The Tulip Eaters

( 21 )

Overview

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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 ...

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Overview

www.AVHBooks.com

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.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
08/19/2013
Van Heugten’s sophomore effort (after Saving Max) chronicles the ordeal a mother goes through to rescue her kidnapped daughter, uncovering the truth behind her own mother’s past along the way. In 1980 Houston, pediatric surgeon Nora de Jong comes home to discover her mother Anneke’s mutilated dead body next to that of a man Nora’s never seen before. Missing from the house is Nora’s six-month-old daughter, Rose. Fed up with police bureaucracy, Nora takes matters into her own hands, traveling to Holland, the de Jongs’ homeland, to chase down clues. She’s aided by Nico, whom she fell in love with when she studied in Amsterdam but reluctantly left behind to pursue a career in America. Though riveting from start to finish, the book’s credibility suffers as the villain grows more cartoonish and evil, and van Heugten stumbles by letting us into the kidnapper’s mind early on, reducing the element of mystery. The story remains absorbing nonetheless, working best as that of a daughter discovering things about her mother and her family. Agent: Al Zuckerman, Writers House. (Nov.)
From the Publisher
"A high-speed chase of a novel, Saving Max is like the best of John Grisham with a feminine twist."-New York Times bestselling author Eileen Goudge

"Antoinette van Heugten combines the tender, unshakable bond between mother and son with an action-packed, edge-of-your-seat thriller." - International bestselling author Diane Chamberlain

"Parents of children with serious behavior problems will find their worst nightmares come alive in van Heugten's debut murder thriller...[with] more than one harrowing twist toward the end..."-Publishers Weekly

Kirkus Reviews
2013-09-15
Nora de Jong's life is turned upside down when she comes home from work to find her mother murdered and her infant daughter gone; following the minute clues leads her to some devastating secrets from her family's past and a violent legacy of betrayal and resentment. Suddenly, in one tragic moment, Nora goes from being blissfully happy to being distraught over her mother's murder and her daughter's disappearance. But there is another body at the scene of the crime, someone Nora doesn't know. Why he would be there and what he has to do with her daughter's abduction are driving questions that will force Nora to re-examine everything she knows about her Dutch parents, their past and her heritage. Following what seems like bread crumbs, Nora winds up in Amsterdam and the dusty archives of the War Institute, where endless files and records from the Nazi occupation are kept. What she finds there will shed light on Europe's dark history during World War II and the suffering the Dutch populace endured under Hitler's brutal grip. She will learn that her own family's history reflected a microcosm of the violence and confusion of savage times and that the hate and misunderstanding of war can shadow generations. Author van Heugten's novel plots an ambitious mystery that blends historical elements with a modern kidnapping arc. As Nora seeks clues to find her daughter, she must research her family's history and uncover the secrets of her past; along the way, the author takes the opportunity to highlight some forgotten details of Dutch wartime history. This is a worthy and noble story, but there are too many moments that don't quite work--awkward segues, simplistic character reactions, graceless dialogue. However, the arcs will keep readers engaged, and this war-torn family drama will win fans despite its weaknesses. Flawed yet gripping.
Library Journal
10/15/2013
Upon arriving home from work, Nora de Jong discovers her mother murdered, her hair hacked off in a manner used to disgrace Dutch war criminals at the end of World War II. Even more perplexing is an unknown elderly man who lies dead at the scene, a German pistol in his hand. Most upsetting of all, however, is the disappearance of Nora's six-month-old daughter, Rose, whom her mother had been babysitting. Frantic to find her baby and frustrated with ineffectual local police, Nora begins an investigation that leads to the Netherlands, where she must confront the horrible realities of her mother's past. VERDICT After that gripping opening that hints at a motive without revealing it entirely, this second novel by van Heugten (Saving Max) meanders slightly but finally hits its stride as it nears the climax and final resolution. Characters are deeply flawed, and it is difficult to find sympathy for some of them—even if they are Holocaust survivors. Readers of cold-case mysteries and mysteries set within a historical context will enjoy this book.—Vicki Briner, City Coll. Lib., Fort Lauderdale, FL
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780778313885
  • Publisher: Harlequin
  • Publication date: 10/29/2013
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 268,770
  • Product dimensions: 5.38 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.98 (d)

Meet the Author

Antoinette van Heugten is a former international trial lawyer who retired to pursue a full-time career as a novelist. She lives with her husband in the Texas Hill country.

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Read an Excerpt

November, 1980

Nora balanced the grocery bag on one hip and inserted her key into the lock of the door leading from the garage into the house. This was the best moment of every day. Rose. Her beautiful baby—almost six months now. Every little thing she did was a revelation. How she raised her tiny hand to Nora's face as she held her. How her wide eyes, the deepest of blues, reacted to the slightest change of tenor in Nora's voice. How the warmth of her small body nestled into Nora's when she took her into her arms. When she held Rose, Nora didn't know where her own body ended and her daughter's began.

