Tulip Fever by Deborah Moggach

Tulip Fever by Deborah MoggachThe story in this book (published 1999) is about life in the Netherlands in 1636-1637, in Amsterdam, to be precise.

So, it’s about my country and it’s also, the title suggests, about the tulip fever, that captured the Netherlands for a short period. In that time, the price of tulip bulbs reached ridiculous heights. We’re talking about one bulb costing the price of a family car now. An even bigger bubble than the internet bubble from 10 years ago!

The book mentions the tulip fever, of course, but not as much as I had liked. The tulip fever is used as a means for the main characters to gain (or lose) money, but we don’t get any details about scale of the dealings, for instance.

The book was less serious than I expected, but it was a great read. Sophia is a young woman, married to a much older man. His has been married before but his two children and his wife all died. He is hoping to start a new family with Sophia but she fails to get pregnant.

When he gets a portrait painter to paint him and Sophia (so there is something of him left for posterity), Sophia and the painter fall in love. The rest of the story is about the painter, Jan van Loos, and Sophia trying to find ways to be together.

There’s love and intrigue and a good sense of the 17th Century in the Netherlands. Especially the beginning of the book reminded me of Girl with the Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevallier, which I loved.

If you want a good historical love story, this is the perfect book. It’s not a simple romance novel, there is more to it, but it is quite an easy read and lots of fun. Just don’t expect to learn too much about the tulip fever!

Rating: 4/5

I got this book: from a second-hand book sale. I had it on my wish list already (because of the tulip fever topic)

I read this in: Dutch, the original language is English.


About Leeswammes
I'm owner and editor at bookhelpline.com. In my free time, I read and review books on my two blogs, Leeswammes' Blog and De Boekblogger.

13 Responses to Tulip Fever by Deborah Moggach

  1. The Girl with the Pearl Earring is one of my favourite books! I have also seen another good review of this book somewhere so maybe I should check it out. Thanks for the review 🙂

  2. Alex says:

    I’ve read it a while ago and also felt the same way you did. Is the author and the book famous in The Netherlands?

    • leeswammes says:

      Not really, Alex. I have heard about Tulip Fever before, but only because someone reviewed it on their blog. I don’t think the author is known at all here (although the book has been translated, but we have lots and lots of translated books here).

  3. Suzanne says:

    I’m going to look for this one — it sounds good.

    In the new Wall Street movie they talked about the tulip bubble and how it relates to the recent economic collapse.

  4. amymckie says:

    Sounds like an interesting book. I read a book at some point about the tulip fever, and I remember loving it, but I can’t remember AT ALL the name of the title! I wish I could remember…

    • leeswammes says:

      It’s probably the book that I want to read now, Amy! I know there were at least two books about the tulip fever, and this was obviously not the one that was full of information about it. Must have been the other one! 🙂

  5. Shan says:

    Tulipomania by Mike Dash was a really interesting book, it was very detailed (some of the criticism is that it’s too detailed in parts.) But I definitely learned a lot about that time from it.

  6. leeswammes says:

    Bibliosue read this book on my recommendation. Check out her review here: http://bibliosue.blogspot.com/2010/11/blogger-recommended-tulip-fever.html

  7. Pingback: Review: Tulip Fever by Deborah Moggach « Alex In Leeds

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