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Tulip Fever [Hardcover]

Deborah Moggach
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (95 customer reviews)

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Book Description

6 May 1999
The story of sexual betrayal and human failings in 17th-century Amsterdam, as the characters move inexorably towards a grand deception and a tragic climax.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: William Heinemann Ltd; First Edition, First Printing edition (6 May 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 043400779X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0434007790
  • Product Dimensions: 20.8 x 13.7 x 3.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (95 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 737,250 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

The Amsterdam of the early 17th century has been forever immortalised by the serene, precise domestic realism of the canvases of Vermeer and Rembrandt, and has been studied with meticulous care by Simon Schama in his marvellous book The Embarrassment of Riches. What Schama identified at the heart of the opulent display of conspicuous consumption in Dutch still-life painting was an anxiety about wealth and commodification which ran throughout 17th-century life in the Low Countries, an argument beautifully complemented by Ann Pavord's marvellous book on The Tulip.

Deborah Moggach's novel Tulip Fever gives both Schama and Pavord's studies a compelling fictional twist. Set in 1630s Amsterdam, it begins with a typical Renaissance love triangle: a wealthy, elderly merchant, Cornelis Sandvoort, his beautiful but frustrated young wife Sophia and the painter who enters their life, Jan van Loos. Commissioned to paint the happy couple's portrait, Jan becomes embroiled in a series of emotional and financial speculations which are to change the character's lives forever. Interspersed with 16 beautifully reproduced Dutch paintings, Tulip Fever is a delightfully conceived story which offers a new dimension to what really goes on within the apparently placid domestic interiors of such canvases. --Jerry Brotton


"A scintillating story of lust, deception and retribution" (Independent on Sunday)

"A sumptuous and enthralling novel about art, love, illusion and money...with the denouement of a classic" (The Times)

"A story of love, deceit, changelings, and mistaken identity worthy of a Restoration dramatist" (Anna Pavord Daily Mail)

"A byzantine plot that hurtles towards disaster, while retaining the polished veneer of a Dutch interior" (Harpers & Queen)

