This was one of those random reads, honestly. When I went up to my sister’s room for recommendations on the handful of prompts I still had to fulfill for this year’s PopSugar Reading Challenge, one of them was “a novel that takes place in two time periods” (or something, but that was the general gist). And, little star that she is, after she finished throwing I Am David at me, the rustled up this book for me for the next prompt. And honestly, I would never in a million years have picked this up on my own, and I suppose that is at least part of the beauty of these reading challenges. There is absolutely no way that you could fulfill them all by staying in your happy reading space, so your horizons are sort of forcefully broadened. A good thing, I think, because I’ve noticed that I am far more set in my ways as an adult reader than I was as a child, when I would read literally anything with words, up to and including the shampoo label while I was in the shower.
Anyway, The Tulip Virus. This book only took me a few hours to read all up, so it is a blissfully easy book to read, but that doesn’t mean that you should underestimate the amount of planning that went into this book. I would argue that the reason it is so wonderfully easy to read is the fact that it was beautifully plotted, and by that I mean planned. Everything slots into place perfectly; not necessarily in a way where you know exactly what’s going to happen all the time, but the sort of way that makes you pause and go “huh” before continuing. I like that in a book. I also, surprisingly enough considering my normal reading tastes, enjoyed the historical perspective of the sections of the book that took place in seventeenth-century Holland; Hermans didn’t (thank god almighty) try to write in seventeenth-century ridiculousness. These sections clearly took place in the past, but were written in understandable English because this author is a blessing from above, clearly.
I was also very impressed by the amount of research that must have had to take place to write this novel; I felt I actually learned about the history of the tulip trade in Holland, and while I haven’t fact-checked the book, what I read seems legit. What is it they say about a good lie, that it is always based on truth? Novels are collections of excellent and attractive lies, and this book comes across as a very believable one. I wouldn’t call this the best book I have ever read (Peter Pan forever, in case you’re wondering), but I did enjoy it and I’m glad I picked it up.
Image Credit: The Goodreads page for this book, by way of Google Images