Johannes Vermeer was a Dutch painter in the seventeenth century. His painting Girl With A Pearl Earring, has fascinated people for centuries. One of the questions people have about it is: who was the girl in the painting? In this novel Chevalier creates an identity for the girl that sat for the painting. Griet is sixteen and goes to work in the Vermeer household as a servant. She is allowed to work in the studio, and is ultimately asked to sit for a painting. Vermeer's wife is jealous of the attention Griet receives from her husband. Griet must learn how to navigate the conflicting orders from the people she works for.
Normally I do not care for speculative historical fiction. I do not like it when historical events are drastically changed so those that are not familiar with those events will not recognize what is real and what is not. The circumstances of Girl With A Pearl Earring allow for more room for a fictional story to be written. Who the girl in the painting is not known, and we do not know a lot about Vermeer. This allowed for more believability in the fictional story.
This book captured my imagination. I thought the setting and details seemed realistic, although a few more details might have helped with that. I liked Griet's character. At times the story seems like it needed a little more to fill it out, but I still enjoyed the book. It does have a slower pace to it, so you have to be patient to really see the beauty in the story.
If you like historical fiction I would recommend reading this book.