Fine condition.Doubleday,1991.First edition-first printing(1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10).Tan hardback(gilt lettering on the front cover and spine,very small mark inside the edge of the front cover) with Dj(two small nicks and creases on the edges of the Dj cover),both in fine condition.The book is as new with two small colour marks on the edge of page 259,small nick and crease on the edge of the pages.585pp.Price un-clipped.Heavy book. This is another paragraph From Publishers Weekly: This period piece set in 17th-century Holland, though unabashedly romantic and somewhat predictable, is far from ordinary. Young painter Francesca Visser's absorbing story, displayed against a carefully documented background of Dutch artistic achievement, is mixed with turbulent politics and enriched by memorable portraits of respectable--and dissolute--Dutch burghers. Francesca's father, a debt-ridden and intemperate Amsterdam painter, faces 30 years in prison for an enormous gambling loss. To insure a loan from Ludolf van Deventer, an unscrupulous shipowner, he signs a contract authorizing the marriage of Ludolf and Francesca. Unaware of this binding agreement, the gifted and independent girl moves to Delft for a six-year apprenticeship with Jan Vermeer and falls in love with Pieter van Doorne, a tulip grower and staunch Dutch patriot. Her subsequent difficulties increase as Ludolf proves far more dangerous than first realized. The suspense rarely slackens, for Francesca's spirited younger sisters, Aletta and Sybylla, enter into highly entertaining and surprising romances of their own. Laker's ( Circle of Pearls ) tightly woven novel, swift-moving and filled with lusty characters, is weakened only by a convoluted, lengthy cloak-and-dagger finale.