Holland, 1637. Lena Schoon is an orphan, sold to the owner of a flower shop, along with her older brother, Bas. When Lena and Bas’s master dies, Bas inherits the flower shop at the height of Tulip Mania, a time when single tulip bulbs were being sold for prices equivalent to that of Amsterdam’s finest houses.
Along with the shop come debts that threaten to uproot the siblings, leaving them without a home or a trade. In desperation, Lena hatches a plan to dress as a man and attempt to sell a fake Semper Augustus bulb, the rarest and most valuable tulip of the time, to the one merchant in town with the money to pay for it.
But when Lena meets the merchant’s daughter Elsje, she is smitten. And her plan to save her shop and her home is suddenly challenged, both by her heart putting down its roots, and also by questions about her own identity that emerge the longer she lives as a man...
Mackenzi Lee’s The Madness Blooms is perfect for the teen and adult fans of Jessie Burton (The Miniaturist), Tracy Chevalier (Girl with a Pearl Earing), Sarah Waters (Tipping the Velvet), and Ruta Sepetys (Salt to the Sea).