Review: Tulip Fever by Deborah Moggach

Sophia is the beautiful and much-younger wife of Cornelius, a wealthy merchant in Amsterdam. Her husband is quite likeable and rather amusing, and she is content enough with the life she leads with him. Everything gets turned upside down when Cornelius decides he wants to get their joint portraits painted by painter Jan van Loos. Van Loos and Sophia are immediately attracted to one another, and a passionate affair ensues. At the same time, Sophia’s maid, Maria, falls in love with the amiable fishmonger, Willem.

These relationships get very complicated and drastic decisions are made, all during a time when tulips were being ridiculously over-valued in a bubble that later became known as Tulipomania. The precious tulip bulbs become extremely important for the characters, whose schemes depend on the money that could be made from these.

These relationships get very complicated and drastic decisions are made, all during a time when tulips were being ridiculously over-valued in a bubble that later became known as Tulipomania. The precious tulip bulbs become extremely important for the characters, whose schemes depend on the money that could be made from these.

“The world is chaotic. All artists know this, but they try to make sense of it. Sophia has made sense of it for him. She has stitched it together like the most beautiful cloak. Her love has sewn it together and they can wrap it around themselves and be safe from the world. Nobody can reach them.”
Deborah Moggach, Tulip Fever

I was utterly enthralled throughout the story. Moggach has such a beautiful writing style, which unquestionably draws readers into 17th-century Amsterdam, with all its sounds, smells, and art. I was rather sad when the book ended, simply because I didn’t want it to end – surely the sign of a good book! By the end of the story, however, I liked Maria and Willem more than the other couple. I heartily recommend this book to anyone who enjoys good literature and a trip back into the seventeenth century. If her other books are anything as good as this one was, I’m definitely a fan.

5/5

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