I did it! It took some dedicated searching, but I finally found a sunny, sheltered spot by my work where I can see the first daffodils coming up. There’s nothing to see in my yard just yet, but in about a month, hopefully, I will have daffodils and hyacinths blooming. My favorite spring flower is the tulip. Like the daisy, it is such a deceptively simple flower—although there are some spectacular varieties out there. I wish I could grow tulips in my garden, but between the groundhogs, the chipmunks, the rabbits, and the deer, there is no hope for them. They get eaten as soon as they poke through the ground. Because I really wish I could have a flowerbed just like the one shown here, today’s recommended reading is brought to you by the TULIP.
Thanks to her father’s painting lessons, Francesca becomes an apprentice of Johannes Vermeer. Against her father’s wishes, Francesca pursues her growing affection for tulip merchant Pieter van Doorne. As Francesca’s 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. Dutch history comes alive in this page-turning novel.
In the 1630s, the Dutch were caught up in the frenzy of buying and selling tulip bulbs. It was the first futures market in history, and like so many of the ones that would follow, it crashed spectacularly, plunging speculators and investors into economic ruin and despair. This is the history of the tulip, from its origins on the barren, windswept steppes of central Asia to its place of honor in the lush imperial gardens of Constantinople, to its starring moment as the most coveted commodity in Europe.
Cornelius von Baerle, a respectable tulip-grower, lives only to cultivate the elusive black tulip and win a magnificent prize for its creation. But after his powerful godfather is assassinated, the unwitting Cornelius becomes caught up in deadly political intrigue and is falsely accused of high treason. Condemned to life imprisonment, his only comfort is Rosa, the jailer’s beautiful daughter. Dumas infuses his tale of romantic love, jealousy, and obsession with elements from the history of the Dutch Republic and Holland’s seventeenth-century “tulipmania” phenomenon.