This could have been another The Crimson Petal and the White
, but for the lazy storytelling. The writing itself is, in my opinion, good; up until the middle of the novel I believed I would give it solid four stars, if not more - Ms. Burton knows how to create a sense of mystery, and I was convinced by her rendition of the worldviews of the period. Then, unfortunately, it became apparent that the author has no answers to the questions she herself poses. What we get instead of psychological/ period novel - a treatment Burton's characters, especially female ones, deserve - is a series of smoke-and-mirror tricks. I hate being told that characters' motivations will remain a mystery, and I find it beyond frustrating when characters' nearly supernatural abilities remain unexplained; I had an impression that a fast-paced action and a series of tabloid-worthy plot developments were introduced to compensate for the fact that I'll never know what factors shaped Marin, Agnes, and the miniaturist, or who they really were.