Girl With a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier

Published November 27, 2004

Girl With a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier

Book info

  • Title Girl With a Pearl Earring
  • Author Tracy Chevalier
  • Year 2000
  • Genres Fiction, Historical, Art

With precisely 35 canvases to his credit, the Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer represents one of the great enigmas of 17th-century art. The meager facts of his biography have been gleaned from a handful of legal documents. Yet Vermeer's extraordinary paintings of domestic life, with their subtle play of light and texture, have come to define the Dutch golden age. His portrait of the anonymous Girl with a Pearl Earring has exerted a particular fascination for centuries - and it is this magnetic painting that lies at the heart of Tracy Chevalier's second novel of the same title.


With a struggling family to feed, Griet is forced to work as a servant in the house of an artist and his family. She gets closer and closer to the man of the house, whilst becoming less and less popular with the family. Eventually, he asks her to pose for him and you just know it’s going to cause trouble.

Griet is so young and innocent that it’s actually almost sickly, but she has an edge to her that you wouldn’t think she could have. It’s very readable, considering that it’s set in the past, and it transports you back to that time easily.

Overall good, it was quite short so I enjoyed not taking too long reading it.

Revisited Oct 2019

I’m not sure why I picked this one up again but I dashed through it in double quick time. In the current climate, it reads very differently to how it did 15 years ago. Griet is young and innocent and totally put upon by the men surrounding her. Pressure inside the house she is serving compounded by pressure to marry from the butcher in the market as well.

Where is the time for herself? But even with that, she has some backbone, not letting the family get her down, particularly the kids. And it is very readable

Rating: 4 / 5

← Previous Fen by Freya North
Next → The Silver Pigs by Lindsey Davis