Title: Girl With a Pearl Earring
Author: Tracy Chevalier
Genre: Historical Fiction/Romance
This engaging book tells a story about the events surrounding the creation of the painting “Girl With a Pearl Earring” by 17th century Dutch master Johannes Vermeer. Chevalier presents a fictional account of the artist, the model, and the story behind the painting. It follows the experiences of young Griet over the two years she serves in the Vermeer household and slowly grows apart from her grief-stricken family. After an explosion in the kiln in the tile factory where he works, Griet's father lost his sight and his trade. Forced by this tragic accident to get a job, she is hired as a maid by the painter. Being a Protestant in a Catholic home, and oddly quiet and obedient, the Vermeer family, with the exception of the painter himself, is not fond of Griet. She must find her place in the chaotic household, filled with five children (and counting) dominated by mischievous six-year-old Cornelia, who is fond of meddling and spying, run by his volatile wife Catharina and his shrewd mother-in-law Maria Thins, and her fiercely loyal maid Tanneke. The real trouble, however, begins when the artist takes a liking to the mysterious girl and allows her to clean his studio, a room forbidden even to Catharina, and this arrangement soon generates tension within the household. The innocent and perceptive manners of the girl attract Vermeer's attention, and he slowly draws her into his world. Growing closer together whilst she accompanies him in his painting, Griet is secretly granted a great privilege-- assisting him in his work. She begins by cleaning the objects he will later paint, but as he grows fonder of her she acquires greater responsibilities like grinding the paints and even purchasing the materials for the colors, an extremely delicate task. As if these “privileges” were not causing enough turmoil among the members of the family, matters worsen...