» » The Golden Tulip: A Novel

eBook The Golden Tulip: A Novel epub

by Rosalind Laker

eBook The Golden Tulip: A Novel epub
  • ISBN: 0307352579
  • Author: Rosalind Laker
  • Genre: Fiction
  • Subcategory: Genre Fiction
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Three Rivers Press; 1st edition (November 27, 2007)
  • Pages: 564 pages
  • ePUB size: 1363 kb
  • FB2 size 1135 kb
  • Formats lit rtf lrf doc

Francesca’s father is a well-known painter in the bustling port city of Amsterdam; he is also a gambler. Though their household is in economic chaos, thankfully the lessons she learned in his studio have prepared her to study with Johannes Vermeer, the master of Delft. When she arrives to begin her apprenticeship, Francesca is stunned to find rules, written in her father’s hand, insisting that she give up the freedoms she once enjoyed at home- including her friendship with Pieter van Doorne, a tulip merchant. Unaware of a terrible bargain her father has made against her future, Francesca pursues her growing affection for Pieter even as she learns to paint like Vermeer, in layers of light. As her talent blooms, “tulip mania” sweeps the land, and fortunes are being made on a single bulb. What seems like a boon for Pieter instead reveals the extent of the betrayal of Francesca’s father. And as the two learn the true nature of the obstacles in their path, a patron of Francesca’s father determines to do anything in his power to ensure she stays within the limits that have been set for her.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.
Comments: (7)
I first encountered the novels of Rosalind Laker back in the 1980's, and rather enjoyed her blend of romance and history. Her historical research was solid and interesting, and while sometimes the characters were a bit off the mark, there was enough in them to interest me. Then I stopped seeing her works on the shelves and I moved on to other writers. Now Three Rivers Press is bringing her backlist (previously issued books) back into print, and I scooped up The Golden Tulip on a recent excursion into a bookstore.

Set in Holland during the seventeenth century, this tells the story of the three daughters of Hendrick Visser. Hendrick is an artist painting in Amsterdam, and is a broad fellow in his desires. He adores his wife and children, and while he's very competent at what he does, money just seems to flow through his hands. His wife Anna is more than a little fed up with his behavior, but she loves him very much, and manages to keep their household together. Of their three daughters, the eldest two, Francesca and Aletta, have the most artistic talent, while the youngest Sybylla, is a cheerful butterfly of a girl, dreaming of a life of leisure when she snags a rich husband of her own.

But unexpected tragedy hits when Anna dies giving birth to s stillborn son, and Aletta suffers from a violent encounter in the street. The family is badly scarred by this -- Hendrick focuses more on gambling and drinking, Francesca takes on the chores of mothering her family, Aletta withdraws emotionally, and only Sybylla seems to remain unchanged. But as the three girls mature, we get to see them moving into the wider world of Amsterdam and Delft.

Most of the story centers around Francesca, and her growing talent as an artist. She seems to be unaware of her own beauty, and wants to excell and make a name for herself as an artist. But it seems that her father Hendrick is reluctant to see her skills improve and have her apprenticed, either to herself or someone else. When one of the rich merchants of Amsterdam, Ludolf van Deventer, sees a painting of her as the goddess Flora, he offers to help the Visser family, including seeing Francesca apprenticed to none other than Jan Vermeer in the town of Delft. Francesca faces a long separation from Pieter van Doorne, a young farmer of tulips, but she is also certain that one day she and Pieter will be together...

The other two sisters are not neglected as well. Aletta decides that to trust in having her future in anyone else's hands is too dangerous, and so she struggles to master her artistic talents by herself, and sells her own paintings secretly. When her father discovers this, he destroys her work, and banishes her from the house to fend for herself. Sybylla is the bit player in this threesome, and unfortunately doesn't get much of the story for herself.

Set against the world of art, with Jan Vermeer as one of the main characters, and with appearances by Rembrandt, this makes for a very satisfying read for me. Laker knows the world of the Dutch artists and merchants well, and manages to weave in the history of the time as well. There's all sorts of little snippets about daily life, the customs of the time, the arrangement of the guilds. For those who don't think that women could work and live on their own, I'm happy to say that Laker didn't make her story up -- women were a growing force in Holland at the time, enjoying more economic freedom than most women in Europe at the time. Her knowledge of art really glows here, and I was easily able to identify the works of art that she describes. But with freedom also comes the darker side, especially with one of the villains of the piece, Geertryd, who is one of the nastier characters that I come across in fiction of late. What finally sold the book to me as a 'keeper' was the rich depictions of the story, and the fact that Laker makes her characters very human and ordinary -- everyone has flaws here, from ego, pride, jealousy and then mixes it all in with ambition, talent, love and generosity.

