Tulip Fever
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

Tulip Fever

3.54 of 5 stars 3.54  ·  rating details  ·  1,926 ratings  ·  246 reviews
A tale of art, beauty, lust, greed, deception and retribution -- set in a refined society ablaze with tulip fever.

In 1630s Amsterdam, tulipomania has seized the populace. Everywhere men are seduced by the fantastic exotic flower. But for wealthy merchant Cornelis Sandvoort, it is his young and beautiful wife, Sophia, who stirs his soul. She is the prize he desires, the wom...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published April 10th 2001 by Dial Press Trade Paperback (first published 1999)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
I liked this much better than I thought I would. A fast, entertaining read, with writing that is pared down, but really very good.

Amsterdam in 1632 is a prosperous city of merchants who rule the known world, at least in terms of commerce. Cornelius, a well-to-do merchant in late middle-age, has married the young and beautiful Sophia. He is a good, kind man and Sophia appreciates having been rescued from poverty when her family’s fortunes declined. The Netherlands is in the midst of a financial...more
My husband is Dutch, I've heard of the tulip-mania that hit Holland, I like historical fiction - all the arrows were pointing to a book with possibility. Hah. Not to be. Think instead of Boy meets Girl, Girl happens to be married to kindly older man, Boy and Girl fall into instant lust, Girl horribly betrays kindly husband, Boy behaves foolishly in every manner possible and on and on until we have a 17th century soap opera in full bloom (haha). Tulips do figure in, but just enough to set the sta...more
The tulip speculation bubble is only an aside in what is basically a 17th century soap opera. The time period offered so much potential, not just the tulip bulbs, but also an age of great Dutch artists, unfortunately none of it is explored in any substantive way. In retrospect, save 2 chapters (one about a bulb grower and one about Jan's bulb trading, this novel could be transposed to almost any place/time.

Perhaps the best thing I can say is that it reads quickly with its short chapters. The wor...more
This book was voluptuous historical fiction without anyone's bodice actually getting ripped off. (There's sex and love in the book -- just no actual bodice-ripping or silly over-the-top romance.)

Moggach paints a convincing and resonant portrait of a world poised between religion and secularism, tradition and trade, city and globe. Her appreciation for Rembrandt, Vermeer, and other painters of their ilk infuses her physical descriptions as well as her verbal renderings of visual art. Like the Dut...more
Friends of  Linebaugh Library
Deborah Moggach paints a convincing and resonant portrait of a world poised between religion and secularism, tradition and trade, city and globe. Her appreciation for Rembrandt, Vermeer, and other painters of their ilk infuses her physical descriptions as well as her verbal renderings of visual art. Like the Dutch still lives and portraits from the 17th century, Moggach's novel delves into the relationship between body, sex, mortality, spirit, and art. The voluptuousness of the flesh only draws...more
Pauline Montagna
Perhaps it was the success of Girl with a Pearl Earring that prompted the publishers of Tulip Fever to take the unprecedented step of including colour reproductions of Dutch paintings in the novel, thus allowing us to see, as well as imagine, the world in which its characters live. Also the story of the relationship between a painter, albeit a fictional one, and his subject, Tulip Fever has the added element of the Dutch ‘Tulip Mania’ of the 1630s, the earliest commodity driven boom and bust.

Kind of a sad little book -- "the course of true love never did run smooth" proven true. I picked it up because the back cover spoke of Amsterdam in the 1630's during the height of tulipmania. And it spoke of some painters of the time, many of whom I like a great deal.

The story is several intertwined, and told from varying points of view: Wealthy Cornelis Sandvoort and his beautiful wife Sophia, their maid-servant Maria and her fishmonger lover Willem, painter Jan van Loos (who falls in love wit...more
Deborah Moggach's Tulip Fever is set during an interesting historical moment: 1636 Amsterdam. Ten years after the Dutch purchased Manhattan island, while Harvard College was being formed an ocean away, Amsterdam was in the midst of a tulip speculation bubble. Unfortunately, Tulip Fever mainly concerns itself with a melodramatic love story. When wealthy, heirless merchant Cornelis Sandvoort aimed at immortality by commissioning Jan van Loos to paint a portrait of himself and his young wife Sophia...more
I really enjoyed this book once it got going. It takes place in the early 1600's Holland during Tulip Mania, something I hadn't heard of before. In the early 1600's tulips were discovered by the Dutch in Turkey. The Dutch went crazy for them and started trading and speculating on the most highly prized bulbs.(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tulip_mania)

This is a morality tale that includes infidelity, true love, art, tulip speculation, children out of wedlock, etc! Plus, I felt it was educational...more
Frances Thompson
I read Tulip Fever in almost one sitting on the flight to Dubai from Amsterdam, where I now live. It was recommended to me by my favourite fellow reader - my mother - because of the setting of Amsterdam in the first half of the seventeenth century, its focus on the fast-growing trend of portrait painting and the rise and fall of Tulipmania on the stock market, something I knew little about.

