The House of Fortune
by Jessie Burton
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Pub Date 30 Aug 2022 | Archive Date 29 Aug 2022
Bloomsbury USA, Bloomsbury Publishing
Alive with the magic of Amsterdam, the enchanting new historical novel from the author of the sensational New York Times bestseller The Miniaturist, which has sold more than two million copies.
In 1705 Amsterdam, Thea Brandt is coming of age, trying to grapple with her family's secrets and her own identity as a young Dutch-African woman. She's drawn to the theater and an artistic life, but with her family in serious financial decline, pressure is on Thea to marry up in society.
As her father and Aunt Nella work desperately to save the family home and catastrophe threatens to engulf them, Thea seeks refuge in the arms of her secret lover, Walter, the chief set-painter at her favorite theater. But the thrill of their romance is shadowed by another secret she keeps close: Her birthday marks the day her mother, Marin, died in labor. Thea's family refuses to share the details of the story, just as they seem terrified to speak of the shadowy artist from their past whose tiny figurines seem to capture the things most carefully hidden away. Aunt Nella believes the solution to Thea's problems is to find her a husband, and an unexpected invitation to Amsterdam's most exclusive ball seems like a golden opportunity. But when a miniature figure of Walter turns up on Thea's doorstep, it becomes clear that someone out there has another fate in mind for the family- and that perhaps the new beginning Thea seeks won't depend on a man.
A feat of sweeping, magical storytelling, The House of Fortune is an unputdownable novel about love and obsession, family and loyalty, and the fantastic power of secrets.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 63 members
What a wonderful surprise to get a sequel, and again, a triumph….I loved losing myself in the world of 1700s Amsterdam, and it’s another engaging story, with the ever-present miniturist.
Happy to chat it up, and here comes another slam-dunk.
I’m a huge fan of Jessie Burton since I read The Minaturist and The House of Fortune definitely didn’t disappoint. Since I finished the first book, I’ve been curious about the life of Thea Brandt.
The House of Fortune does an excellent job of tackling a complicated family history and the determination of Nella, Otto, and Cornelia to protect Thea. It also beautifully articulates the desires of a young woman to find love and live life on her own terms.
Again, I was sad to see this book end and I am hopeful that she’ll write another story about the Brandt family!
I had read The Miniaturist previously but didn’t realize until I got well into this story that it was the same author. It didn’t make any difference. This book stands very well on its own merit as a very interesting story about a time in Amsterdam’s history and how the people of that time lived and functioned. Their social mores and attitudes. Their belief in what was right and wrong. I really enjoyed this book.
I was thrilled to have been granted early access to THE HOUSE OF FORTUNE, Jessie Burton's sequel to THE MINIATURIST, which I read in one fell swoop. THE MINIATURIST was one of those books that had the perfect balance of gorgeous prose, taut narrative conflict, and characters that I grew to love. It also possessed a perfect landing of an ending: heartbreaking yet uplifting. Reader, it made me weep.
Set eighteen years later, THE HOUSE OF FORTUNE picks up Burton's story, this time focusing on Thea, Nella's teenage niece, who's stumbling into adulthood. (I'm hesitant to write more about THOR's set up to avoid spoiling THE MINIATURIST for those who haven't yet read it.) To be honest, I found the first third of THOF akin to visiting with distant friends one hasn't seen in a long time—pleasant but not especially compelling. I think part of the reason for the lack of narrative drive in THOF is that the miniaturist herself feels shoe-horned into the plot; the novel itself wouldn't change that much without her involvement. THOF also lacks a strong, memorable antagonist to create tension. However, THOF picks up about halfway through; I couldn't put it down.
Bottom line: THE HOUSE OF FORTUNE is a wonderful read, but may be particularly compelling to those who haven't read THE MINIATURIST or are invested in its characters. I suspect individual mileage is really going to vary for it. As for myself, five stars for Burton's stellar prose and touching ending.
I love it so much I bought a physical copy of the book, just to have on the shelf after reading it. I just adore the setting and Jessie's writing, I find it very captivating. I read the previous book years ago, but it didn't end up being an issue. The characters are well-developed and I loved all of the family dynamics.
Thank you NetGalley for the ARC!
Although I loved The Miniaturist, I didn't think I needed more in that universe. Well, I was very wrong! This is a beautifully woven tale that takes place 18 years later, focusing on Otto, Nella, Cornelia, and Otto & Marin's daughter, Thea.
Money is an ongoing issue as the household tries to keep their place in a society that none of them seem to like very much, while Thea is busy visiting the playhouse and falling in love with a painter there. Chaos ensues.
