I just finished listening to the audiobook of Girl With a Pearl Earring, by Tracy Chevalier.  This work of fiction was born from the famous 17th century painting by Johannes Vermeer.

Johannes Vermeer, circa 1665

Johannes Vermeer, circa 1665

In this story, Griet is sent to work at the house of a famous painter in order to help support her poor family.  A young girl, she becomes a woman in the Vermeer household, experiencing the confusion of love, the duty of her position, and the intoxication of Vermeer’s paintings.

Though this book began with a disappointing hardship in Griet’s life, the story becomes hopeful,  and she begins her new position with a positive outlook.  Soon, however, foreshadowings of sadness begin to soak through the words of Chevalier’s novel.

The story of Griet, a simple maid, draws you in slowly like a melancholy violin solo, soft and deep.  Even though the reader hopes for a better ending for Griet, he knows deep down, as Griet does, that it is not meant to be.  In the end, the quiet resignation of Griet to carry her life’s burdens could make a person remember the sadness they may have once shouldered.

I recommend this book to those who love art and dreaming.  Perhaps like an artist, the author paints her story with emotions and soul.  Though the ending is not the “happily ever after” of dreamers, it mirrors the ironic marriage of the mysterious and candid nature of the painting done by Vermeer many years ago.  After reading this story and seeing the curious expression of Vermeer’s subject, one will begin to wonder about the painting of a simple girl wearing a pearl.

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