This story is told by Griet, a sixteen year old Dutch girl, who, due to changed family circumstances must take a position as a maid in the home of the painter Vermeer. Griet tries not to draw attention to herself. But she is drawn to Vermeer's work and his methods. Vermeer, teaches her to mix colors for him, but it is all done in secret. Griet finds herself confused and wants more than she can have, she wants a relationship with the painter. In the mean time she is courted by a young man, a butcher, her family approves of and encourages her to marry. I like the way Chevalier gives details of life in the seventeenth century Dutch city of Delft.
At times I just wanted to shake Griet and tell her to wake up and smell the coffee. I found it somewhat frustrating because of this, but all in all a good read.