The Golden Tulip by Rosalind Laker
Paperback, 576 pages
Three Rivers Press
November 27, 2007
Genre: Art Historical Fiction, Romance
Source: Received from Arleigh @ Historical-Fiction.com to help her out with her reviews
The Golden Tulip brings one of the most exciting periods of Dutch history alive, creating a page-turning novel that is as vivid and unforgettable as a Vermeer painting.
This amazing novel has many different story threads woven together beautifully. At the heart is the story of Francesca and her family. Francesca is the daughter of a decent artist in Amsterdam. Taking after her father, she appears to be headed toward great things in the art world. An apprenticeship is acquired for her with the relatively unknown (at the time) Johannes Vermeer in Delft. Things all seem to be looking up – Francesca has an apprenticeship, her family appears to be doing well (her father has a wealthy patron), and she finds herself falling in love with Pieter (a tulip grower and landscape designer). Just when things appear to go well, all starts to fall apart. The patron of her father has become obsessed with Francesca and is determined to marry her – no matter what the cost! How do these problems affect Francesca’s art? How will her family fare? What will happen to the blossoming love between Francesca and Pieter?
My favorite part about this novel was the way the characters were written. I truly felt for the characters. I would be excited when good things happened and very upset when horrible things happened. Each character felt so real – they all had their flaws and personalities and didn’t feel typical. One of my favorite characters was a minor character – Catherina Vermeer, Johannes Vermeer’s wife. She was so good to Francesca and I just loved her personality.
It is very obvious that a lot of research went into this book. Tulipmania was explained in relative depth – this was when the price of a single tulip bulb climbed to as high as a year’s salary, everyone wanted them, and then the market crashed and people were left penniless. There were also great descriptions of the cities of Amsterdam and Delft. Vermeer’s paintings were discussed – what the meaning are behind some of the works and symbols, stories about the sittings as well as physical descriptions.
I really loved this book – it had so many little stories happening with this family and was very intriguing. I cannot wait to get to read The Venetian Mask which is on my shelf right now.
Rosalind Laker also has written many historical novels, a few include: The House By the Fjord, The Venetian Mask, and To Dance With Kings. You can visit Rosalind Laker’s website here. You can also check out my photo post of some of the Vermeer work that was described in the book.
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