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Book Review

Book: Tulip Fever
Author: Deborah Moggach
Published: April, 2001
Publisher: Dial Press Trade Paperback

available at

Synopsis: Sophia is newly married to a man much older than herself to whom she is grateful for rescuing her family from financial ruin and allowing her to lead the life of an aristocrat. But as Sophia strives to become what is expected of her, she becomes the object of desire of a young artist who has been commissioned to paint the newlyweds’ portrait. As the conflict that Sophia experiences between her newfound passion and her sense of obligation grows, she becomes more and more willing to sacrifice a life of security for a chance at happiness. Set amidst the backdrop of 17th century Amsterdam, Sophia and the artist plan a grand deception that hinges not only on the worth of a tulip but on Sophia’s maid, who has also found herself in a difficult situation as a result of “tulip fever.”

Editor’s Review: Appearing at first to be shallow, predictable, and simplistic, Tulip Fever blossoms into a rich tale of passion and deception. A full cast of characters that includes a maid in a difficult situation, a servant who can’t be trusted, and a doctor with regrets, all play a role in the deception planned by the two lovers. Moggach acquaints us with the ambitions, dreams, passions and disappointments of the characters which enable the deception planned by the two lovers to stand a chance at success. Although the tulip trade is not the central focus of the book, Moggach skillfully weaves it into the tale along with the cultural mores and frustrations of Amsterdam society and draws a clever parallel between tulip fever and the risks that people are willing to take to achieve happiness. Despite what I would consider to be an implausible relationship between the characters, I found Tulip Fever to be fascinating look at human nature and what drives people to do astonishing things.

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Diana Blake is a professional artist and art history enthusiast. Her fascination with art history began when she encountered European art firsthand during several trips abroad as a young adult. As she began to compose a portfolio for her own art career, she called upon what she had seen in Europe and extended her knowledge to other styles of art through profuse reading and exhaustive research. As a result, Diana has written more than one hundred articles in which she delves into a variety of art history topics and she has compiled a list of links that she believes to be invaluable for art history enthusiasts. In addition, she also reviews books and movies on the topic of art history and has assembled an extensive list of online stores that sell books, movies and gift items related to art history.
   You can see Diana's own artwork by visiting her site at