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Tulip Fever

3.55  ·  Rating Details ·  4,445 Ratings  ·  491 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
Paperback, 288 pages
Published April 10th 2001 by Dial Press Trade Paperback (first published 1999)
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MravaWishes I think that you are right, I made the same conclusion, too. It offered a very reasonable ending and a deep moral value.
Sophia most certainly saw…more
I think that you are right, I made the same conclusion, too. It offered a very reasonable ending and a deep moral value.
Sophia most certainly saw becoming a nun as a way to wash out all the guilt she felt at the time.(less)
Pen Fairchild From Page 31 of the trade paperback (0-385-33492-3):
[Cornelius is speaking to his wife and the artist who is painting their portrait]
"It is not a…more
From Page 31 of the trade paperback (0-385-33492-3):
[Cornelius is speaking to his wife and the artist who is painting their portrait]
"It is not a native plant, of course - it comes from Turkey. When I was a young man the tulip was known only to the cognoscenti - aristocrats and horticulturalists. But we are a green-fingered, resourceful people, are we not? And, nourished by our rich soil the humble bulb has been developed into ever richer and more spectacular varieties."(less)

Community Reviews

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Jeffrey Keeten
”Everything he sees speaks tulip to him. Comely women are tulips; their skirts are petals, swinging around the pollen-dusted stigmas of their legs.”

 photo Tulip20Woman_zpsll6xdpsg.jpg

Amsterdam in the 1630s was considered one of the richest cities in the world. Trade had been very good for the Dutch. Citizens were becoming very civilized with a growing interest in music and a need for art hanging in their homes. The painters of the city were kept busy with commissions as wealthy people not only wanted fine paintings on their wall
Sophia's painting hangs in the Rijksmuseum. Others of her, with different titles and different painters, hang in the Dresden museum. Scholars quarrel about her identity. Is she Venus, is she Delilah?

Like the scales of a precious tulip bulb, Sophia's life story is peeled away by the people who knew her the most intimate. Her husband, Cornelius Sandvoort, her maid Maria, the fish seller, Willem and the painter Jan van Loos.

During the tulipmania of the 1600 in Holland, when greedy mongers gambled
Update Feb, 2017

I first read this 5 years ago for book club and enjoyed it at that time. I reread this month to dip back in before the movie based on it is released Feb 24. ( I enjoyed it the second time around as well, keying in on some different things perhaps than on the initial outing. I had completely forgotten the ending! I especially like Moggach's use of the brief moral maxims, quotes and bible verses at the beginning of each short chapter. Each d
Feb 12, 2017 Selma rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Divna historijska drama, priča po kojoj je snimljen i istoimeni film. Radnja priče smeštena je u Holandiju u vrijeme kad su se ljudi bogatili ili bankrotirali investirajući u lukovice, tada izuzetno egzotičnog cvijeta, lale. I  dok je većina zahvaćena ludilom i stavljanjem svega na kocku, stariji bogati trgovac Kornelisu živi za svoju prelijepu mladu suprugu Sofiju. Njihov brak je ugovoren i kao takav je miran i jednoličan sve dok Kornelis ne odluči da obraduje Sofiju njihovim zajedničkim portre ...more
Jun 10, 2012 Cathy rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 02, 2012 Suzanne rated it really liked it
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
Sep 07, 2011 Diana rated it it was ok
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
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).
Jul 18, 2010 Cat rated it it was amazing
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
Having just finished The Last Painting of Sara de Vos, I figured I'd stay in 17th century Holland just a little longer with this book. And really, I have to say that was a great decision.