"Mom?" she called. No response, but that was normal. This was usually when her mother put Rose into her tiny, ruffled bathing suit and swirled her around in the pool. Moving back from Amsterdam to live with her mother had been a blessing. The thought of Anneke and Rose at home playing while she worked filled her with gratitude—and today was no exception. Contentment warmed her as she thought of the love she and Anneke shared in caring for Rose. Grandmother, mother, and child. Life was perfect.

Nora shifted the groceries higher onto her hip and glanced at the pile of mail on the entryway table. Nothing interesting. The newspaper lay open. She scanned the headlines. Iranian Phantoms and F-5 Tiger lis Attack Iraqi Airfields Near Basra. Nora shook her head. It was already 1980. Would the Middle East ever right itself? Her eyes flicked down the page. Los Angeles, Comedian Richard Pryor Badly Burned Freebasing Cocaine. Big surprise, she thought.

She looked through the living room window and caught a shimmer of water from the pool. Joy flooded her. She would take the groceries into the kitchen and then put on her bathing suit. She couldn't wait to hold Rose in her arms. Every evening it felt the same—as if she had been gone for days. That first touch of baby skin revived her spirit, calmed her soul.

She stepped into the living room, still holding the groceries. She heard them crash to the floor and then her own scream. "Mom!"

Anneke lay prostrate on the thick, white carpet, her beautiful hazel eyes gaping at the ceiling, a single bullet hole through her forehead.

"No!" screamed Nora. She ran into the living room, fell to her knees and feverishly searched for a pulse. Her fingers pressed again and again into the soft skin of her mother's neck, but there was nothing, nothing! Darkness exploded within her as she stared into Anneke's vacant eyes. Nora's heart leaped when she heard ragged breathing, until she realized that it was her own. "Oh, God, Mom!" she moaned.

Nora bent and cupped her mother's face with shaking hands. As she pressed Anneke's cold cheek against her own, Nora felt her heart slamming against her ribs, her breath now in hoarse gasps. Moaning, she closed her eyes, hoping wildly that when she opened them, this would all be a nightmare. But when she looked again, all she could see was a sickening stream of dark, ugly blood that ran from the gaping hole in Anneke's forehead in a jagged path down her pale cheek. Then she released her mother's face and saw the same, slick blood on her own palms. Vomit rose up, but she fought it down. She stared at this face she loved. "Mom," she whispered, "please, please don't leave me!"

Half-choking, she looked at the blood on her shaking hands. Then she smelled it—a metallic odor of copper and rust—one she recognized all too well from the operating room. Her own mother's blood on her hands! Bile rose in her again.

She studied the bullet hole. Scarlet blood had stained her mom's silver hair, turning it a grisly purple, the flesh around it charred and black. The odor made Nora gag when she realized it smelled like burnt pork.

Moaning, she sat and clutched Anneke's limp body and rocked her back and forth. Anneke's slight frame swayed with the movement. Then Nora noticed that her gorgeous gray hair had been hacked off in ugly clumps, leaving stark patches of white scalp. She looked wildly around. Tufts of silver hair all over the carpet—feathers from a bird shot from the sky. "Why?" she cried. "Why would anyone do this to you?"

She drew back to shift her mom's body onto the carpet. Anneke's head lolled to one side. Nora screamed. The bullet had blasted a large hole through the back of her head. Nora felt faint. Gray brain matter mixed with blood hung out of Anneke's skull. Nora tried to push the gray lumps back into her mother's skull. They felt like buttery worms and smelled like spoiled eggs.

"Mom! Oh, Mom!" Gasping, she saw nothing but the hideous remains of her mother's head and the slippery blood and brain matter on her own hands. The monstrous sight gripped her. She struggled up onto all fours and heaved waves of green bile onto the white carpet. Then she knelt, taking huge breaths, trying not to pass out. The silence felt endless. She heard only the ticking of the grandfather clock across the room, a relentless metronome to the macabre scene before her.

She roused herself. Her next thought was an iron spike into her brain. "Rose!" she cried. "Where are you?" Adrenaline shot through her as she jumped up and ran to the bassinet. No Rose! She raced into the nursery. The room was dark, the crib empty. "No!" Panic surged within her.

She rushed back into the living room and ran past her mother, desperate to search the other rooms. Running toward her bedroom, her heel caught on the rug and she fell. Pain seared through her right ankle.

