The Black Tulip by Alexandre Dumas

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This book, by Alexandre Dumas, of The Three Muskehounds … sorry, Musketeers fame, tells the story of a Dutch tulip-grower who is wrongly imprisoned, falls in love with the prison warder’s daughter and has his prize-winning tulip nicked by a baddie. The said daughter then manages to retrieve the tulip and prove her admirer’s innocence. William of Orange intervenes, and our hero gets both the girl and the prize and lives happily ever after.

Unfortunately, it was very hard to take it seriously, because a) the story was so formulaic, b) the author confused William III of Orange with William I of Orange and c) the title kept making me think of “The Black Fingernail” in the Carry On take-off of The Scarlet Pimpernel. That was rather a shame, because a well-portrayed French view of the United Provinces in the 1670s could have been very interesting to read. Oh well. It was quite entertaining, if nothing else!

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