THE GOLDEN TULIP
November 2007/Previously Published in 1991
Three Rivers Press (Random House)
1745 Broadway, New York, NY 10019
Rating: 4 Cups
Francesca Visser is a talented artist apprenticed to the little known but very talented Vermeer. Her father’s gambling threatens her future and her happiness.
Pieter van Doorne is a tulip merchant and determined to have Francesca for his own, despite her engagement to the sinister Ludolf van Deventer.
With the backdrop of a troubled time in Dutch history and the golden age of Dutch painters, a young woman struggles to establish herself as an artist and follow her heart, despite her father’s selfish plans for her.
This is a sweeping tale that is set in a turbulent time of history, when William of Orange is on the cusp of war with France. Francesca is a wonderful character, a talented artist apprenticed to the soon to be famous Vermeer. Other famous artists of the period are secondary characters. All the family is subject to the whims of the supremely feckless and selfish patriarch Hendrick, a talented artist with a penchant for gambling. Francesca’s two sisters’ lives are also a large part of the novel. Her sister Aletta is also a talented artist, but the father lacks the money for her apprenticeship, and the youngest spoiled Sybilla, wants to be a rich man’s wife. Their tales are also told with the detail so evident in this author’s writing. The main story is about Francesca and her Pieter. The sinister Ludolf is repulsive and made me dislike the irresponsible Visser all the more. I really enjoyed the fact that Francesca and her sister were going to have careers as artists in a time where that is not the norm for a woman. She captures the characters, the setting and their trials so well you will not be able to put the book down, so get comfortable and enjoy.
Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance
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