I found the historical references, descriptions, facts and details fascinating and I wildly appreciate all...more
An interesting but flawed book read by Ruia Lenska, a woman with a very deep voice. The story takes place in Amsterdam in the 1630s and focuses on Sophia, Cornelis, and Jan van Loos. Cornelis, a 61 year-old widower, has remarried. Sophia, his young, beautiful wife, has traded her beauty for financial security for herself and her family. When Cornelis decides to have their portrait painted by Jan van Loos, he unwittingly invites passion and infidelity into his home. Told from varying points of vi...more
Janet Joy
Jun 05, 2012 Janet Joy is currently reading it
I picked up this book because I recently went to see THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL and LOVED IT! During the film, I noticed that Madge was reading a copy of Tulip Fever and I was really curious because I knew the choice of book would be so particular to that character. It was an actor choice I assumed. I started reading it last night and it's really wonderful.
Cornelis yearns for an heir, but so far he and Sophia have failed to produce one. In a bid for immortality, he commissions a portrait of...more
A história é engraçada e eu gosto muito de ficção histórica mas como tenho lido 'muitos e bons' estava à espera de um pouco mais ou melhor. Li a tradução portuguesa e, tal como com outros livros, tenho a sensação que tinha apreciado mais se tivesse lido o original...
Acho que havia coisas que poderiam ser mais aprofundadas como o cultivo e o negócio em torno das túlipas, as idas ao mercado, os negócios de Cornelis e até a relação de Sophia com a família.
De qualquer modo é divertido, eu gostei, l...more
This was a surprising novel. It was perhaps a little less about tulips than I had thought, but very interesting nonetheless and the comments about Dutch art and the illustrations added an extra dimension. I ended up reading it cover to cover because I was so absorbed in the story.
This is a story of love and deceit and the craziness of tulip trading that surrounded Amsterdam and all of the Netherlands in the 17th century.

Sophia is a young woman married to an old man (she's in her early 20s, he's mid-60s) and while she does not love him, he saved her and her family from a life of poverty so she is grateful to him. Then a young and dashing painter comes to paint their portrait and nothing will ever be the same again.

Sophia embarks upon an affair with Jan the painter and by...more
If you liked "Girl with a Pearl Earing" You will like this tale. Set in 17th Century Amsterdam, a city in the grip of tulip mania - it's a story of love, romance, money & deception and the art of painterly intrigue & reckless gambles. A pacy plat with twists and turns written well Moggach keeps the tension building till the sad, funny and tragic end.

Illustrated with paintings from Vermeer, Maes, de Hooch, Steen, Terborch, van Rijin, and others in the dutch style.
MaryannC.Book Fiend
This is one of my favorite reads, I read it a few times now. Set in the 1600's this story revolves around the Tulip mania that went on(something I never knew about) during that time. An added bonus for me was that Deborah Moggach wrote the screenplay for Pride and Prejudice(the Keira Knightley version which is another favorite).
Oct 02, 2011 Michelle rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Michelle by: Ellen Posledni
That book was so much fun! The back jacket states that she is the author of twelve precious novels. I'm not so much into the whole 'precious' thing. I'm curious enough to read some reviews on her other books, though. I didn't even have to renew it to finish it. That should tell you something.
A quick, easy read about a doomed love affair that begs to be reviewed using phrases like "torrid affair" or "grand deception." Also, it has a "Wings Of A Dove" vibe- it is unbelievable what lengths these characters will go to in order to get what they want!
Ellen Posledni
Fascinating historical backdrop, interesting moral dilemmas, edge-of-your-seat suspense, humor, excitement, effortless characterization...a quick read and once I was hooked, I had trouble putting it down. A light summer read!
This book is not very good at all. I plan on leaving it in Singapore to increase my distance from it.
a lewd attempt at historical fiction

Cornelis Sandvoort is a middle-aged merchant living in 17th century Amsterdam. He wants to capture his prosperity on canvas and commissions artist Jan van Loos to to paint a portrait of himself and his beautiful young wife, Sophia, whom he has ‘rescued’ from a life of poverty. When the roguish painter Jan van Loos and Sophia fall in love, they resolve to do anything to stay together. An elaborate deception ensues!

