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  • Location: Amsterdam

Tulip Fever

Tulip Fever

Why a Booktrail?

1630s -This novel vividly evokes not only a setting but a time and a place too. Quite an eye opener! And more of a saucy read than you may think. The  ideal companion for anyone who visits Amsterdam and the Rijksmuseum in particular.

  • ISBN: 978-0099288855
  • Genre: Fiction, Historical

What you need to know before your trail

In 1630s Amsterdam, Tulipmania has seized the city. But for wealthy merchant Cornelis Sandvoort is captivated by this flower but what captivates him the most is his wife Sophia. They are trying for a baby – an heir, but have not been lucky so far.

When the husband commissions a painting  to show how much he loves his wife, he is not expecting Jan van Loos, the artist he hires, to show the same level of interest in his subject. As the painting takes shape, so too does the life of everyone around it.

Travel Guide

Amsterdam is beautifully evoked as is the setting and atmosphere of the dirty noisy canals and the excited panic and greed of the traders.

Although historical and quite serious, Tulip Fever is the equivalent of sitting on the knee of a bawdy character  in a backstreet bar whilst swigging and spilling their beer as they jolt you up and down. Haha what fun!

It’s the literary equivalent of lots of rapid brush strokes smacked and sprayed across a blank canvas of a world poised between religion and secularism, tradition and trade. Deborah Moggach’s painting could go alongside any of those artists she admires and includes in the book –  Rembrandt, Vermeer amongst others. One of the painters describes the bulbs of the Tulip like a man possessed –

“Everything he sees speaks Tulips to him. Comely women are tulips; their skirts are petals, swinging around the pollen-dusted stigmas of their legs”

Tulipmania is an interesting theme – how much bulbs were bought and sold for, how much trade and double dealing went on down by the docks. the whole novel gives a real insight into Amsterdam merchant life at that time.

“The heavier the bulb, the more azen it weighs. The more azen is weighs, the more money for him. That is why he leaves his tulips in the soil for longer than his rivals”

Painting for the inspiration of the novel – http://www.deborahmoggach.com/index.php/tulip-fever/

Booktrailer Review

Susan @thebooktrailer:

I picked up one book and got another one and more with Tulip Fever. Oh the characters and the rich detail of merchant life in Amsterdam was enthralling and utterly captivating.The characters were voluptuous and brash, some scenes exactly like those still life paintings so well loved by the artists of the time. Bawdy is a good word to describe both the characters and the action going on here and it’s a very unique view of the city and its people!

With the books events and chapters presented as artworks or references to them, this is akin to walking around a  Dutch art gallery and marvelling at the works even if you tend to blush when you come to the more bawdy displays on show.

A romping good read would be a good way to describe this book. Amsterdam is evoked with deft strokes and imaginative imagery and the overall effect is one I’ll always remember. Tulipmania was a fascinating period to learn about and really grabbed my interest.

Booktrail Boarding Pass Information:

Web: Deborah Moggach.com

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