I have read this book so many times. And even after re-reading this book so many times, it is and will always remain one of my favourite books, a story that is evergreen and has such an emotional story worth retelling.
Tracy Chevalier has been inspired by the artwork of Johannes Vermeer, and his most famous painting, the Girl with a Pearl Earring, that she decided to write a story of what she believes might have happened behind that painting. For me, when looking at paintings, this is one of the things that cross my mind – what is the actual story behind it, what was the relationship between the painter and the people on the painting, what were they all thinking and what did their lives look like… In this book, we are able to enter this world, where we see a story of what might have happened here, and this story is a wonderful experience.
This is a story about Griet’s life. Griet lives in a house with her poor family, a blind dad who worked all his life to gather a bit of money for them, and a mother that always fought for the family. With their money running low, Griet has to go and work as a maid in the house of Vermeer, who is a famous painter. Even though quite young, Griet quickly knows her tasks, to iron, to cook, to grab groceries from the market, and the most important bit – to stay out of everyone’s way and do her job.
In the house, things are not easy. Griet is not treated with respect, her family is worried about her, the plague kills her sister and the butcher’s boy wants to marry her. Griet doesn’t feel anything for this boy, but having meat on the table every day for her and her family is too big of an advantage to be just thrown away. I personally never liked the butcher boy, because he knew very well what his advantage was, and he kept reminding Griet how she depends on him to feed her family.
‘’Her words surprised me, but when I looked in her eyes and saw there the hunger for meat that a butcher’s son could provide, I understood why she had set aside her pride.’’
But Griet has a secret crush on Mr. Vermeer, and a great admiration for his work. And Mr. Vermeer notices Griet’s curiosity and gives her tasks around the studio, which in the end, results in him painting her. Griet gets to be involved in his world, learning what he does, and working for him in secret, while his wife is bearing another child of his. Even though Griet secretly feels like she is betraying the wife, she can’t help but feel joj when Vermeer pays attention to her.
‘’ The clothes soaking in the kitchen went cold, the water grey. Tanneke clattered in the kitchen, the girls shouted outside, and we behind closed door sat and looked at each other. And he painted.’’
Now, in the 21st century, it is normal for ladies to pose, and be painted, but in that time, it was a disgrace for a maid to be painted. Men didn’t have the respect towards women as they do now (some of them). And when Griet finds herself being painted, she knows the consequences, but as a maid, she has no voice to object. She knows this quite well.
In the end, the story is very powerful and heartwarming. While we read about how Griet sees and thinks, we will start to love her, watch her grow, and learn so much. I am forever grateful I have found this book.
I have read the 20th Anniversary Edition of this amazing book, which was kindly sent to me by the publishers, The Borough Press, and Love Reading UK, in exchange for my honest review.
I love the idea of time travelling and I love the idea of time travelling books. That is the main reason why I chose to read this ARC copy. The synopsis sounded intriguing, and the cover was gorgeous. I don’t have much experience reading time travelling books. I still believe the synopsis is intriguing and the cover is gorgeous, but I am not satisfied with the feelings this book left me, after I read the last chapter.
The story begins when four ladies in the early 1960s work together and build the first time travel machine. And they are surrounded by curious people and media, and one of them has a breakdown and is expelled from the project, as she is a risk to herself and others. But they don’t just exclude her from their project, but from their whole lives, and time travelling altogether.
”Sometimes we want proximity and a crowd gives us the excuse.”
And many years after, when time travelling is something everyone knows about, secrets start to be revealed, little by little, and a murder happens without explanation. A few young women, completely unrelated and with different missions will try to get their way into the whole time-travel business, and try to figure the answers to their questions.
In The Psychology of Time Travel, one is certain – you will flow through time and places like never before.One chapter it’s 1967, and the next one, it’s 2015. You will meet a lady and her young self, her old self, and her current self, all at one place, talking to each other, or simultaneously performing a dancing act. You will get to see a world very well created, a complex structure of how time travel might work, and details that you wouldn’t thought of checking twice.
I couldn’t connect to any character. Maybe there were too many. The chapters were very short, and they travelled through years so quickly, that I couldn’t catch up. Catching up with the plot of a book, and figuring out what is going on while being presented things so fast is very frustrating. It’s like watching a movie in a foreign language, the subtitles being your only way of gathering information, and they disappear instantly, without you having a chance to understand.