I love Jessie Burton's writing, it's very lyrical and beautiful without being stuffy or overly flowery. It's just very comfortable and delightful prose. I flew through this book and wished there were 100 pages more, continuing the story from the very fitting place that the characters ended up.
This is a sequel to The Miniaturist which I've previously read and loved it.
1705 in Amsterdam
Thea is eighteen years old and it's time for her to get married. With her family reputation it will be hard to find a suitable husband who will secure Thea's future. Aunt Nella’s mission of finding a wealthy husband for Thea, comes to an end when she meets Jacob van Loss at the ball. Thea, however, falls in love with Walter, a painter who works in the playhouse in which Thea finds refugee from daily family problems. Thea and Walter betrothed in secret and it seemed that Thea won her love until she starts to receive miniatures followed by the blackmail notes. Meanwhile, her father and aunt are struggling to manage their lives financially. Thea's father, Otto, lost his job and there is nothing they can do to live comfortably. Unless if Aunt Nella agrees to give her childhood property for a pineapple orchard that Otto is so desperate to start with Caspar Witsen. But Nella will never agree to that business in the place she wants to forget. Busy with family problems and husband arrangements, they don't notice presence of miniaturist in their lives once again after eighteen years of absence.
A wonderful book with interesting family story from Amsterdam in the year of 1705. I love stories where dreams do come through and when family never gives up on each other.
It is such an enchanting story full of secrets and drama that I had a hard time putting this book down. The writing is brilliant, the story is very engaging. Love this book and I hope there will be another one.
Thank you @NetGally, @BlumsburyPublishing, and @JessieBurton for a beautiful ARC.
While marketed as a stand alone, companion novel, I'm glad I decided to pick up The Miniaturist before picking up House of Fortune as it follows the same family eighteen years later. Burton's writing is so delightful and charming and beautiful that this book could totally stand on its own, and she does a great job of explaining the overarching plot points/themes from the first book, but if reading this without reading the Miniaturist first, you are exposed to the final climax of TM which will kind of ruin that reading experience.
Anyways, having read the Miniaturist a week prior to picking it up, I had the Brandt family living in my head rent free and I desperately wanted to go back into that world visit that tragic little family in 1700s Amsterdam. Burton does such a great job of writing such complex, heartbreaking characters that are full of equal parts hope and dread and it's almost unbearable to see them suffer time and time again ... but there's always that final moment that is so sweet and envelopes you in a warm hug. Things can change... new beginnings are possible.
I think I may have liked this one more than the first! But that might also be due to the fact that starting this book, I was already totally endeared by the family and Marin took a little getting used to in book 1.
The tension in this novel is palpable. An unusual family made up of a half Dutch, half African girl, her father, her aunt, a cook, and a cat live in constant stress in a house in Amsterdam. They are on the brink of ruin. Their home looks prosperous, but it is anything but. Family secrets and scars abound. The author has you on the edge of your seat until the end of the book.
This skillfully written novel takes a slightly unorthodox family and spins a tale that makes you care deeply about the main characters. By the end of the book, you'll feel great relief that they are finally settled, and not in a way you or any of the characters imagined.
The only big flaw in this book was the figure of the miniaturist. It has been several years since I read this author's previous book, and I did not remember enough about this character to make sense of the many, many references to her. Four and a half stars, rounded up.
What a wonderful surprise! I didn't realize this was the sequel to The Miniaturist until I was 20% into The House of Fortune. So I did what any sane person would do and quickly watched the TV version of The Miniaturist to refresh my memory (Anya Taylor-Joy was amazing as Nella and every scene looked like Dutch masterpiece paintings!!). It was interesting and smart of Jessie Burton to begin the sequel not when The Miniaturist had ended but 18 years later, when Thea turned 18; same age as Nella was in The Miniaturist. Even though 18 years had passed, Nella and Thea had to face the seemingly impossible choices for family, honour, love, and future. Even though The House of Fortune felt slightly less mystical than The Miniaturist, it was still a very captivating story that I thoroughly enjoyed.
Thank you NetGalley and publisher for an ARC in exchange of a honest review.
I so loved this book and getting to return to Bella’s world. I read this just after a trip to the Netherlands, which definitely enhanced the experience, but Burton has such a gift for sensory writing that I’m certain a reader who has never been to Amsterdam would enjoy it every bit as much. It’s historical fiction wrapped in a mystery wrapped in a love story about chosen family, and I loved every page of it.
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