I Am Rembrandt's Daughter

( 29 )

Overview

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 ...

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I Am Rembrandt's Daughter

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Overview

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.

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Editorial Reviews

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A refreshingly original story that melds historical fiction with a coming-of age narrative, Cullen's novel is a treat for readers who enjoyed Girl with a Pearl Earring.

Seventeenth-century Amsterdam is where we meet Cornelia van Rijn, the daughter of the artist Rembrandt. Cornelia takes care of her driven and tormented father, resentful that he has so little affection for her. But her chores leave her questions unanswered: Why didn't Rembrandt marry her mother, now dead of the plague, instead of sentencing Cornelia to life as an illegitimate child? Why does Rembrandt seem to love her stepbrother, Titus, so much more than her? And why does Neel, her father's pupil, look at her so often?

Cornelia's only escape is through the attentions of Carel, a handsome and wealthy son of a local shipping magnate. Carel, like Cornelia, has his own artistic yearnings and takes an improbable liking to her, which she finds puzzling. But as the story of her life becomes clearer, she learns that appearances can be deceiving.

Rich with detail about the craft of painting, I Am Rembrandt's Daughter delights its readers on many levels -- but don't close the book until you've read the author's note at the end. It's a kind of literary chiaroscuro that illuminates the story, much as Rembrandt's own use of the technique added depth and complexity to his paintings. (Fall 2007 Selection)
Publishers Weekly

This sensitively sketched first novel paints a compelling portrait of 14-year-old narrator Cornelia and her conflicted relationship with her father, the famous painter Rembrandt. Cullen ably conjures the anxiety and loneliness of Cornelia's position once her beloved older brother marries and leaves her to care for her uncompromising, half-mad father, whose eccentricities (including a belief that God tells him what to paint) bar them from polite society and whose avant-garde painting style and unpredictable temperament keep patrons away and relegate them to near poverty ("The man's nerve is only exceeded by his madness," a frustrated Cornelia vents). The highly atmospheric Dutch setting along the canals and constant threat of contagion from plague outbreaks heighten the tension, but a romantic triangle between Cornelia, her suitor Carel (an apprentice and heir to a shipping fortune) and her father's student Neel provides most of the drama here. Somewhat uneven chapters centered around the paintings focus on the circumstances surrounding the creation of individual works and point toward a secret involving Cornelia's deceased mother and why Rembrandt never married her. Readers may wish that the buildup to Cornelia's own artistic impulses yielded more, but they will cheer for this colorful cast, especially the likable heroine and the understanding and peace she crafts with her father. Ages 12-up. (June)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
VOYA - Cynthia L. Winfield
Teenaged Cornelia, bastard daughter to the deranged yet lauded painter Rembrandt and his late housemaid, tells of living with her aging vader in poverty on Amsterdam's fringes. Cornelia interweaves childhood memories-each corresponding to an actual painting-of a happier time when her moeder lived. A coral necklace, thrown at her by the grief-stricken Rembrandt before her moeder's Plague-ridden corpse is hauled away, serves as Cornelia's talisman, her one link with moneyed classes and her mother. Lonely in her father's hovel after her brother Titus moves in with his rich wife, Magdalena, Cornelia tends to Rembrandt's whims, suffers his somber student Neel, and yearns to be noticed by this painter whose palsied hands prevent him from shaving yet act flawlessly when Rembrandt van Rijn serves as a conduit between God and canvas. A zealous reader, Cornelia shelters books from her father's disapproval; that she has absorbed his entire art history library escapes him, as do her artist's vision and desire. Impressed by Cornelia's substance, her new acquaintance, young Carel, is smitten, but Rembrandt forbids the friendship. Historical fiction, mystery, and romance are masterfully woven, and Cornelia's tale unfolds along the banks of Amsterdam's famous canals, enchanting readers to remain for just another chapter, and then more. Dutch names might slow some readers, but Cullen's rich detail so revives history as to mesmerize most. From seventeenth-century social mores to the timeless thrill of falling in love, Cullen's novel is a reader's delight.
Kirkus Reviews
Told in the first person, the tale of Cornelia is achingly familiar: She's a girl child in her mid-teens, angry, passionate, hungry both literally and figuratively and ignored by her distracted but brilliant parent, the great painter Rembrandt. He is a pathetic figure here: listening to the voice of God in his head; making images with thick impasto paint; no longer desirable to his patrons; and ignoring the needs of daily life while Cornelia struggles to meet them. She loves her brother Titus, adored of Rembrandt, but he marries and leaves her alone to care for vader. Cullen uses a few Dutch words for 17th-century atmosphere, but Cornelia's bitterness and longing seem very contemporary. The narrative slips back and forth between past (the death of Cornelia's mother, whom Rembrandt never married) and present, when Cornelia is to leave Amsterdam with her new husband. Cullen uses several of Rembrandt's paintings in effective ways to tether the story, even though her fictional climax has no historical basis. (author's note, character list, list of paintings) (Historical fiction. 12+)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781599902944
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
  • Publication date: 10/28/2008
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 334,244
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.28 (w) x 5.36 (h) x 0.83 (d)

