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Tulip Fever: A Novel Paperback – April 10, 2001

3.9 out of 5 stars 154 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Dial Press Trade Paperback; First Edition edition (April 10, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385334923
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385334921
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.7 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (154 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #21,492 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The reviews are mixed about this book, and for good reason. It is probably one that you will either love or hate.
The story is told through the voices of the characters in turn, which can be a bit disjointed to start with when you are trying to get all the personalities sorted out in your mind. But the dizzying effect also adds to the sense of climax that is reached when all the threads of the story come together.
The historical detail is interesting and adds to the flavour of the story, but it is the characters that keep you reading.
Although the ending was never going to be happy and was not entirely unpredictable, there are unexpected twists and resolutions which keep your interest to the last page.
If you like historical fiction, if you like a love story, and can tolerate an ending you would not have chosen for the characters, then you will enjoy Tulip Fever.
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Format: Paperback
I absolutely loved this book. Tulip Fever was a vivid and engrossing read that had me turning pages into the wee hours of the morning. And while some feel this novel is only a Harlequin Romance in disguise, I truly believe it is much, much more than that. The 1630s Amsterdam background lends rich definition to the characters and story line and makes Tulip Fever a highly readable, thrilling book.
Wealthy merchant, Cornelis Sandvoort, and his young wife, Sophia, have a good marriage. Sophia is ever grateful to Cornelis for saving her family from destitution, while Cornelis feels Sophia has given him another chance at life after the death of his first wife and two sons. But with there being 40 years of age between them, Sophia feels, no matter how grateful she is, that she has traded one life of imprisonment for another. The couple is childless despite Sophia's dutifulness, and in the hopes of achieving some sort of immortality, Cornelis has commissioned young, passionate artist Jan van Loos to paint their portrait.
During their sittings, something transpires between Jan and Sophia. Their love for each other becomes frantic, like another form of life support. Desperate to be together, Jan and Sophia concoct a devious plan. Lies, lust, greed and the dizzying passion of the tulip craze create an intoxicating and dangerous mix. What ensues after is the devastating windfall of their deception and selfishness.
Very intense and fast once the love affair begins. Each chapter is narrated by a different character so readers are treated to the minds of all involved. I believe Deborah Moggach has written a solid, deftly written piece of fiction. Although there are bits of Harlequin-ness, the historical references; allusions to actual Dutch paintings; sharply defined characters; and lush, vivid backdrop surely make up for it. An exceptional and sensuous feast for the mind.
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By A Customer on May 26, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I find Kirkus reviews to be the most reliable, but they certainly have missed here. Far from being "pallid," the book is full of passion and suspense (the NY Times said it "reads like a thriller"); and the plot that is called "outlandish" is based on an idea that has historical precedent. I was totally engrossed in this book, as were my wife and a friend. We all agreed that the clichés "page turner" and "couldn't put it down" were true in this case. The scene with the "onion" is unforgettable and the depiction of tulip speculation is revelatory. Don't allow the Kirkus sourpuss to keep you away from a novel that is both entertaining and educational.
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Format: Hardcover
In this lovely little book Amsterdam's Golden Age comes alive with its fools, drunks, painters, moralists, Calvinists, and capitalists.
The period and place are very well and engagingly described as backdrop to the story of an impetuous and impecunious painter and an unawakened, beautiful burgher's wife. Several Tulipomania legends are interwoven, including the famous one of a man who inadvertently consumed a fortune (though in the legend it's a sailor who hasn't been in Holland for several years).
This novel is a charming, fast read, consisting of short chapters that are written from different characters' perspectives. Through this device, their personalities are quickly but deftly drawn (the priggish painter's apprentice, the slightly smug neighbour's wife, the callow but sharp-eyed maid). The only problem is that the main protagonists also remain perhaps a bit too faintly and impressionistically sketched, rather than being portrayed with more verisimilitude, in a more highly detailed way -- which would be more stylistically and chronologically consistent with the style of portraiture prevalent at the time in Holland.
The final denouement should not have come as a surprise to anyone familiar with Amsterdam's history and geography, but the writer drew me into the story so well that the earlier hints were superseded by the red herrings and other fish that Moggach merrily layed out along her paths and canals of misdirection.
The "illustrations" to the book -- major period works, many of mistress and maid scenes -- are a wonderful addition, as are the almost throwaway lines about the later life of and scholarship about the works of the fictitious painter Jan van Loos. Altogether, a very enjoyable, entertaining book, even if the protagonists are not the most compelling thing about it.
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