Girl With A Pearl Earring: A Novel (movie Tie-in) by Tracy ChevalierGirl With A Pearl Earring: A Novel (movie Tie-in) by Tracy Chevalier

Girl With A Pearl Earring: A Novel (movie Tie-in)

byTracy Chevalier

Paperback | September 30, 2003

Pricing and Purchase Info


Earn 83 plum® points

Prices and offers may vary in store

Out of stock online

Not available in stores


In seventeenth-century Delft, there's a strict social orderrich and poor, Catholic and Protestant, master and servantand all know their place. When Griet becomes a maid in the household of the painter Johannes Vermeer, she thinks she knows her role: housework, laundry, and the care of his six children. She even feels able to handle his shrewd mother-in-law; his restless, sensual wife; and their jealous servant. What no one expects is that Griet's quiet manner, quick perceptions, and fascination with her master's paintings will draw her inexorably into his world. Their growing intimacy sparks whispers; and when Vermeer paints her wearing his wife's pearl earrings, the gossip escalates into a full-blown scandal that irrevocably changes Griet's life.

Written with the precision and focus of an Old Master painting, Girl With a Pearl Earring is a vivid portrait of colorful seventeenth-century Delft, as well as the hauntingly poignant story of one young girl's rite of passage.

"I was born and grew up in Washington, DC. After getting a BA in English from Oberlin College (Ohio), I moved to London, England in 1984. I intended to stay 6 months; I’m still here. "As a kid I’d often said I wanted to be a writer because I loved books and wanted to be associated with them. I wrote the odd story in high school, but i...
Title:Girl With A Pearl Earring: A Novel (movie Tie-in)Format:PaperbackDimensions:240 pages, 7.86 × 5.12 × 0.65 inPublished:September 30, 2003Publisher:PlumeLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0452284937

ISBN - 13:9780452284937

Look for similar items by category:


