The Tulip Eaters
written by Antoinette van Heugten
published by Harlequin MIRA
Why did I pick this book: I was asked by the publicist to review this book. (I received a copy of this book for review purposes.)
Did I enjoy this book: Yes.
My first reaction to this book was that it has a very strange title. I couldn’t imagine what the story was about. But apparently in 1944, a Nazi embargo forced Dutch families into near starvation. Famished families ground tulip pulp into a watery porridge and ate them to survive. Who knew?
So how does all this fit into a murder/kidnap mystery in Houston, Texas? Very nicely actually. Nora de Jong returns home from work to find her mother murdered and her daughter kidnapped. Her search for her mother’s killer and daughter’s kidnapper leads her into one of the darkest times in European history. van Heughten manages to intertwine a modern day American crime story into her main character’s Dutch history in a way that hasn’t been told before.
Nothing about this novel follows “the formula.” If you read mysteries a lot you probably know exactly what I’m talking about. From the odd title to the new twist on the WWII angle, van Heughten takes what could be a very tired, overused subject matter and turns it into something exciting, interesting, and unexpected.
The Tulip Eaters isn’t just action, crime-solving, and drama. This book packs one heck of an emotional wallop. The relationships between characters are carefully and powerfully developed. She even figures out a way to throw a love story in there. This book has it all.
Would I recommend it: Yes. Fans of history, whodunits, and even love stories will enjoy this book.
Will I read it again: The book is a little long, but it’s not out of the question.
About the book – from Goodreads: In a riveting exploration of the power the past wields over the present, critically acclaimed author Antoinette van Heugten writes the story of a woman whose child’s life hangs in the balance, forcing her to confront the roots of her family’s troubled history in the dark days of World War II…
It’s the stuff of nightmares: Nora de Jong returns home from work one ordinary day to find her mother has been murdered. Her infant daughter is missing. And the only clue is the body of an unknown man on the living-room floor, clutching a Luger in his cold, dead hand.
Frantic to find Rose, Nora puts aside her grief and frustration to start her own search. But the contents of a locked metal box she finds in her parents’ attic leave her with as many questions as answers—and suggest the killer was not a stranger. Saving her daughter means delving deeper into her family’s darkest history, leading Nora half a world away to Amsterdam, where her own unsettled past and memories of painful heartbreak rush back to haunt her.
As Nora feverishly pieces together the truth from an old family diary, she’s drawn back to a city under Nazi occupation, where her mother’s alliances may have long ago sealed her own–and Rose’s—fate.
About the author: Antoinette van Heugten is a former international trial lawyer and mother of two autistic children. Van Heugten’s first novel, Saving Max, was widely acclaimed and a USA Today bestseller. The story follows a single mother whose teenage son has Asperger’s syndrome and becomes the primary suspect in a gruesome murder case. More than just a heart-pounding thriller, Saving Max is based on her real-life experience raising autistic children. Van Heugten received both her undergraduate degree and law degree from the University of Texas in Austin.