I am Rembrandt’s Daughter by Lynn Cullen

I read a book called Mrs. Poe earlier in the year and reviewed it. I said at that point that I thought I had found an author who I adored. It turns out I was right. I just finished reading I am Rembrandt’s daughter by the same author, Lynn Cullen and once again she has made me stand back in awe. Here is my review:
I am Rembrandt's DaughterI am Rembrandt’s Daughter by Lynn Cullen

With her mother dead of the plague, and her beloved brother newly married and moved away, Cornelia van Rijn finds herself without a friend or confidante–save her difficult father. Out of favor with Amsterdam’s elite, and considered brash and unreasonable by his patrons, Rembrandt van Rijn, once revered, is now teetering on the brink of madness. Cornelia alone must care for him, though she herself is haunted by secrets and scandal. Her only happiness comes in chance meetings with Carel, the son of a wealthy shipping magnate whose passion for art stirs Cornelia. And then there is Neel, her father’s last remaining pupil, whose steadfast devotion to Rembrandt both baffles and touches her. Based on historical fact, and filled with family dramas and a love triangle that would make Jane Austen proud, I Am Rembrandt’s Daughter is a powerful account of a young woman’s struggle to come of age within the shadow of one of the world’s most brilliant and complicated artists.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is an example of why I am a hypocrite. Really, and here’s why. I write reviews and I constantly tell people how important they are, but then I read a book like this, disagree with many of the other reviews and shake my head at people. In other words, I disregard everything I read and come to my own conclusion. Now about the book:

I fell in love with this book just as assuredly as I fell in love with the last book I read by Lynn Cullen (Mrs. Poe.) I believe this book was marketed as a young adult read, but I felt it had much more depth than one usually finds in that category, so if the YA books tend to turn your head away, please give this one a second look anyway.

Cornelia is a beautiful, strong and capable character. She has the wit and intellect to handle such a strong role as being Rembrandt’s daughter. Lynn Cullen has a way of letting the reader inside the minds of her characters so that they can experience their emotions and see through their eyes. She makes you feel like you are part of the ongoing story rather than just a bystander. I felt that way with this story.

I love when you read something and you just know that it must have been important to the author at the time that they wrote it. This book has some absolutely beautiful passages that support a strong story that gets stronger as the book progresses. I enjoyed watching the characters mature and grow throughout the telling.

The struggle of Cornelia loving her father even through shame, humiliation and ridicule from others was incredibly well written. I felt sympathy toward her and her situation and by the end of the book, I only wanted what was best for her.

The secondary characters in this story are also well penned and help to shed light on Cornelia’s character and determination. I loved the setting and the historical research the author did was clearly more than adequate. This book is beautiful, and I would certainly recommend it to anyone interested in the historical period.

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13 thoughts on “I am Rembrandt’s Daughter by Lynn Cullen

  1. I’m suggesting this for a book club born of a Coursera group/class (20,000 students in the class. Yes, I said 20,000.) that just finished. It was a class called Plagues, Witches and War and all the books were historic fiction. When it ended, we wanted it to continue, and this book would fit in perfectly. Thanks for suggesting it in this blog.

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  2. I don’t find you coming to your own conclusions to be hypocritical at all, I think that that is the right thing to do since everyone has different tastes. Sounds like a great book. I hope that all has been well with you. 🙂

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  3. Ionia, you have brought tears to my eyes. To be understood by a reader like this is what a writer lives for. Thank you for your heartfelt review. You are getting a heartfelt response from this author! I so treasure our connection.

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  4. It is great that you have found an author that you truly adore. I also think it is great that you have demonstrated your impartiality with regard to reviews, in that you can ignore the reviews that others have written, and that you come to your own opinion regarding a book. That is so incredibly important in reviewing and cannot be overstated. It is your opinion of the book that is important and not allowing yourself to be swayed by popular opinion is crucial. A fantastic review.

    Finding books that allow us to identify closely with the author and their vision is a wonderful thing and something that, as a reader, I am always looking out for. This definitely sounds like an author to explore on the basis of both this review and your previous one for ‘Mrs Poe’. An author with two five star reviews from a reviewer of your calibre has got to be something special.

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    • I have previously fallen into the “Hmmm I bet I won’t like it based on this review” trap. I then found that when I tried some of those books, I loved them regardless of what people thought.

      Lynn Cullen writes from the heart. That cannot be understated.

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