Rated 4 out of 5 by from So good Girl With A Pearl Earring is my favourite painting, so I couldn't resist reading this novel. While it is fiction, the story was so believable that I had a hard time remembering it didn't happen, or at least not the way it's described.
Date published: 2018-08-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from this is a novel that everyone should read amazing story line and ployt for every age all genders and all creeds
Date published: 2018-05-11
Rated 3 out of 5 by from enjoyable I love historical fiction, and this one taught me something new. I really enjoyed reading it, but in hindsight have not found it particularly memorable.
Date published: 2018-01-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it I really loved this book. Vermeer is one of my favourite artists and it was really interesting to see this take on his life and how he worked and the background story behind his paintings. While not entirely factual it is nice to imagine the magic and stories behind the beautiful paintings that have become so iconic today. Great book for art history students.
Date published: 2017-11-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it I really loved this book. Vermeer is one of my favourite artists and it was really interesting to see this take on his life and how he worked and the background story behind his paintings. While not entirely factual it is nice to imagine the magic and stories behind the beautiful paintings that have become so iconic today. Great book for art history students.
Date published: 2017-11-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Classic for an Art History Buff As an art and art history major, this book was incredible. I shared it with my grade 9 and 11 fine art classes and it was a great resource. A story about a true master.
Date published: 2017-10-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Incredible Novel This was an incredible account of the life of a maid in 17th century Holland. The novel was well-written and captivating and I enjoyed it from the very first page.
Date published: 2017-10-20
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Meh... I can't really understand the rave reviews here. Maybe it has to do with the movie connections and all the big names that come to mind from the film, but I found this book tediously boring.
Date published: 2017-09-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great read! Really enjoyable read, historical details but not all consuming. Great writing and easy read.
Date published: 2017-09-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good read Good read. I read this when I was in university and then again more recently. I enjoyed it the second time around. There was enough historical facts for you to feel like you are in that time period but not enough to bored you details.
Date published: 2017-08-14
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Quick, simple, but nice read Picked this up due to having seen the movie, flipped through it pretty quickly but it was a pretty entertaining read.
Date published: 2017-08-14
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Excellent! A great piece of historical fiction that everyone should read.
Date published: 2017-07-26
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Enjoyable and accessible An excellent choice for the new reader of historical fiction - entertaining and engaging. enough historical detail, but not bogged down with it.
Date published: 2017-07-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from sensual and passionate Loved this book. read it for a bookclub and loved it so much..I even enjoyed the tv rendition of it, it stuck pretty close to the book. I learned a lot about modelling and painting but yeah it's full of surprises!!
Date published: 2017-07-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from LOVE THIS I absolutely love this book. It's a short read, and I absolutely love it.
Date published: 2017-05-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing Read I absolutely loved this book! If you are familiar with Johannes Vermeer and his art, this is such an enjoyable read. Very captivating and overall great.
Date published: 2017-04-24
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Okay Not what I expected, but memorable in an odd way.
Date published: 2017-03-22
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good read Very enjoyable and interesting story.
Date published: 2017-03-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from What a great book Love how she writes and love reading about stories to deal with great art.
Date published: 2017-03-13
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Enjoyed it a lot! Beautiful writing and an interesting story.
Date published: 2017-03-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from good book I love how this book portrays a fictional story based on a really famous painting. I found myself imagining what it would be like to be the characters. I also love the writing style where she writes from different characters perspectives.
Date published: 2017-03-07
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Near perfect Very well written, never boring. If you love art, this is for you.
Date published: 2017-01-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from My boss recommended this book... Turns out she has great taste in books! Worth the read. #plumreview
Date published: 2016-11-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Eight Bookcases Check out my review of Chevalier's work on my blog at:
Date published: 2012-07-04
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Enjoyable and quick Girl with a Pearl Earring is a fictionalized account of how the famous Vermeer painting came to be. The book is, for lack of a better term, very artsy. There are incredibly lengthy descriptions of colors and their mixtures and just art in general. The book is not really about Griet (the main character) but rather her relationship with Johannes Vermeer and his artwork. (It leaves open the option that in another life or century she could also have been a famous artist.) Because the book is devoted to that relationship all the other aspects of the novel are undeveloped. The relationship with her mother, father, a brother who we never find out what happens to him, and of course her 'love interest'. In fact I'm not even sure we can call Pieter the son a love interest as often when she is with him she is frequently thinking of other things and just doesn't seem that interested in him. The fact that Vermeer is a coward throughout the novel and Griet's reactions to him made it difficult to enjoy reading about the two of them. The ending was also a bit of a disappointment in how brief it was and how Griet acted so respectfully of the social caste. The book was well written and there had clearly been a lot of research put into this novel which is always nice. Recommended to people who like art and historical fiction
Date published: 2012-04-13
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A Great Book If you like historical fiction and you like art then this is a book that you will love. I'm a Vermeer fan and actually have a copy of this painting in my home, and so was really intrigued to read this. It's well written and insightful and is a satisfying read.
Date published: 2012-01-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from one of my favourites I absolutely love this movie. I could watch it over and over again. I enjoy movies that are made in this time about the past. The story is about a girl who is forced to become a maid for a family and she ends up having a crush on her master. He is definitely into her as well and there is so much tension throughout the movie. Her master is a painter and that is the only source of income in the household. A guy that he paints for wants a painting of the maid alone. The master has to secretly go behind his wife's back and paint this picture for him. Usually if a maid gets involved in any way in their masters personal life things start to turn upside down and people talk. She ends up getting the picture painted and gets fired because the wife finds out. This story is based on a true story and the picture exists. I think this is a great storyline, it is unlike anything I have seen.
Date published: 2011-10-28
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Drawn in from the start It is 1664 Holland and Griet is 16-years old. Her father recently had an accident and can no longer work, so Griet must work as a maid to help her family with food and money. She is hired on at the painter, Vermeer's, house. As she tries to adjust to a whole new world, she is growing up, and she finds a local butcher's son is attracted to her, while she is trying to learn and do all her duties at Vermeer's home and studio. I really liked this. It was not fast-paced, but I was drawn in from the start and something about it kept me wanting to read.
Date published: 2011-07-04
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Entertaining historical fiction :) I really enjoyed this book. It is well written and never boring. The book was very well researched, from Vermeer's actual paintings to the description of the tile painters and daily life of Delft in the 1600s. I instantly liked the main character, a maid to the famous artist Vermeer, and was torn between who I wanted her to fall in love with. The author brings Vermeer's paintings to life - her descriptions are amazing. While this book has been criticized for not being historically accurate (for example, there is no evidence at all about who the subject in this or many of his paintings were), I think Chevalier did a good job making her story believable and historically possible. In reality, very little is known about Vermeer, his life, the people around him and his paintings. The Girl with a Pearl Earring (the painting) is no exception - no one can say, with any real proof, who the subject is or isn't. One main arguement about the book is that Vermeer and his wife must have had a loving/happy marriage because they had over a dozen children and he changed his religion for her. Both of which do not mean he didn't have affairs or at least secrets from his wife. Overall, it was an entertaining book and I plan on seeing the movie soon. I probably would have given this book 4.5 stars if it had been possible...not quite a 5 but better than some I have ranked 4.
