A servant's life, a master's obsession, a matter of honour . . .
In seventeenth century Delft, a prosperous town in Holland, life was orderly. Rich and poor, Catholic and Protestant, master and servant, all know their place.
So 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. As she becomes part of his work their growing intimacy spreads tension and deception in the ordered household and even - as the scandal seeps out - ripples in the town beyond.
Tracy Chevalier, inspired by the girl from one of Vermeer's most loved and mysterious paintings, has created an extraordinary and moving novel on the corruption of innocence and the price of genius.