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Girl with a Pearl Earring    by Tracy Chevalier order for
Girl with a Pearl Earring
by Tracy Chevalier
Order:  USA  Can
Dutton, 2001 (1999)
Hardcover, Paperback

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* * *   Reviewed by G. Hall

This very unusual book creates a story behind the famous Vermeer painting of a young woman wearing a pearl earring. The novel is set in Delft in the late seventeenth century. Griet, its main character, is a servant in the Vermeer household who becomes the subject of the well-known painting.

This was a very interesting time in Delft when the prosperous middle class were becoming art patrons. Chapman skillfully depicts Griet's powerless position as a servant and how she is drawn into helping Vermeer prepare paints and eventually to pose for him. The colors in his paintings become the only bright spots in her grim life. The famous portrait is a highlight of Griet's life although it brings both joy and sorrow to her.

The Delft setting includes descriptions of Catholic-Protestant tensions, the plague and the life of the poorer class. It is well-drawn so that the reader can really feel what it was like to live in that time and place. This book is highly recommended to anyone looking for something different.

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