Despite the title and being set in The Netherla...more
Sim Carter
I originally put two stars but that's a little harsh so I just added one. I usually enjoy historical fiction - this book is set in the mid 1600's. Maybe I was expecting a book as luminous as Girl with a Pearl Earring so I was setting myself up for disappointment. I was expecting a lot of lush painterly language and exquisite romance. There was some cursory broad brush strokes in terms of how the art was dealt with AND the romance was conducted more like a bad farce. The characters were ok but it...more
Andrea Arbit
The format of the book felt a little choppy, especially at the beginning. Every chapter (and many beginning chapters were only a single page long) started with a quote from some primary source that summarized the "take away" message, feeling, or moral that was to come in the chapter that followed. (Sometimes the quote was almost as lengthy as the chapter itself, and after the first few I just skimmed/stopped reading them altogether because they were distracting to the story and didn't seem to ad...more
Another book group choice and following last month with the same author, but a very different story. I voted for this one, both, because I liked the storyline and I was intrigued to see how different Moggach's writing could be. Having not particularly liked Seesaw, for me, this was a much better read.
A similar subject to Tracey Chevalier's Girl With A Pearl Earring, the storyline held an interest for me. However, in my opinion, Chevalier is the better writer and Girl With A Pearl Earring a bette...more
Ankur Rastogi
Tulip Fever is a fictional story set in the backdrop of 17th century when Amsterdam was gripped by "Tulip mania". Tulip mania is characterized by the time when prices of tulip went unbelievably high because people started trading in tulip futures. People made fortunes and lost as well. Many committed suicide and those who didnt lived a life of destitute when the markets crashed.

However this is only the backdrop. The novel is about a young woman who married an old widow because he could take care...more
Set in 17th century Amsterdam, Sophia is the young wife of the rich but wrinkly Cornelis, who commissions a painting of himself with his wife. Sophia is essentially a listless housewife who falls for Jan, the stereotypical artist with a messy studio and unbrushed hair. Their story is juxtaposed to the romance between Maria, Sophia's maid, and Willem, a simple fishmonger.

Moggach adopts a cloying style and the main characters are uninspired and unsympathetic. The manuscript should have been publi...more
Friend the Girl
Sep 02, 2007 Friend the Girl rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: historical fiction fans who don't like a lot of plot
... or believability, or chronological consistency. I'm a big history nerd when it comes to the 1600s in general, and I really like good historical fiction. So far, this isn't it. The book had promise, being set in Amsterdam in 1630, when tulip speculation was just starting to take over Holland and entire fortunes were made and lost over flower bulbs. Tulip Fever focuses on an elderly merchant, his young wife, and the painter commissioned to immortalize them on canvas during the peak of their we...more
Deborah Moggach paints a convincing and resonant portrait of a world poised between religion and secularism, tradition and trade, city and globe. Her appreciation for Rembrandt, Vermeer, and other painters of their ilk infuses her physical descriptions as well as her verbal renderings of visual art. Like the Dutch still lives and portraits from the 17th century, Moggach's novel delves into the relationship between body, sex, mortality, spirit, and art. The voluptuousness of the flesh only draws...more
Beautiful young Sophia is married to an old but wealthy husband. He is a kind man who loves his wife and supports her family. She finds this situation tolerable until he commissions an artist to paint their portrait. Sophia and the artist are attracted to each other. Maria her maid also has a lover and they plan to marry, but where will either couple find enough money to make their dreams come true? The answer appears to be to speculate in tulips.
Deborah Moggach has used old Dutch paintings to...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Painted Kiss
  • With Violets
  • Lydia Cassatt Reading the Morning Paper
  • Vermeer's Hat: The Seventeenth Century and the Dawn of the Global World
  • The Miracles of Prato: A Novel
  • Life Studies: Stories
  • I Am Madame X
  • The Ruby Ring
  • The Music Lesson
  • Kate Hannigan
  • Tulipomania: The Story of the World's Most Coveted Flower & the Extraordinary Passions It Aroused
  • The Golden Tulip
  • Claude & Camille: A Novel of Monet
  • The Sidewalk Artist
  • Dancing for Degas
  • Mesmerist
  • Restoration
  • Art Through the Ages 2
Deborah Moggach is a British writer, born Deborah Hough on 28 June 1948. She has written fifteen novels to date, including The Ex-Wives, Tulip Fever, and, most recently, These Foolish Things. She has adapted many of her novels as TV dramas and has also written several film scripts, including the BAFTA-nominated screenplay for Pride & Prejudice. She has also written two collections of short sto...more
More about Deborah Moggach...
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel Heartbreak Hotel Final Demand In the Dark The Ex-Wives

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »

“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.” 4 likes
“After the storm the city lies becalmed. It is a sunny morning, still and cold. Branches litter the streets like broken limbs. People clear away the wreckage. They swarm around like ants whose anthill has been scuffed; how doggedly they rebuild their lives.” 2 likes
More quotes…