specialist

The Miniaturist. A Propensity to Discuss review.

The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton

Yes, I am a librarian/media specialist. And yes, I buy books for the media center all the time (you can read about that process in this post). And yes, I LOVE to read but very rarely do I have the time to read at work. I am usually helping students with computer issues, teaching kids and adults how to use computers to do exactly what they want (sounds strange for high school students and teachers to need that help, but you’d be surprised), helping students find the right book to read and a myriad of other tasks.

So if I ever take out a book during the day and take the time to stop and read, it is a REALLY good book and it has bewitched me, body and soul as Mr. Darcy so eloquently put it.  The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton is one of those books. I could not get enough of it. I could not put it down. I read every spare minute. So what had my attention, you ask?

When Petronella “Nella” Oortman turns 18, her mother arranges for her to marry Johannes Brandt of Amsterdam, who is in his late 30s, to save their family after Nella’s father drank away most of their money and then died, leaving them nearly destitute. Nella met Johannes a couple of times before the marriage but basically knows very little about him.

The Miniaturist. A Propensity to Discuss review.

When she arrives in Amsterdam, she is met at the house by his sister Marin, who in most aspects is the head of the house, Otto, a former slave from Surinam who was freed by Johannes and Cornelia, the maid. The fact that Marin takes the lead of the house is damaging to Nella’s already low self-esteem. Add to this a husband who is rarely home and does not interact with his wife when he is there and Nella cannot figure our where she belongs in this new life she is supposed to forge.

When Johannes presents her with a miniature replica of their home as a wedding gift, she is not only confused by the gift that she sees as a toy but also angry that he would think so little of her as to believe she would be interested in such an expensive waste of time and money.

However, when Marin gives her the name of a miniaturist in Amsterdam and money of her own to pay for the items, she decides to hire out pieces for the house. When she receives the items that she ordered, she also receives pieces that she did not order and that seem to mock her life and her situation. Nella, furious, sends word to the miniaturist not to send anything else.

But as Nella’s life becomes more complicated, the miniatures keep coming and seem to not just mock her life, but to foretell it. While terrified of what the miniaturist will send next and yet terrified that no more will arrive, Nella sets out to get her life, her marriage, and her house in order, just as the walls seem to be falling down around her.

Detailed and intriguing, this novel deposits you smack in the middle of a macabre world of 1860s Amsterdam where the citizens are encouraged or maybe somewhat commanded by the Church to spy on their neighbors and to turn them in for anything that the Church deems impure, even the “idol worship” of gingerbread men and dolls, not to mention the “wickedness” of money, though no Priest would ever turn down a quickly palmed bribe.

This beautiful work is a rich tapestry of history, intrigue, love, hatred and family and exactly to what lengths people will go to protect those they love and seek vengeance against those believed to have inflicted harm or wrongdoing against them.

The Miniaturist. A Propensity to Discuss review.

Burton first saw the dollhouse owned by Petronella Oortman (above) which does actually exist in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam and decided to tell a fictional story about its owner. And I am so very happy that she did.

5 Stars. A Propensity to Discuss Review.

This post contains affiliate links. I would never include an affiliate link on any product that I would not completely endorse. So if you choose to purchase through this link, I get a small payment that does not affect your price at all. And I whole-heartedly recommend these linked products!

Check out all the books I have reviewed on the blog by clicking this link.

The audio version of The Miniaturist read by Davina Porter is also available. 


10 Reasons why I think Amazon Prime is worth the cost.

I am not a huge fan of going out and shopping around looking through racks, driving/walking from store to store trying to figure out what those on my gift list might like. I am just not big on shopping and I have a large Christmas list. Ugh!

9 Reasons why I think Amazon Prime is worth the cost. A Propensity to Discuss Post.

However, put a laptop in my lap, connect me to wi-fi, and I am a shopping fiend!

This year for Christmas I purchased 62 gifts, 7 books, 1 movie and received 1 free gift and I received all but 1 of those with free shipping and within 2 days due to my membership with Amazon Prime.

I started my Prime membership a couple of years ago and I can honestly tell you that for me it has more than paid for itself. I do realize it is not for everyone, but there are a few reasons I’d like to point out why it is worth it for me.