"Sensuous and masterly...a gorgeous novel" (Mail on Sunday) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting historical drama 31 Oct 2003
By Rachel
I recently read this for my local book group, and was surprised at the division the book caused. People either loved it and found it a pleasure to read or hated it. Personally, i found the simple style of writing, the shift in perspectives and the sketching of the characters effective. Others in the group argued differently, that the writing was too simple, and the characters barely two dimensional.
This is not a complex book, and if you prefer thought provoking texts then i would not recommend this to you. If you enjoy a story where you get all the angles from the different characters, and are thus invited to have sympathy with them on an individual level, then this is for you. I would not think it is a man's book as such - the tone of the novel is very much biased towards the main femaile character. When her husband discovers that she is having an affair, he is far more angry at the man she has been sleeping with and there is little if any wrath directed towards his wife, which i found hard to believe. At the heart of the story seems to be the search for Sophia to gain control over her life. One of the most powerful images in the book is when she describes herself as a blackboard covered in the scrawls of others, not one mark her own. The poverty of her youth meant she had to marry a wealthy man of advanced years to help her family. In some ways, she is no less a puppet to van Loos who decides he wants her and wastes no time worrying about any scandal that may envelop her in the process. True, he does love her, but i wonder if it is a love which would have withstood the test of penury. Her final choice is what the book has been building up to - her freedom from the men in her life and the power to choose her own path.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Implausible and yet oh-so-predictable 11 Jan 2000
By A Customer
A book begging for a re-write. And some real research. We are told repeatedly that the action takes place in 1636 - as tulip fever reached its peak in the Netherlands. Yet Cornelis manages to worry about the policies of Louis XIV (born in 1638, ascended the throne in 1643, not really in a position to have his own policy until after the death of Mazarin in 1661). The story rattles along, telegraphing its twists chapters in advance, working to a horribly implausible climax, which - apart from one gratuitous and irrelevant quirk - had been guessable one hundred pages in advance. And the key moment of plot development (an inebriated servant asked to undertake a crucial mission) is as unnecessary as it is far-fetched. Nothing would prevent Our Hero from undertaking the mission himself, in the company of a large retinue (and, for a crucial mission, most people wouldn't mind a crowd).
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Is that it? 20 Jan 2001
By A Customer
As a few of the other reviewers have already said I believed the hype and bought this book. What a disappointment. I have always believed the cardinal sin of reading was skipping bits, but I don't think I'd be here today if I hadn't skimmed over paragraphs in this turgid book. The narrative is plain boring and the "romance" passionless and unbelievable. I actually made it to the final page and the ending just about reached the heights of a Mills and Boon pot-boiler. Does anyone else feel that reviewers are afraid to say what a book is really like when the general consensus is that only gushing praise will do ?
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
The best book I've read in ages... once I'd started reading I couldn't put the book down. It is so well written, I fealt I'd met all the characters. The plot is exciting and unpredictable and a great insight into Amsterdam life in the 17th century. Unlike many other period novels, this book is very easy to read and so easy to relate to modern times. If I had to make a complaint about the book, it would be that it is too short.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tulips, tulips and more tulips! 31 May 2006
This novel I found had an extremely complex plot, yet wonderfully simple to follow. It's an historical narrative set in seventeenth century Holland, yet had all the suspense, thrill, and deceptions of a twentieth century love-triangle. A very atmospheric story told imaginatively and beautifully, in a way that almost makes the reader feel they are sat reading this book in a bed of tulips!
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not nearly as good as Girl with a Pearl Earring 22 May 2002
By Christine L HALL OF FAME
I loved Tracey Chevalier's Girl with a Pearl Earring so I figured that another book set in the same time and a similar environment would be a good idea. Although very well written, easy to read (I finished it in a day) and quite capturing at times it really didn't do anything for me. I found most of the characters difficult to empathise with and parts of the book were just unbelievable. I wouldn't really recommend this book to anyone. If you want to read something by Deborah Moggach she's certainly written much better books. If it's historical Dutch stories you're interested, get Girl with a Pearl Earring instead.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Tulip Fever caught my eye as an historical novel and then as a thriller. Certainly as you get deeper into the novel you are compelled to keep going if only to find out if or how the lovers get away with it! One reason for my enthusiasm were the brief chapters, perhaps only one or two pages, each focusing on a character. It kept my attention and kept the pace roaring along. Sadly though, the pace was at the cost of any meaningful identification with the characters, however my main concern was in finding out how it finished. I found the historical presentation quite refreshing, and I liked looking at the art work. Tulip fever is a good story told in a gripping way. Don't, however, expect anything deeper than this.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars evocative and intriguing.
creates a wonderful atmosphere. Very rich writing. A voluntary review should not specify a number of words! That's enough! Done
Published 6 days ago by J. Mulhall
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great condition, delivered as promised.
Published 6 days ago by Jacqueline Rees
5.0 out of 5 stars I love it
Thank you
Published 14 days ago by Dot
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Loved the book and loved the service.
Published 19 days ago by Rags, Durham
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Well written, with an interesting theme.
Published 25 days ago by Aubrey Thornewill-Traumann
4.0 out of 5 stars Booktrail during the Tulip mania of Amsterdam
In 1630s Amsterdam, Tulipomania 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. Read more
Published 1 month ago by thebooktrailer
5.0 out of 5 stars Read it!
Great read, got into it straight away.
Published 1 month ago by Annie B
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
A good read, which I thoroughly enjoyed while on holiday.
Published 1 month ago by Trish
4.0 out of 5 stars Different but really good
It's not the sort of book I normally go for but I must say it was really good . Lots of twists and when you think you know what's going to happen you're wrong...... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Tracy Marshall
3.0 out of 5 stars Not my kind of book
Not really my kind of book, only purchased as my daughter is an extra in the film version being filmed at the present time. Read more
Published 3 months ago by christine wilkinson
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