Sobbing, she rolled over and found herself face-to-face with a total stranger. A man lay on his stomach, his right arm outstretched. His head was twisted toward her, right cheek pressed into the carpet. She screamed and tried to move away, but her ankle felt on fire. His face was so close that she could have felt his breath on hers—if he were alive. His black eyes looked as dead and cold as her mother's. Then she saw the gun, dark and sinister, inches away from his outstretched arm and gloved fingers. Nora gasped, her heart in her throat. Who was he? And where, oh God, where was Rose?

She got to her feet, wincing at the pain in her ankle, and rushed into each of the other rooms. "Rose!" she cried. "Rose!" She limped back and knelt by her mother, sobbing. "Where is Rose, Mom? Where is the baby?" She appealed to Anneke as if she could still give Nora an answer. Anneke's blank, unholy stare never moved from the ceiling. What in God's name had happened? She rose unsteadily, favoring her ankle. Her body still shook. Who was the dead man? Why had he killed her mother? And Rose? Why would anyone kidnap her baby?

Ignoring the pain in her ankle, she ran to the front door and flung it open. She saw no one in the street, no one in the neatly groomed front yards. "Rose!" she screamed, as if her darling could answer her. She slammed the door and went back inside. Something on the carpet now caught her eye. As she knelt down and picked it up, she moaned. It was Rose's tiny yellow hair band. Its cheerful flower had been ripped off and lay a few feet away. Then she knew. Rose was really gone. She clutched the flower to her breast and sobbed. One thought now pierced her mind.

Was Rose still alive?

*
• *

Nora limped into the kitchen. As she dialed the operator, her sobs strangled her. Ring. Ring. Ring. "Come on!" she shouted. "Answer the goddamned phone!"

"Operator, may I help you?"

"Yes—please! There's been a murder, my baby is—"

"I'm putting you through to the police," said a nasal female voice. "Please stay on the line."

Nora felt as if an eternity passed before she heard a slow Texas drawl finally come through. "HPD—Brody."

"Officer—my mother, my baby!" she cried.

"Hang on," he said soothingly. "What's the problem?"

"My mother—she's been murdered!" Terror scrambled her words. "Dead man…on floor…my baby…kidnapped!"

"Slow down now," he said quietly. "Is the perpetrator still in the house?"

Nora wished she could reach through the line and throttle him. "No!"

"Name?"

"Nora—Nora de Jong."

"Address?"

"Four eleven Tangley. Get someone here—now! Rose could be anywhere—someone could have killed her."

"Yes, ma'am," he said quickly. "I'll send an officer right over. You sit tight. Don't touch anything, don't do anything. You understand?"

Nora sobbed. "Yes, yes! Just please hurry!" She slammed down the receiver. God, what should she do? Call Marijke. Her Dutch girlfriend visiting from Amsterdam was giving a speech at Rice University on European economics. She would help! Nora scrabbled through the notepad on the kitchen counter, finally locating the number Marijke had written down that morning. Her hands trembled so she could barely punch the buttons. With every ring, Nora grew more frantic.

"Professor Sanford's office," said a bland, female voice. "Miss Mitchell speaking."

Nora took a deep breath. "I need to speak to Marijke van den Maas immediately."

There was a pause and then she heard a rustling of paper. "Dr. van den Maas is giving a lecture now. I can't interrupt her. Are you a student?"

"No, I'm not a student!" Nora could hear her own hysteria. "I'm a friend of Dr. van den Maas's. This is an emergency!"

"Name?" The woman's unruffled tone sounded as if students called with emergencies all the time. Stupid, asinine woman!

"Nora de Jong!" Another sob escaped her. "You have to find her and have her call me immediately. My—my mother has been murdered—"

"Oh, my God!" The wooden voice came to life. "Give me your number."

"She has it," Nora sobbed. "Hurry, please!"

"Don't worry, she's just across the quad. I'll run over there right now."

Nora now heard the hollow dial tone. She sat on the kitchen stool, stunned. She could not face going back into the living room. The silence was eerie, malevolent. As if she were in purgatory, suspended in agony. All she could think about was Rose. Rose.

She wrung her hands and struggled to breathe, trying to focus. if the dead man killed Anneke, then who took Rose? There had to have been someone with him. How would the police even begin to find him? Her thoughts darted to horrible scenarios. Rose clutched in the arms of a killer or madman racing down I-10—out of Houston, out of the U.S.—never to be seen again; Rose held for ransom and tortured to scream through the phone; Rose thrown into a dumpster where she would be eaten by rats; Rose screaming and shaking, her tiny face turning blue while large hands strangled her.

"No!" she told herself fiercely. "Stop it! You don't know anything. She's fine, she has to be. They just want money. That's it, that's got to be it!" But her words sounded hollow. She shut her eyes to keep away the horrible visions.

After what felt like hours, the phone rang. Nora picked it up on the first ring. "Marijke?"