I’m sure I’ve mentioned that I’m a media specialist, so it goes without saying that I purchase a lot of books. The majority come from a company that sells to libraries and media centers, but if I need something to be delivered quickly, I generally go with Amazon. As a more than avid reader (see My reading habits as seen through memes) I also purchase quite a few books for myself. 🙂

Also, as previously mentioned, I make a lot of other purchases online as well. Amazon has pretty much anything and everything. I have never searched on it for a way to hide a body, but I would be willing to bet you can buy something for just that purpose. Just kidding, but I rarely have a search come back with no results.

The 10 reasons that Amazon Prime is worth it to me are as follows:

1) Free 2 day shipping

The majority of Prime Eligible items are shipped for free and are received within 2 days. Yes, 2 days! That is so awesome! Have I mentioned that I am not an extremely patient person? Well, I’m not, so waiting a week or else paying extra for speedy delivery is just not high on my happy list. But even I can wait 2 days!

And did I mention shipping is free on Prime Eligible items? Yep…Free!

There is also FREE Same-Day Delivery in eligible zip codes. For more information, go to Order with Prime FREE Same-Day Delivery. This is for major cities, basically, but, hey, I can hope, can’t I, that they will expand this? To check your ZIP Code click this sentence.

9 Reasons why I think Amazon Prime is worth the cost. A Propensity to Discuss Post.

Same day delivery options…for now.


2) Prime Movies/TV

Unlimited streaming of movies and TV programs. There are tons of these that are available free to Prime members. Not only that, but some of the items are exclusive.

For example I began watching Downton Abbey after it had been on TV for about 5 episodes. I started watching from the beginning using Amazon Prime. Turns out, I had all the episodes for the entire season available to me before they appeared on PBS. That takes binge watching to a whole new level!

3) Prime Music

Unlimited, no ads and hundreds of ready-made playlists. Plus you can make your own playlist from more than a million songs! For no additional money!

4) Prime Photos

Secure unlimited photo storage in Amazon Cloud Drive. 

5) Prime Early Access

Get 30-minute early access to Lightning Deals on Amazon.com and new events on MyHabit.com, a designer shopping website with some pretty good deals.  

6) Kindle Owners’ Lending Library and Kindle First

If you also own a Kindle, there are thousands of books that you can borrow from the lending library and read and not have to purchase! YAY!! You also get early access to download a new book for free every month from the Kindle First picks.

7) Deals and Discounts, Compliments of Amazon Family

These include 20% off diapers through Subscribe & Save and 15% off eligible products from your baby registry. For more information go to Get 20% off Diaper Subscriptions or About the Completion Discount.

8) Membership Sharing

If 2 adults in the same household both have accounts, the membership can be shared between them.

9) Customers who bought this also…

This is NOT prime exclusive, but quite honestly, it is one of my absolute favorite things about Amazon.com. It is a little bit like “Big Brother” but I love that I can go in and see what other books/items are similar to the things that I like. I can also customize this if there is something I did not like, I can take it off of my history and it will stop showing me similar items.

10) Convenience.

For me, the biggest reason for shopping from Amazon is convenience. If I think of something that I need/want at 9:47 on a Tuesday night, I can just pop on over to Amazon, search for it, check the reviews, and purchase if I decide to do so. In my pajamas. And I don’t have to go anywhere near Spaghetti Junction or a crowded parking lot!

Easy peasy.


For me, Amazon Prime is worth it. However, I purchase from Amazon quite a bit probably because of the convenience most of all. I have faced facts, I am not a patient person. That being said, getting the item in 2 days helps with that character flaw.

While I know that Prime is a good choice for me, I also know that it may not be the right fit for everyone. If you don’t order a good bit from Amazon, don’t pay the extra. However, if you have paid more than about $50 in a year for shipping costs from Amazon products, I think it would be worth it, especially with all the extras that you get.

Just my 2 cents.



The links on this page go to Amazon-Smile. I do not receive any kickbacks, promotions or privileges from this website. I simply chose this site because it is user-friendly, has plenty of reviews on each book and proceeds from Amazon Smile go to the charity the buyer chooses. My charity of choice for this site is the Worldwide Syringomyelia & Chiari Task Force Inc. Established on September 23, 2014, the Worldwide Syringomyelia & Chiari Task Force Inc. is a non-profit 501c3 organization.  Their mission is to educate the world about Syringomyelia.  Their purpose is to educate the world about this rare disease and provide those diagnosed (including me) with hope by providing durable medical equipment, prescription assistance, and excellent resources within the medical community.