The romance in this book was another thing that bothered me. While we get a lot of romantic relationships going around, one particularly threw me off my feet. A love story where one girl is in love with another. This is the completely realistic part. But the unrealistic one was that one girl lives in the present, and the other is a time-traveller in the past – so even though they are currently (technically) the same age, in reality one is in the mid 20s, and the other in the mid 80s. I couldn’t process this, or agree with it.
”You couldn’t get involved with someone who spent most of their life in a different time period from you.”
I am sure I would have loved the characters, have I had more chances to get to know them. They showed signs of bravery, and goals and hopes for a better tomorrow, with a spark unlike any others. But it all lasted so short, before we switched to another character, and so on.
Even though this one didn’t work for me – I still encourage you to give it a go, if you are a fan of time travel. The idea of time travelling is very well done, and deserves to be discussed.
A huge thank you to NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books, for providing me an ARC copy of The Psychology of Time Travel in exchange for an honest review.
Here’s to better books, and here’s to a better tomorrow!
I haven’t read much classic reads this year, and a few days before the end of 2018, I decided to go for a classic short story, and I chose The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman.
This classic has been written by a woman in the 19th century. A time when women weren’t treated the same way as today. A difficult time, where women couldn’t express their opinion as they wished, but they were suppressed by the male authority in the family.
When The Yellow Wallpaper came out, it was considered a Gothic Horror Tale. It is hard to believe for me, knowing the world we live in today, and how we, as women can express our opinions openly. But back in the days, this is how it was. It wasn’t easy for the woman, and I am glad we have a lot of brave women from that time, that gathered the courage to tell stories for the next generations.
This is a story about a woman, who seems to suffer of post-partum depression (a type of mood disorder associated with childbirth). She has been forced by her husband and doctor to stay in her room until she is ”mentally capable” again to take care of her baby. I am not a mother, but I can imagine the pain and suffering of not being allowed to see and hold your unborn child. And people thought this was okay?
The woman is constantly staring at the yellow wallpaper and the window, constantly reassuring herself that this is all happening for her own good, and that the husband and doctor know best, until a point where we are not actually sure if she is in her right mind anymore.
She starts to see a woman inside the wallpaper, and believes the woman is struggling to break free. I loved the metaphor used, as her subconscious knows she is trapped, and the end is so painful to read, but oh, so powerful.
Even though such a short read, The Yellow Wallpaper is an impressive view on cultural traditions, and the position of women in the family. A classic and a must-have for every woman!
Do you know any stories similar to this? I would love to explore them?
WWW Wednesdays is a weekly tag revived by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words. It’s quite simple. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!
The Three W’s are: What are you currently reading? What did you recently finish reading? What do you think you’ll read next?
What are you currently reading?
I am currently reading The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. It has been on my TBR for a long time, and I accidentally stumbled upon it in my library and borrowed it. I am about half-way through, and I enjoy it, but I wish I have read it sooner.
The other book I recently started reading is All These Beautiful Strangers by Elizabeth Klehfoth. I got this book as a birthday gift from my sister, and I am so excited to read more!
What did you recently finish reading?
I just finished Warcross by Marie Lu, and I absolutely loved it, and can’t wait to read WildCard. I am about to write a review on it, so watch this space. I also finished Day of The Accident by Nuala Ellwood, a psychological thriller that left be breathless. It comes out in early February 2019, so please check it out. You can read my review HERE.
What do you think you’ll read next?
Catching up with a few of my ARCs this month, An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen, and the Psychology of Time Travel by Kate Mascarenhas. They are coming out in early 2019, and I am so excited I have the chance to read them before they publish.
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Hippie is the autobiography by Paulo Coelho, told in third person. This is a story about people that travel the world, wear funny clothes and flowers in their hairs, and believe in peace, love and freedom.
I have read many of Coelho’s books, even since I was a teenage girl. And all of them share something in common – the path of finding yourself. After reading Hippie, I believe that this is the the best one that covers this subject quite perfectly.
‘’He was a human being, with all the fragility that entails, he didn’t understand everything that happened in his life, but he truly wished to believe he was travelling in search of the light.’’