Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier

About the book

17th Century Holland. When Griet becomes a maid in the household of Johannes Vermeer in the town of Delft, 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. Tracy Chevalier’s extraordinary historical novel on the corruption of innocence and the price of genius is a contemporary classic perfect for fans of Sarah Dunant and Philippa Gregory.

Reviewed by Goodworth Clatford WI reading group:

A very visual book – painting very important. In another era she could have been more forthcoming. A clever writer. Social history well treated. A strong sense of place.

Star rating: ****
 

Read the book

Request to borrow a reading group set
 

16 thoughts on “Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier”

  1. Review by anon reading group:
    Tracy Chevalier has written a story which brings mid 17th Century Delft to life. Her wealth of research and ‘easy reading’ style makes even her imaginary characters as real as Vermeer and his family. Whatever the reason for the young girl – seemingly not well-off – to be wearing a pearl earring and an expression which has apparently earned her the title of ‘ Mona Lisa of the North’, the author’s explanation is good enough for us!
    Rating: ****

  2. Review by anon reading group:
    Tracy Chevalier has written a story which brings mid 17th Century Delft to life. Her wealth of research and ‘easy reading’ style makes even her imaginary characters as real as Vermeer and his family. Whatever the reason for the young girl – seemingly not well-off – to be wearing a pearl earring and an expression which has apparently earned her the title of ‘ Mona Lisa of the North’, the author’s explanation is good enough for us!
    Rating: ****

  3. Review by Milford Reading Group:
    Gave insight into life in Delft Greet, the girl not a victim as in the film, for the better. An interesting book.
    Star rating: ***

  4. Review by Ex Libris Reading group:
    Universally loved by all but one member who found it laborious and stilted. Thanks for help.
    No star rating:

  5. Review by Literary Ladies Reading Group:
    The general consensus was that it was an excellent book – very good descriptions of the surroundings, the paintings and life in seventeenth century Delft.
    Star rating: ****

  6. Review by Brockenhurst Reading Group:
    A beautifully written and constructed story much enjoyed by all the group. To add to our enjoyment, two members brought along books with copies of the paintings written about which added to the discussion.
    Star rating: ****

  7. Review by Lee Reading Group:
    A first person narrative offering a very subjective account of the imagined life of the girl in Vermeer’s famous portrait. Interestingly two of our male members identified totally with Griet (the girl), finding her very much the victim. 3 of the women disliked her. This is a multi textured narrative and you need to read between the lines. Created strong feelings within the group. A heated/funny and enjoyable debate.
    Star rating: ***

  8. Review by Bookworm Club:
    Easy read. True to life and very descriptive for the era. Beautifully written.
    Star rating: ***

  9. Review by Bookworm Club:
    Easy read. True to life and very descriptive for the era. Beautifully written.
    Star rating: ***

  10. Review by New Forest/Waterside U3A reading group:
    A beautifully constructed novel told simply and with great sense of time, people and place. The social relationships and particularly the positions of the various women vis-a-vis the men folk proved an excellent basis for discussion. Telling the story in the first person kept Griet firmly in the centre of the picture and did justice to the subject. This could have been a master class in creative writing.
    Star rating: ****

  11. Review by Reading Enthusiasts reading group:
    Beautifully written. It was very descriptive and we could easily imagine what life was like in Holland at the time. However, we found it very strange and there was a sexual under current. We were also waiting for something dramatic to happen but it didn’t.
    Star rating: ***

  12. Review by 2nd Fordingbridge U3A reading group:
    A good read and good atmosphere of time and place but difficult to have sympathy for any of the characters. The technical side of preparing for painting was interesting.
    Star rating: ***

  13. Review by North Baddesley WI Group 2:
    Vivid, colourful descriptions of the paintings and the setting of Delft in keeping with the artistic subject. A subtle. slowly unfolding story, which we greatly enjoyed.
    Rating: 4 Stars

  14. Review by North Baddesley WI Group 2:
    Vivid, colourful descriptions of the paintings and the setting of Delft in keeping with the artistic subject. A subtle. slowly unfolding story, which we greatly enjoyed.
    Rating: 4 Stars

  15. Review by Between the Leaves reading group:
    Lovely readable book, wonderful characters, beautifully written. A must read!
    Rating: *****

  16. Review by Sandy’s Reading Group
    An enjoyable book in which the characters came to life in a very believable way. Griet’s experiences were well described, evoking the hardships of a girl of her class. Easy to read with a strong narrative drive.
    Rating: ***

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.