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A disappointing read!
on 14 February 2017
Tulip Fever tells the tale of Sophia, a young woman in 17th century Amsterdam, married to a much older man. Sophia’s wealthy husband, Cornelis, commissions a young painter, Jan, to paint a portrait of him and his wife. Sophia and Jan develop an intense attraction, which leads to a torrid affair.
Unfortunately, I did not enjoy Tulip Fever. The plot synopsis promised excitement but I found it rather dull. It is a book of less than 300 pages, yet it took me two weeks to read! I did not connect with Sophia and Jan’s relationship, as the author does not explore the attraction between them in any detail. Within a few pages, they are embroiled in a passionate affair, which appears to develop out of very little. The lack of substance behind their relationship left me unsympathetic to their affair and worse, I began to dislike them as characters.
The deceptive plan Sophia and Jan concoct in order to be together was so ludicrous, I almost laughed. It was quite clearly doomed to fail because it was so completely implausible. I found my sympathy directed toward Sophia’s oblivious husband, who genuinely loves his wife, and her beleaguered maid, Maria who has been caught in Sophia and Jan’s web of deceit.
I think the author should have taken more time to expand on the early stages of Sophia and Jan’s relationship. This would have helped to make the reader more sympathetic to their affair and like them better as characters. This novel had great potential but lack of detail and unlikeable protagonists made it a forgettable read.