The biggest problem that I have with this one is that some of the main characters are a bit flat. Sybylla, especially, isn't much more than a gadfly, even towards the end of the novel, and with her two sisters so richly fleshed out, it was a real disappointment. Another problem that I had was with the description of the Prince of Orange, who makes a brief but important appearance -- he's shown as a tall, commanding man, when in reality he was a short, pretty ugly man with a brilliant mind for generalship and a wise sense of politics. It's a minor point, but it's still annoying to find a lapse in research. Another problem was that every now and then the writer breaks off to explain something in terms of action, instead of incorporating it into the story, and it gets jarring after a while. It was these mistakes that kept the novel from being a five star work, and dropped it down to a four star read overall.
Set in late 17th Century Amsterdam, this is a novel about a family of artists headed by their loving but self-centered father, Hendrick Visser, whose selfish decisions end up having serious consequences for his daughters. Visser can't seem to stop drinking and gambling and is constantly leaving his wife, servants, and daughters to side step the creditors pounding the doors.

Francesca shows promise as an artist and is all set to begin an apprenticeship under Johannes Vermeer because his style of using "layers of light" is similar to her own. She is bound and determined that nothing, not even a budding romance with a tulip grower named Pieter, deter her from her goal of becoming a great master.

Alleta, is a beautiful carefree girl with a gorgeous head of hair. One fateful day after a day playing at her friends house she makes a decision that ends up scarring her emotionally and she turns inwards, covers her hair, and becomes hardened to the world. She too is determined to have an apprenticeship and since her father can't afford to send her too, she goes behind his back and sells inferior work to the middle class without her fathers permission in order to gain the money needed. This leads to an estrangement between the two and Aletta sets out on her own eventually securing work as housekeeper for Constantijn, a bitter young man who lost his legs in a horrible accident. Although, Francesca is touted as the main character, the story of Aletta and Constantijn was, to me, the most touching and beautiful.

Sybila is the youngest and is thus spoiled rotten. An outrageous flirt, whose sole goal in life is to marry a rich man. Eventually, she gets what she wants but soon learns that all that glitters is not gold and that true love comes in unexpected places.

Ludolf Van Deventer is a secretive man with an unknown background. He falls in love with Francesca's image in one of her fathers painting and will stop at nothing to possess her. He quickly learns of her father's weaknesses and easily exploits them to his advantage eventually bringing the future and happiness of both Francesca and her father under his thumb.

Rosalind Laker does a wonderful job of weaving the lives of these character together into a beautiful exciting story. The plot unfolds beautifully but slowly allowing the reader to really become invested in each character. The last 50 pages will have you on the end of your seat!! The title is a bit deceiving as the novel is really more about art than tulips. The reason, however, for the title becomes clear near the end of the novel.

While the Visser family is a product of Laker's imagination, she gives lush vivid descriptions of real life master's paintings and Rembrandt even has a small part in the story. Being unfamiliar with art in general, I had to look up the paintings described and found that her depictions were spot on. I was particularly taken with Jan Vermeer's use of light. I had forgotten so much from my one required college art class but this brought a lot back to mind. She seems to really "get" and artist and allows her reader to get inside the head of an artist.

This was a beautiful novel with a delicate balance of romance, art, character development, and suspense. I highly recommend this one. It's worth every bit of the five stars I give it!
This novel was extremely interesting, as it covered a wide scope of areas: art and the Amsterstam artist's guild, tulip growing and tulip mania, and the context of the Dutch war with France.
The characters are well-developed, and the female protagonist is one which was easy to relate to.
However, there was not a strong beginning to this novel, and I would advice readers to stick with it through the first few chapters as it does get much better. The problem, in my opinion, with the beginning of this novel is that the author has tried to pack in too much background information in a short period of time. It gets tiresome, as each page skips to years ahead. A quick prologue may have been a better way of allowing the reader to acquire the necessary background information.
Yet, once you are past these initial chapters, the story takes over and you will find yourself emerged in the fascinating world of 17th century Amsterdam.
I love learning about the history of Amsterdam through a well written, good story. This was brilliant and I read it while I was actually visiting Amsterdam. I even went to their Tulip Museum on account of reading the story.
grand star
This is the second Laker novel I've read and I am definitely a fan. Enjoyed both the fictional story and the historical aspect of the book. Having traveled through Belgium and Netherlands, it was easy to picture the scenery described in the novel. Highly recommend this novel for those who enjoy this genre of fiction.
Loved the book! The author's accurate portrayal of historic events and the plethora of characters is substantial. I was not only mesmerized by the story, but I leaned a great deal.
eBooks Related to The Golden Tulip: A Novel
Contacts | Privacy Policy | DMCA
All rights reserved.
lycee-pablo-picasso.fr © 2016-2020