on 15 March 2000
...would indeed be an insufficient way of describing this wonderful living, breathing gem of a book. Set in the 17th century, the plot revolves around John Nightingale, passionate horticulturist with a dark past, who is blackmailed into leaving his beloved manor. Forced out of his Eden in order to achieve the impossible for people whom he hates, he sets out for Amsterdam, and the mania for tulips that rages there, but as it turns out, the original quest he was given might not be the most difficult one after all... An enjoyable book if I ever read one, The Lady Tree made me want to grow tulips, become a "player" on the stock market and fall in love, all at once. Do read it. Now leave me be, as I am off to seek out Ms. Dickasons other books!
Set in the early part of the 17th century, at the height of "Tulipmania" this is a dense and rich piece of historical fiction. John Nightingale becomes caught up in the trade of tulips and the underground speculative society of Amsterdam. Amsterdam is so well-described I could smell it. Here fortunes hang on a bulb that could be an onion, or on the other hand could be a tulip worth millions. Nightingale has a past, and an enemy who casts a shadow over all his actions, and during the novel he meets two very different women, both of whom engineer a hold on his heart. Christie Dickason's style is like a rich tapestry, with similes galore and plenty of well-researched historical fact peppering every page. If Tracey Chevalier is nouvelle cuisine, then Christie Dickason is the full christmas banquet with crackers and all the trimmings. Both diets are highly recommended.