It is 1686 and Amsterdam is a prosperous and flourishing port. For eighteen-year-old Petronella Oortman, the city and her new Herengracht house are important pieces of the new life she will have as wife of Johannes Brandt, a wealthy merchant. Far from the secluded country life of her childhood, the city of narrow houses and elaborate canals is Nella’s new home.
Though her married life does not start off well. She is welcomed only by Marin, Johannes’ ascetic frosty sister, who runs the Brandt household, with the help of their fiesty maid Cornelia and former slave Otto, whose skin was the darkest Nella had ever seen. Nella’s only company in the house is Peebo, her pet parakeet. Whilst the elusive Johannes is absent, she struggles to understand the husband she barely knows.
As Johannes avoids her, life progressively gets stranger, starting with an indulgent wedding gift – a scaled down replica of their own home. The eerie miniature uncovers secrets, puzzles and betrayals, it is the premise for a compelling and climactic story of relationships, fixation and retribution.