Date published: 2009-04-28
Rated 3 out of 5 by from decent I read this book for a writers class i took and found surprisingly i liked it. it was well written and not boring at all which is what i originally thought. some parts were confusing or boring but all in all a decent read
Date published: 2009-02-16
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Overrated I have no idea why so many people praise this book and claim it to be a litterary masterpiece. There is no substance to any of the characters so one cannot really get attached to any of them for their stories are not really developed. The author tried to create a romance between Griet and Vermeer yet fell short - same with Griet and Peter. What also bothered me is that an illiterate maid provided suggestions to the famous painter Vermeer which he took! There is no real substance to any of the characters nor the plot which is what is the entire essence of a great novel. As much as i wanted to enjoy this "masterpiece" it unfortunately fell short.
Date published: 2009-02-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Modern Classic I really liked this book. You are torn between who you want Griet to end up with, the dependable but simple Pieter or the betrothed yet enchanting Vermeer. Chevalier describes every painting so seductively you feel as if you are in the studio with Griet as she is cleaning. Highly recommended.
Date published: 2008-06-16
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Insightful and Radiant Girl with a Pearl Earring captured me with its seeming simplicity yet taught emotion. At 16, Griet must leave the home of her Protestant parents to become a maid of the Catholic painter Vermeer and live in the household with his wife, their five children and a couple other characters. As the story unfolds Griet becomes more and more involved with helping Vermeer in his studio, which Griet is to keep a secret from most of the rest of the household. Although not much seemed to happen quickly in this story, I was gripped by the anxiety that Griet always carried with her, which kept me engrossed with the book. She always sensed that there would be life-altering consequences if all was revealed and that she would need to make choices where before she was not allowed to make any choices of her own. The conclusion of the story was not typical and very satisfying. This is a fine work into the insight of how the painting by Vermeer may have come to be.
Date published: 2008-04-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of my very favorites of all time! I loved this novel! The historical background given and resulting atmosphere created, in this novel, is so rich and vivid and captivating. For those interested in the Master painters and their works of art - Vermeer here - this novel is a fascinating study and a wonderful and creative imagining into the artist's mind and life. Tracy Chevalier, the author, is definitely one of my favorites! She has a superb way of researching and recreating, through her knowledge, the everyday lives of these great Masters and their creation of Masterpieces that we remain in awe of today! All of Chevalier's novels run along these artistic and historical lines and are fascinating for art lovers to sink into the depths of. Enjoy her brilliant creations!
Date published: 2008-01-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Great Book This is an amazing book. The writing is wonderful, the characters seem so real you feel you know them and you get a real feel for the place and time. I highly recommend this book.
Date published: 2007-11-21
Rated 4 out of 5 by from great book 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.
Date published: 2007-11-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The best read in recent memory! What a marvellous surprise this book was! From the first page I was captivated by the story as the author has a unique talent of creating vivid images in the reader's mind. Reading about Griet leaving home at the beginning of the novel, I saw everything through her eyes. I felt Griet's apprehension, her trepidation as she left her home to live and work in a household of strangers. This is a beautifully written story and one I intend to re-read in future.
Date published: 2006-08-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from the best yet!! I think that the book was great and exciting.!! u coundndt put ie down if u tryied!!
Date published: 2006-07-20
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Marvellous! I watched the DVD before reading the book. Chevalier does well in arousing our interest in the girl in Vermeer's painting. What was the girl's relationship with the painter? Was there ever a relationship? Chevalier has painted a sensual tale, told through the eyes of the girl in the painting. There was no depth in how the characters were portrayed but it provided just an enough glimpse to whet my appetite to keep turning the pages.
Date published: 2006-06-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great book What a wonderful story!! I really liked all the details of life in Delft. I found myself returning to the front cover as I was immersing myself in seventeenth century Holland and checking out the portrait. All the details and the star with all the choices made for a truly great story
Date published: 2006-06-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Riveting, elegant, brilliant prose .... and an incredible promise Chevalier paints her own literary masterpiece in the fictional love story behind the famous Dutch painting Girl with a Pearl Earring . Everything comes alive in this masterful narration filled with an economy of words that propel the story forward. This is both a love story about a subject, and a political and historical commentary of Holland. The tale is like a time capsule opened up after several centuries and a deep yearning that can only be satisfied by a painter's brush. The movie does not do it justice. Chevalier certainly knows how to choose her words carefully without losing the rich meaning in the stolen moments, character descriptions, and dialogue. A mandatory text for High School and Universities literature classes. This is bonafide literary genious!
Date published: 2006-02-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from excellant book! Girl the a Pearl earring was amazing! the best book ever! i totally recommend it!
Date published: 2005-10-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from enchanting This book was wonderful and enchanting. Beautifully written, I couldn't put it down. One thing I did find odd was, this book is on the grade 11 academic english reading list. For a book to be on there is has to have significant character development, among other things. This book has basically no character development. I couldn't tell you what makes each character tick . But it was wonderful just the same. I recomend this to everyone. A good book to read on the beach or on a rainy day.
Date published: 2004-08-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent! I've always admired Vermeer's work and in particular the painting upon which this book is based. The story is very compelling; suggestive yet subtle. I read it with a book of Vermeer's images beside me and found the experience further enriched.
Date published: 2004-04-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Brilliant! This book was amazing! It's Beautifully written. Tracy Chevalier has a wonderfull talent.
Date published: 2004-03-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Artistic and Romantic This book brings in art history and a different kind of romance to the reader. Definetly a must read!
Date published: 2004-01-17
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Bringing Vermeer to Life This work was well researched. It is historically accurate and identifies many of the substructures of vermeer's paintings. It is much more interesting if you have vermeer's images handy to compare with the author's descriptions. The book though was not consistently written. It seemed like the conclusion was written far better than first half of the book. The explanations of Delft do not do it is a very beautiful town. Definately worth a read and should make a good movie.
Date published: 2003-12-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of the best books I have ever read This is a fantasticly well writen novel that brings a painting to life. It is about a young maid who becomes a model for her masters painting. This couses jelousy and havec within the family. I would highly reccomend this novel to anyone who loves a good book.
Date published: 2003-06-20
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Beautifully written I honestly only picked up this book because it was one of Heather's picks. I was completely enamoured with it and could not put it down. I just hope the up-coming movie lives up to it.
Date published: 2003-06-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Delft Touch The writing is as captivating as the story - which is interesting because few authors can weave such a fascinating tale within a few blocks of a city.
Date published: 2002-01-05
Rated 4 out of 5 by from art history and fiction rolled into one For anyone who likes art history [specifically Vermeer], 17th century europe and a little fiction this is a great read!!
Date published: 2001-05-14

