And the Winner is… #WBOTY14

Saturday 6 December 2014 by

It might not be the Booker, or the Costa, or any huge prize with a heap of media attention, but for me the Waterstones Book of the Year is a prize that speaks volumes about that year’s reading. The fact that they had to include more books than usual in the shortlist goes to prove what a bumper crop of books have amazed us in 2014. And the fact that it ranged from a cookery book to literary fiction to a picture book and a book about capital, goes to show how spoilt for choice we have been.

But who won? (insert drumroll here) …

The Miniaturist, Jessie Burton, Book, Picador

The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton

Published by Picador

There is nothing hidden that will not be revealed…

On an autumn day in 1686, eighteen-year-old Nella Oortman knocks at the door of a grand house in the wealthiest quarter of Amsterdam. She has come from the country to begin a new life as the wife of illustrious merchant trader Johannes Brandt, but instead she is met by his sharp-tongued sister, Marin. Only later does Johannes appear and present her with an extraordinary wedding gift: a cabinet-sized replica of their home. It is to be furnished by an elusive miniaturist, whose tiny creations mirror their real-life counterparts in unexpected ways…

Nella is at first mystified by the closed world of the Brandt household, but as she uncovers its secrets she realizes the escalating dangers that await them all. Does the miniaturist hold their fate in her hands? And will she be the key to their salvation or the architect of their downfall?


You might not believe me, but actually, I wanted this one to win! I had three hands-down favourites from the shortlist (The Opposite of Loneliness, H is for Hawk and our winner) and I felt that The Miniaturist would perhaps fit the bill for “book of the year” best, as I think the others will simply go from strength to strength in 2015.

The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton was one of the adult fiction books on the shortlist; it has been a reader favourite since it hit shelves, but has missed out on the big prizes. A bestselling debut novel, it was almost inevitable that it was going to win the prize; it is a bookseller and reader favourite almost every time. It tells the story of Nella, as she goes to live with her new husband in Amsterdam, discovering the secrets of the new household, and the mystery of the miniaturist whose creations are eerily prescient. It is a masterful tale, told with energy and beauty, but also with a darker twist that keeps you absorbed from the first page to the last.

You can read the full article on the Waterstones website and get Jessie’s reaction to the prize. She’s such a modest, young and astoundingly talented writer, and I think we can go on to see great things from her – I’m so pleased she won!

The Miniaturist, Jessie Burton, Book, PicadorEven better? Considering how gorgeous the hardback edition is, I am so impressed by the special edition that Waterstones have produced (you can buy it here). It uses the original endpaper print, with gold foiling and a gold ribbon marker, and it is really beautiful. A perfect Christmas gift (to yourself)!

You can read my full review of The Miniaturist here

Buy the whole Waterstones Book of the Year shortlist for £109.99 and earn 500 Waterstones card points

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