Meet the Author

LYNN CULLEN is the author of several picture books and novels, including Moi and Marie Antoinette. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia. Visit her at www.lynncullen.com.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 29 )
Rating Distribution

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 29 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 7, 2009

    Finding truth in your feelings

    This book was a great read for when your feeling down and want to destract what ever is going on in your life. It just shows that nothing is what you originally thought and can turn the bad into good.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 3, 2012

    little disappointed

    I kept reading the book for a great turnout in the end but it didn't turn out that way.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 17, 2011

    WTF! YOU ALL SUCK HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA HA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    How could some(but not all) not read this wonderful,exiting book! I mean it may look diffrent and old fashion and boring, but for me i have the real book in my hands right now and i go to Centennial Middle School and i picked it all by myself and im still reading it. All i know that this book is the best book i have ever read so far in my 11 in a1/2 years of life!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 24, 2011

    interesting take on a real life story

    THis book is about a girl named cornelia whos father, Rembrandt, and cornelias half brother titus, are all living in amsterdam in the 1600-1700's. There father is a old painter who refuses to paint what is popular and so they are living very sparingly in a old house where cornelias only company is her cat and titus. one day titus comes back from trying to sell his fathers paintings and says he is engaged to be married. This made cornelias world go upsidedown until she met carel, the love of her life... or so she thought. Thsi book was very interesting, especially because it is a true story happening during the time after the big epidemic, yellow fever. Although carel didnt actually exist during that time, it feels like when your reading this book you step back in time and feel the pain cornelia feels everyday towards life and her feelings towards the fiction character, carel. THis book was a hard one to put down and was a good book to read if you feel as if you need a refresher on the time where yellow fever was at its peak again. I highly recommend it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 17, 2009

    interesting read

    Although the storyline instantly captured my attention I found it to be lacking a certain something. A good rainy day book.

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  • Posted November 30, 2008

    I Also Recommend:

    Bibliomaniac

    i loved this book. you dont know who she will end up with and it so twisted in the end. you never see it coming. i liked it cause rembrant was an actual famous artist and that captured my attention with it. but if you live romance then you'll love this book! cause its so romantic!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2008

    Are you looking for a fantastic book, well here it just might be

    This book is absolutly wonderful. I learned that you don't have to be top dollar in oder to become so. I also would recommened u to read this book because it is really imspiring and it has a great romance! Also I can tell that the author of this book did alot of rseaching. You may think that when you first read the book that you are reading a biogrphy, but really you aren't. Because you will learn alot about Rembrandt. I would have to say this book was the best book i ever read and that you would not want to let it go!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 5, 2008

    Wonderfully written

    This book was fantastic. An easy read with a lot of conversation which I love. From the author's notes, I can tell Lynn Cullen did a lot of research. I now know a lot about Rembrandt, but it was not like reading a biography at all. A very sweet romance! Couldn't put it down.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 16, 2007

    Perfect!

    I love this book - could not put it down! Easy reading with a very interesting story! Glad I read it!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 8, 2007

    Ridiculously Good!

    Wow, I had never heard of Lynn Cullen before I read this book. Now, I am looking forward to reading other books from her. Cornelia VanRijn is Rembrandt's daughter. Oftentimes, she is ashamed of her father for his bad manners, eccentricity, and her family's poverty-stricken life. Cornelia wishes to paint for herself, but as she hints, Rembrandt doesn't pay any care. She thinks that he completely favors her brother, Titus, but one day, Cornelia learns more about her past--and realizes who her true father is, and how much Rembrandt, who shows it in strange, subtle ways, loves her. With a touch of romance, this book is a masterpiece. After I read it, I found myself curious about Rembrandt's paintings. I couldn't put this book down, and I read it in a day. Excellent writing.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 29, 2007

    One of those books that you don't ever want to end...

    This book was incredible. Not only did it have tons of interesting characters, but it also had massive amounts of historical significance. I'd never really heard of Rembrandt until i'd read this book, but he turned out to be my favorite character, fictional or not. For anyone interested in art, amsterdam, or a feel-good romance, this is the book for you!

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    Posted March 13, 2009

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    Posted March 25, 2013

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    Posted November 30, 2009

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    Posted September 30, 2009

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    Posted November 3, 2008

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    Posted January 27, 2010

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    Posted March 7, 2009

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    Posted April 27, 2009

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    Posted April 13, 2011

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 29 Customer Reviews

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