Girl with a Pearl Earring tells the story of Griet, a 16-year-old Dutch girl, who becomes a maid in the house of the painter Johannes Vermeer. Her calm and perceptive manner not only helps her in her household duties, but also attracts Vermeer's attention. He slowly draws her into the world of his paintings and ultimately has her sit for him as a model.
'account of the artistic process—from the grinding of paints to the inclusion and removal of background objects—lay at the core of the novel. Her inventive portrayal of this tumultuous time, when Protestantism began to dominate Catholicism and the growing bourgeoisie took the place of the Church as patrons of the arts, draws the reader into a lively, if little known, time and place in history.