Tracy Chevalier wrote historical novels; her second book, Girl With a Pearl Earring (1999). ‘Pearl Earring’ is, of course, about the 17th-century artist Jan Vermeer and the unknown girl who posed for the painting of that name. Chevalier was inspired when she was staring at a poster she had bought when she was 19, a copy of Johannes Vermeer’s painting Girl With a Pearl Earring. She imagined what life might have been for the young woman who ended up the subject of that painting.
A recent Amazon reviewer said:
“This novel tells the story of a young Dutch girl during the 17th century. The 16 year old daughter of a tile painter becomes a maid in the household of Johannes Vermeer to help support her family. Each day she must tend to the laundry and keep up with the housework for a condescending mistress and uncivil maids. She finds enjoyment only when she cleans her master’s studio where she witnesses the creative process of his work and where she is also drawn into his private world. Their growing intimacy spreads disruption and jealousy within the household.
This is an absorbing story, utterly convincing, you will get an image of what Vermeer may have been like. The novel is full of emotions making it a most engaging read, I loved it.”
Would be a great pick for a rainy day!