Skip to content

Tulip Fever

May 1, 2010

Tulip Fever by Deborah Moggach takes place in 17th century Holland.  Cornelis Sandvoort hires painter Jan van Loos to paint a portrait of him and his young wife Sophia.  Cornelis is smitten with Sophia, but Sophia is smitten with the painter. The premise obviously reminds the reader of The Girl With the Pearl Earring, but I found that I liked Pearl Earring much more:

  1. Pearl Earring focuses on Vermeer, an actual historical Dutch painter, so when reading the novel, the reader could find the actual paintings that the author was referring to throughout the book.  Tulip Fever’s Dutch painter is fictional, so there are no works to compare to the scenes Moggach describes.  I guess this isn’t a deal breaker, but I did really love that aspect of Pearl Earring because it made it so much more interesting.
  2. Griet and Vermeer’s romance never actually comes to fruition, which makes the plot so tense and suspenseful.  Sophia and Jan rush into a romance after seeing each other twice and it just feels kind of hasty and lusty from the beginning.
  3. Griet’s background and family life are illustrated as well, making the reader understand her situation better.  We are told that Sophia’s family faced hardships, but we’re never introduced to them or given a clear understanding of her background.

After Sophia and Jan begin their clandestined romance, the plot goes crazy – we’ve got gambling, blackmail and ridiculous lies, all topped off with a fake pregnancy and a onion for dinner.  Sound bizarre?  Well, it is.  Tulip Fever certainly wasn’t my favorite, but I didn’t not like it. But if I decide to revisit 17th century Holland, I’ll go back with Griet, not Sophia.

Advertisements
No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: