NOTE: I was given early access to this manuscript in exchange for writing an impartial review. Thank you netgalley and Bloomsbury Publishing. Publication: August 30, 2022. Awarded four stars on Goodreads but I’d give THE HOUSE OF FORTUNE 4.5 stars if I could.
This sequel to Jessie Burton’s novel THE MINIATURIST exceeded my expectations. Her skill in incorporating rich historical detail, her subtle insights into genuine human emotion, and her ability to make each character vivid, believable, and distinct makes this a deeply engaging read.
It’s NOT that this is an ACTION-packed piece of historical fiction. It’s just a story about everyday life in 1700s Amsterdam where one family wrestles with financial difficulties, social standing, and the need to find a suitable husband for an eligible young woman. For those of you familiar with THE MINIATURST, this “family” consists of:
• Nella, the young bride in THE MINIATURIST, now in her mid 30s, is still living in her late husband’s prestigious home in central Amsterdam.
• Otto, the intelligent and loyal former family slave, now acts as man of the house.
• Cornelia continues to maintain their home — as housekeeper, cook, and all around caretaker.
• Thea, the 18 year-old daughter of Otto and Nella’s deceased sister-in-law (Marin), is now everyone’s central object of love in this unusually constructed family unit.
Typical for this era, Thea’s marital eligibility is seen as the key to making the Brandt family financially solvent again. But just what ARE the prospects for a mixed-race girl whose family has already suffered public shame? And how cooperative is Thea likely to be when the others try to put responsibility for the entire family’s future onto her shoulders? Might she not have romantic dreams of her own?
It’s a wonderful and cleverly-constructed story about the limitations and expectations of women in this time period. About the ways we are all influenced by our histories and too often, try to impose our deepest wishes on those we love most. And about the damage than can be done by those who keep secrets. Highly recommended.
More about the author, Jessie Burton.
You may be interested in my reviews of other historical novels by Jessie Burton: