Tulip Fever Review
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These days, it seems like historical fiction authors can’t get enough of Dutch history—or the 17th century Dutch artists. Tracy Chevalier’s Girl with a Pearl Earring (which is now a movie with Scarlett Johanssen and Colin Firth), Susan Vreeland’s Girl in Hyacinth Blue (made into the made-for-TV film, Brush with Fate), and Deborah Moggach’s Tulip Fever (also with a movie in the works—starring Keira Knightley, Jude Law, and Jim Broadbent) all focus on the Dutch. And as a Dutch-American (a very proud one at that) who absolutely adores her Motherland, I couldn’t be happier.

Unlike the two Girls (both of which focus on Johannes Vermeer of Delft), Tulip Fever takes place in Amsterdam in 1636, when commissioned paintings were in high demand and tulip bulbs were making wealthy men out of commoners. Cornelis Sandvoort, a wealthy old merchant, commissions painter Jan van Loos to paint Cornelis and his young and beautiful wife, Sophia—to make them immortal. But during the hours when Jan is painting the Sandvoorts, he and Sophia fall in love. As their affair continues and their love deepens, Jan and Sophia carefully devise a plan to leave Amsterdam—and Sophia’s boring old husband—behind forever. All they need are a few tulip bulbs and the aid of Sophia’s maid, Maria.

Tulip Fever is an enchanting novel. It’s elegant and sensual—with just the right amount of suspense to keep you turning the pages until the very end. Before you know it, it’ll be over—it’s such a quick read—and you’ll come out of the trance in which the story held you, ready to book a flight to Amsterdam so you can walk through the streets and smell the tulips and see the paintings...

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