The Golden Tulip

Rosalind Laker, Author
Rosalind Laker, Author Doubleday Books $20 (585p) ISBN 978-0-385-41560-6
Open Ebook - 978-0-307-40560-9
Hardcover - 877 pages - 978-0-8161-5573-6
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-1-299-01751-1
Paperback - 877 pages - 978-0-8161-5574-3
Paperback - 564 pages - 978-0-307-35257-6
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This period piece set in 17th-century Holland, though unabashedly romantic and somewhat predictable, is far from ordinary. Young painter Francesca Visser's absorbing story, displayed against a carefully documented background of Dutch artistic achievement, is mixed with turbulent politics and enriched by memorable portraits of respectable--and dissolute--Dutch burghers. Francesca's father, a debt-ridden and intemperate Amsterdam painter, faces 30 years in prison for an enormous gambling loss. To insure a loan from Ludolf van Deventer, an unscrupulous shipowner, he signs a contract authorizing the marriage of Ludolf and Francesca. Unaware of this binding agreement, the gifted and independent girl moves to Delft for a six-year apprenticeship with Jan Vermeer and falls in love with Pieter van Doorne, a tulip grower and staunch Dutch patriot. Her subsequent difficulties increase as Ludolf proves far more dangerous than first realized. The suspense rarely slackens, for Francesca's spirited younger sisters, Aletta and Sybylla, enter into highly entertaining and surprising romances of their own. Laker's ( Circle of Pearls ) tightly woven novel, swift-moving and filled with lusty characters, is weakened only by a convoluted, lengthy cloak-and-dagger finale. (Oct.)
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