Many of the reviewers have said that they feel as this is just a soap opera from the 17th century set down on paper, and they're not wrong. But what makes this book isn't so much the plot, though that is fast-paced enough to keep it interesting, it's the writing. While I suppose I would characterize this as a gr
Feb 24, 2009 Elizabeth rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
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!
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
Frank Hoppe
Nov 08, 2016 Frank Hoppe rated it did not like it
I read this for a Library book club. I must be getting old and cranky. I found the prose almost physically painful to read. The characters unsympathetic, the plot unbelievable. I kept thinking about how much time I had left before I die and why was I devoting my energies to finishing this.
Pauline  Butcher Bird
Because this novel is plot led, it is easy to get the story simply by reading three words on every page. There are no distinguishing features between Sophia, the lady of the house, and Maria, her maid. Nor could I discern any difference between the male characters; one is 65, the other is a dark-haired,short, chubby artist, and the third is an artisan. Twice in the novel, crucial money purses are lost through chicanery, a repeat that suggests no other way could be found to twist the unbelievable ...more
Aug 05, 2014 Dhali rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Despite liking the paintings and enjoying every other book of Moggach's that I've read (and so coming to this optimistically) this left me cold. I liked Cornelis, Maria and Willem, but Sophia and Jan left me at first bemused and then rather repelled. Their love story came out of nowhere; there was no insight into their motivations and their love affair felt sleazy - which is odd because the love between Willem and Maria felt real indeed. A few plots twists in the end made it feel like a morality ...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.
Apr 30, 2016 Leesa rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book and read it in prep for the movie out this summer. If I'd heard of it before I saw the movie trailer, I would've wanted to read it anyway. It reads v. modern altho it's set in the 17th century. A truly beautiful book, cheeky enough, also sad in spots. Quick, fun read. Would be an adorable book club read too so I guess I need to get on putting one together?
May 04, 2015 Rosie rated it it was ok
I found this book quite unsatisfactory. It is a gripping tale of complicated affairs and webs of deceit but it lacked character development and I found the fact that the chapters switched between first and third person quite unsettling. It is one of those novels where you're not quite sure who you should be rooting for. Easy to read but difficult to love.
Clara Axner
Dec 07, 2015 Clara Axner rated it really liked it
Slutade faktiskt aldrig förvåna, mkt spännande!!
Ksenia (vaenn)
Дивна, дуже дивна і добряче декоративна книжка-каркас. Є сюжет - стрункий і фігуративний, є герої, пов'язані між собою плетивом непростих стосунків, з характерами на три штрихи (а іноді - і взагалі без штрихів, так, трохи допиляні функції), є вируючі пристрасті, але так прописані, що в пристрасть до картин, смачного їдла, тих таки тюльпанів вірити легше і приємніше, аніж у людські любові й ненависті. Книжка-театр ляльок, де на першому місці декорації - дбайливо змальовані з численних "зразків" - ...more
Feb 13, 2017 Sinéad rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
Oh dear, what a disappointing read!

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 wee
Ayala Levinger
Apr 15, 2016 Ayala Levinger rated it liked it
strange, I already wrote a review and it was half gone. I read this book because it was on my to-read list and found it in the library. I didn't remember why I added it but probably it was because I am interested to see if historical romans about Amsterdam has some reference to how Amsterdam became such a rich city for rich people (hint: it was not only from dealing in tulips and no, of course trafficking people was nowhere to be mentioned).
But this book is not really about neither the flowers
Pauline Montagna
Jul 18, 2013 Pauline Montagna rated it liked it
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.

Jan 29, 2014 Kay rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
May 21, 2008 Michael rated it did not like it
This book is not very good at all. I plan on leaving it in Singapore to increase my distance from it.
I remember reading this sometime in early 2000's and really liking it then. I was a bit worried that it may not be so good anymore but luckily that was not the case. The writing is minimalistic and intense it draws you right into the 1630's Amsterdam. I think this was a five star read for me originally but now more like four star. It was still very good but maybe I didn't connect with the people so well this time.
Mar 27, 2017 Elise rated it it was amazing
Amazingly good book! At first, it read like nothing more than a romance novel set in 17th century Amsterdam, but keep reading and hold onto your hats, because it is so much more. The fast pace, the twists and turns, the utter unpredictability of how the events unfold kept me up reading late into the night, even on school nights. Tulip Fever was a delicious treat, and I eagerly await the movie. I can't wait to check out other books by this author too.
Emma Holtrust
Slightly cliché, but still a fun and quick read. Especially as a Belgian/Dutch girl, I loved the historical information on Amsterdam and the history of the tulips.
The plot was slightly predictable, but I'd still see the movie to see if they maybe changed that a bit.
Miryana Begovich
Apr 09, 2017 Miryana Begovich rated it really liked it
Shelves: adult
A slow page turner with a good moral message. Shows feeling don't change much over time.
May 23, 2016 Laura rated it liked it
Shelves: owned
I have mixed feelings about this book. I was really excited to read it, and it was kind of a letdown for me. The main thing I had a problem with was the plot. I thought the story would be more about the tulip mania which was something I had no prior knowledge of, and I was interested to learn about. The way it was handled in this book was not very well; it was sort of this background plot that wasn’t ever really explained. It also wasn’t until about the laugh half of the book before it was reall ...more
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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...

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“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.” 5 likes
“Sophia will not come. How mad he is to imagine, for a moment, that she might. Why should she risk everything for him? He can offer her nothing, only love.” 2 likes
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