Review: “I Am Rembrandt’s Daughter” by Lynn Cullen

For the love of books

The life of Rembrandt van Rijn’s third daughter, Cornelia, is very obscure.  Lynn Cullen, the author of I Am Rembrandt’s Daughter, takes what little facts are known about Cornelia’s life and deftly creates an original narrative told by Cornelia herself.

Cornelia’s love for art is made apparent through her secret desire to become an artist, and the author’s opinions about Rembrandt’s paintings are revealed through Cornelia’s eyes.  Rembrandt himself is a main character, and his artwork plays a prominent role in the novel.  Different paintings relate to every chapter in the book and to every event in Cornelia’s story.

In the midst of her family’s poverty and her father’s preoccupation with his work, Cornelia partakes in a love triangle involving Rembrandt’s last apprentice, Neel, and Carel, the son of a wealthy merchant.  During the course of the story, the young woman unveils a hidden connection to her ancestry and a secret about her beloved mother, Hendrickje.  Cornelia’s growing respect and love for her father reaches the apex when she learns the truth about Rembrandt’s personal sacrifices and the extent of his devotion to his family.

The heroine is brought into the spotlight by the author’s insights and creativity, and the city of seventeenth century Amsterdam is revived through Cullen’s research and detailed descriptions.  Brimming with life, imagination, and great love for art, I Am Rembrandt’s Daughter is truly romantic.

Original review: Lynn Cullen introduces Rembrandt’s daughter, Examiner.com

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