"It is 1636 and Amsterdam is thriving. The seat of government is in The Hague, but Amsterdam is the true capital of the Republic. Trade is booming; the arts are flourishing. Fashionable men and women stroll along its streets, and the canals mirror back the handsome houses in which they live."
The richly detailed setting of 17th century Amsterdam is the backdrop of Debroah Moccach's Tulip Fever. Cornelis, a wealthy merchant, loves beautiful things and loves his second, much younger and very beautiful wife Sophia. After three years of marriage, he decides to commission a portrait to immortalize them both from the artist Jan Van Loos. This decision unwittingly initiates a series of events including mistaken identities, the gain and loss of fortunes, deceit, and an impossible love affair.
The rise and fall of Tulip Fever's plot coincides with the tulip mania of the time. During this heady and exciting period of tulip trading, tulips are not only admired for their beauty, but are a valuable commodity in Amsterdam and are fetching high prices. Tulip speculators risk their fortunes by buying tulip bulbs sight unseen. At the height of tulip mania, a single tulip bulb can sell for more than ten times the annual income of a skilled craftsman.
Richly narrated and superb story telling, Tulip Fever is a compelling read. This enjoyable book is also being adapted for the big screen and the movie is scheduled for release in 2015. I'm looking forward to it and I'm hoping it's as good as The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, also by Deborah Moggach.