Read from the Book

In the morning he asked me to come up in the afternoon. I assumed he wanted me to work with the colors, that he was starting the concert painting. When I got to the studio he was not there. I went straight to the attic. The grinding table was clear—nothing had been laid out for me. I climbed back down the ladder, feeling foolish. He had come in and was standing in the studio, looking out a window. 'Take a seat, please, Griet,' he said, his back to me. I sat in the chair by the harpsichord. I did not touch it—I had never touched an instrument except to clean it. As I waited I studied the paintings he had hung on the back wall that would form part of the concert painting. There was a landscape on the left, and on the right a picture of three people—a woman playing a lute, wearing a dress that revealed much of her bosom, a gentleman with his arm around her, and an old woman. The man was buying the young woman's favors, the old woman reaching to take the coin he held out. Maria Thins owned the painting and had told me it was called The Procuress. 'Not that chair.' He had turned from the window. 'That is where van Ruijven's daughter sits.' Where I would have sat, I thought, if I were to be in the painting. He got another of the lion-head chairs and set it close to his easel but sideways so it faced the window. 'Sit here.' 'What do you want, sir' I asked, sitting. I was puzzled—we never sat together. I shivered, although I was not cold. 'Don't talk.' He opened a shutter so that the light fell directly on my face. 'Look out the window.' He sat down in his chair by the easel. I gazed at the New Church tower and swallowed. I could feel my jaw tightening and my eyes widening. 'Now look at me.' I turned my head and looked at him over my left shoulder. His eyes locked with mine. I could think of nothing except how their grey was like the inside of an oyster shell. He seemed to be waiting for something. My face began to strain with the fear that I was not giving him what he wanted. 'Griet,' he said softly. It was all he had to say. My eyes filled with tears I did not shed. I knew now. 'Yes. Don't move.' He was going to paint me.

Editorial Reviews

"A portrait of radiance...Chevalier brings the real artist Vermeer and a fictional muse to life in a jewel of a novel." —Time magazine "A vibrant, sumptuous novel...triumphant...a beautifully written tale that mirrors the elegance of the painting that inspired it." —The Wall Street Journal "The richest, most rewarding novel I have read this year." —The Cleveland Plain Dealer "Outstanding." —USA Today "Marvelously evocative." —The New York Times "Superb...vividly captures the world of 17th century Delft." —The San Francisco Chronicle "Tracy Chevalier has so vividly imagined the life of the painter and his subject that you say to yourself: This is the way it must have been." —The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel "A jewel of a novel." —The Miami Herald