A book review:

Tulip Fever: 1999 by Deborah Moggach

A historical novel set in the midst of the Dutch tulip mania in 1630's Amsterdam, Tulip Fever is the story of a May / September marriage of convenience fraught with infertility, betrayal and intrigue.

The book gives a peak into the time of Tulipomania when the speculation on the price of a single tulip bulb could make or break a fortune by telling the stories of 6 characters' lives. One thread in the book peaks into the impressionist painters' life in that time. A second thread contrasts the life of the rich and pampered young but infertile wife of a rich merchant with that of her maid who is in love with the local fish monger. We also get a nice view of the city of Amsterdam and its economics during the that decade of crazed speculation over tulip bulbs that almost ruined it.

An enjoyable read with a beautiful book cover illustrating a red and yellow "broken" tulip. One of the interesting aspects of tulipomania was that the really highly priced tulips, those with stripes and mottling of the petals, were the result of a virus infection. 1 or 2 percent of identical bulbs "break". At the time, this color break could not be predicted or controlled. The cover illustration of the mottled tulip is an illustration of the type of tulip that would have fetched a fortune for a single bulb in 1630 Amsterdam.

has a photo of a broken tulip

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