Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Tulip Fever” as Want to Read:
Tulip Fever
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Tulip Fever

3.51  ·  Rating details ·  10,161 ratings  ·  1,048 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, 281 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.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Tulip Fever, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Jasmyne Rose Tzitziras Polkinghorne I just got to this part in the book! and I had the same reaction. Like, what? no stop! Everything is riding on this and I can see it all going terribl…moreI just got to this part in the book! and I had the same reaction. Like, what? no stop! Everything is riding on this and I can see it all going terribly wrong! (less)
Jen Leaf Suppose it would depend upon the man. Generally speaking, I would say no.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.51  · 
Rating details
 ·  10,161 ratings  ·  1,048 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Tulip Fever
Jeffrey Keeten
Jan 28, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: the-dutch
”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 w
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
Richard Derus
Sep 02, 2018 rated it liked it
Real Rating: 2.5* of five

Oh forevermore. Tedious. Always an older man whose beautiful young wife is misunderstood, uninterested, bored by him...and it's *his* fault. Then she meets a *handsome*young*artist* who unleashes her primal passions the way her old man can't, or won't, or doesn't want to.

Oh poor poor little lady. ::eyeroll::

Then we get the filmed version with that human blancmange Dane DeHaan as the Struggling Artist. Why anyone would think that blah little boy was hot beggars my imagina
Frank Hoppe
Nov 08, 2016 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.
May 21, 2008 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.
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
Jun 10, 2012 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
(Nearly 3.5) If you liked Girl with a Pearl Earring and The Miniaturist, you may also enjoy this atmospheric, art-inspired novel set in the 1630s. (Originally from 1999, it’s recently been adapted into a film.) Sophia, married off to an old merchant, falls in love with Jan van Loos, the painter who comes to do their portrait. If Sophia and Jan are ever to be together, they’ll have to scrape together enough money to plot an elaborate escape. I thought this was rather soap opera-ish most of the wa ...more
Sep 07, 2011 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 Freak
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).
Aug 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: i-own
Surprisingly enjoyable book with quite a few twists. I especially liked the Amsterdam setting in the 1600’s. Looking forward to the movie.
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 13, 2017 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
Jul 18, 2010 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
May 02, 2012 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
Feb 24, 2009 rated it liked it
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!
Nadya Ruskowa
Jan 26, 2018 rated it liked it
You probably won’t find a person who doesn’t know Kochenhof and the endless tulip fields in Holland. Today this is the country with biggest tulip production in the world. Every spring we can enjoy The Tulip Fest in Amsterdam where we can see different tulip cultivars selected there. This period in their history, to which the author take us, is extremely interesting for me in a professional way and also as a flowers lover.
I began reading this book with an intention to learn something new about t
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
Aug 05, 2014 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.
Rosanna Highton
May 04, 2015 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.
May 31, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: on-my-shelf
In terms of historical fiction, my preference:
The Dutch Golden Era and Italian Renaissance >>>> WW2

If I compare this to other similar works I read, I'd say it ranks above The Miniaturist, but quite a bit below The Girl With the Pearl Earring. Still, a very strong 3.5 stars! I'm curious to see the film adaptation (just gonna say Christoph Waltz <3).
"Oh! What a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive."
Sir Walter Scott

Deborah Moggach used the life of a real painter from Holland in the 1600's to tell a story of passions built on deceit. The deceit begins with a mistaken identity, causes collusion between a servant woman and her mistress, and uses the burgeoning tulip markets to build worth that only exists on paper. As the plot becomes more and more complicated the web of deceit winds tighter. I flew through the last few chapt
Scottsdale Public Library
This is not your usual historical fiction book.

It takes place in the Netherlands in the 17th century when the inflated speculation in tulip bulbs is in full bloom. The book, however, is not particularly about the events of ‘Tulip Fever’.

This simple drama does scatter in historical events and social behaviors of the time. 'Tulip Fever' does work its way into the story. Yet it is primarily a drama about the lives of several characters. Each separate chapter presents a perspective by the variety
Sep 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 31, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dnf
Maybe I read this at the wrong time in my life. I really loved the concept of this book, I think the history of tulips (tulip mania) in the Dutch golden age is really fascinating.

However, it just didn't feel right to read Tulip Fever at the time. I read about half the book before putting it back on the shelf. Some parts in this book were utterly lovely and other parts just made me feel weird and uncomfortable.

Maybe my opinion would be different if I actually finished the book.
I will try it a
Got about 50 pages in and decided to call it quits. I recently read The Miniaturist and have read other painterly books in the setting of Amsterdam in the 1600s (The Girl with a Pearl Earring and The Last Painting of Sara de Vos). While I love the art world, the setting is quite severe and quite dull. I'm also not a fan of books told from multiple perspectives, especially when that perspective jumps an average of 1.5 pages and includes inanimate objects like the painting itself. I can see what's ...more
Nov 02, 2019 rated it liked it
Didn't really grab me, dragged at some points.
Deborah Ideiosepius
Tulip Fever is a fictionised story of Seventeenth century Amsterdam where Jan Van Loos (who may be loosely based on Jacob Van Loos, an actual painter) is doing a portrait of a successful merchant and his much younger, second wife. The artist and the wife fall in love...

The author does well at bringing the era to life, (including the obsession with tulips and the fortunes associated with them) and using art descriptively. Her love of Amsterdam and the Dutch masters comes to the reader through the
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
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Play Book Tag: Tulip Fever - Moggach - 3 stars 2 8 Jan 01, 2019 02:28PM  
Screen & Page: Tulip Fever 2 4 Oct 15, 2017 05:50AM  
Contemporary YA: Tulip Fever 6 35 Jul 09, 2016 07:42AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Golden Tulip
  • Doña Maria
  • Ashes of Fiery Weather
  • Instant Confidence
  • Félbehagyott ​költemények
  • Hét mocskos nap
  • The Hedgehog Handbook
  • Cerka cuvara uspomena
  • A Cor da Paixão
  • The Little Women Letters
  • Bertrand Russel and A. N. Whitehead
  • Love Beyond Life: The Healing Power of After-Death Communications
  • Girl in Hyacinth Blue
  • To Dance with Kings
  • Summary of Less by Andrew Sean Greer (a Novel)
  • Naiset katsovat vastavaloon
  • The Symbiont (The Symbiont Time Travel Adventures Series, Book 1): Young Adult Time Travel Adventure
  • The Innocents (Bruno Johnson, #5)
See similar books…
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 stories ...more

News & Interviews

Need another excuse to treat yourself to a new book this week? We've got you covered with the buzziest new releases of the day. To create our...
12 likes · 7 comments
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.” 6 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.” 3 likes
More quotes…