Cover of book Tulip Fever
Authors: Deborah Moggach
Categories: Fiction » Historical Fiction
This really could’ve been so much more. The 17th century tulip fever and the art market are so interesting, but in this story they were just on the sidelines of some sort of soap opera. The constant dropping of names and ‘this painting will be at the Rijksmuseum in a few hundred years!” over and over again were pretty annoying.
Last thought: if you use Dutch words in your novel, that’s fine by me. Please make sure you use not just the dirty ones correctly but the others as well… hutspot is not stamppot. Don’t use plurals when it’s just one person. Thanks.
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 really explained, and even then it wasn’t explained very well. I still have no real idea about what it was about, and the title of the book insinuates that the book is supposed to be about this. It felt very unnecessary in the story, you could have eliminated all the tulip mania stuff and it wouldn’t have changed the story all that much. I was hoping to understand more about this period of time and I didn’t learn anything.
I also think there should have been a lot more to this book. It’s a very short book being as it is sort of a historical fiction novel. I think it should have been a much longer book to really expand on what tulip mania was and add more to the story. The book was very focused on the characters and the plot between a few of the characters. I had no real sense of the setting or other events going on during the time of the story because everything was about the characters, and this might not be a problem if I actually cared about the characters. I didn’t connect to any of the characters and didn’t really care when things didn’t work out for them. The story is told through multiple points of views, through many characters, so you never get enough time with one character to really know them or care about them. The chapters were short and along with the constantly changing point of views the story was a quick read, which was a negative aspect to me for the type of novel this is.
I did enjoy the writing and the way the author would construct a sentence. The writing was very beautiful at times, and it created a very good tone for the novel which I enjoyed. I did really enjoy the first hundred pages, but after that the story was very predictable and nothing surprised me; I could anticipate what was going to happen very quickly. I also felt like some of the characters were doing things that were very stupid and there was a much better way of doing it, but they didn’t do it that way which got frustrating. It was also strange to switch perspectives so often; in Sophia’s chapters we are given her thoughts through first person point of view, but all the other characters are told in third person which is also occasionally omniscient, and then we also got chapters told through inanimate objects through a third person omniscient view. This inconsistency was very distracting while reading and it always took me out of the story every time there was a change like this. I don’t really know the purpose of this or what it was meant to do, except point out that Sophia was our main character and the one character we knew more intimately.
Also the ending kind of bugged me. I felt like it worked out perfectly for most of the characters, almost too perfectly. I also didn’t understand the choice the main character, Sophia, made at the end of the novel; it kind of made sense for her character, but it also didn’t. Overall I felt like this story had a lot of potential, I just think there needed to be more to it. I did have a lot of problems, but it was a fast read and most of the time enjoyable, but kind of forgettable. This story left no lasting impression on me.