"What happened?" Nora heard the astonishment in Mari-jke's voice. "Your mother—she's dead?"

"Marijke," she cried. "Please come home—now! It's too terrible. My mother's been murdered—" Then a strangled sob. "Someone took Rose! She's gone—I can't find her anywhere!"

Marijke's voice came through clear and firm, a voice Nora had always trusted. "Listen to me. You have to calm down. Did you call the police?"

"Yes, but they're not here yet." She burst into tears.

"Okay, I'm going to talk to you until they get there and then I'll come right away."

Nora began sobbing so that her wailing was the only sound she heard.

"Nora?"

"Yes," she said, feeling faint.

"I'm here," said Marijke. "Just hang on until the police come."

Nora took a deep breath. "You're right. I have to keep it together, for Rose."

The front doorbell clanged. "They're here!" Nora dropped the phone and sprang to her feet, forgetting about her ankle. With a sharp cry, she ran to the door. Three officers stood there with grim faces. One stepped forward. He was fortyish, tall and square-jawed, with intense brown eyes and short-cropped hair. No wedding band, but the pale ring of flesh on his left hand showed it had not been long since it had been removed. With his blue suit, white shirt and polished black shoes, Nora thought he looked more like a politician than a policeman.

"Ms. de Jong?" he said. "I'm Lieutenant Richards."

Nora flung the door wide open. "Please…please help me!"

Richards nodded at the other two men and walked in. They followed.

"There!" She pointed at the living room. "My mother, that…man on the floor…the gun." She tried to walk with them into the room, but Richards held her back with one of his large hands.

"I'm going to have to ask you to step aside, ma'am," he said. "We have to keep the crime scene undisturbed." He nodded to the two officers. "Gloves and footwear. No moving anything, no touching the bodies."

Nora wrung her hands and sobbed. "My baby! Someone took her. She's only six months old!"

Richards took Nora by the shoulders and focused his dark eyes upon hers. "Ms. de Jong, I have to ask you to calm down. I need to get as much information as I can, especially since your daughter appears to have been taken."

Nora took a deep breath and forced herself to be still.

"That's better," he said softly. Nora noticed that he had a tic in his right eye. It distracted her. Was he nervous now or was it something he did all the time?

One of the officers walked over to them. "I radioed the station," he said. "CSI and the M.E. are on their way."

Richards nodded and turned back to Nora. "First, is there anyone I can call for you? Your husband? A friend or relative?"

Nora shook her head, her eyes tearing again. "No," she whispered. "I've called my friend who's visiting from Holland. She'll be here soon."

"What about your father?"

"Dead. Three years ago. Cancer."

"No one else you'd like here with you?"

"No." There was no one. Since she'd returned to Houston, she'd been swamped with her job and then Rose's birth. The friends she'd had here had scattered to the winds during the two years she'd been in Amsterdam. Anneke had been her only friend—her best friend.

Richards put on latex gloves and pulled paper booties over his shoes. As he stepped into the living room, Nora saw Marijke walk into the foyer. She stopped and clapped her hands to her mouth as she took in Anneke's mutilated body and the dead man on the floor. Nora rushed to her and Marijke threw her arms around her. Nora sobbed uncontrollably as she felt Marijke's comforting grasp tighten. "Nee, nee," she whispered, "het komt goed—echt waar." No, thought Nora, it will never be all right! The lilt and accent of her voice sounded so much like Anneke's that it made Nora cry even harder.

Nora saw Richards cross the room and nod a silent greeting to Marijke. His tic had stopped. "Ladies, I'm afraid you can't come in here. We have to let the crime investigators do their work—search for evidence while the scene is still fresh."

Marijke nodded at Richards and took Nora's arm. "Come with me."

"No, I have to know if they find anything!"

Richards shook his head at Marijke, who then tugged gently on Nora's arm and led her through the kitchen to the nursery. Sweet baby smells assaulted Nora as she stepped into the room—the silken scent of baby powder, freshly laundered clothing, one yellow wall covered with photos of Rose.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 21 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(9)

4 Star

(5)

3 Star

(3)

2 Star

(4)

1 Star

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 21 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 8, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Packs one heck of an emotional wallop. Did I enjoy this book: Y

    Packs one heck of an emotional wallop.

    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.

    As reviewed by Belinda at Every Free Chance Book Reviews.

    (I received a copy of this book for review purposes.)

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 4, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Antoinette van Heugten writes in such a way that it makes you fe

    Antoinette van Heugten writes in such a way that it makes you feel like you are following a bread crumb trail through the story.... little bits of the secrets revealed at a time, luring you through the pages with suspense, a rich and compelling story, thick history and intriguing characters. I adored van Heugten's ability to suck you in, grab tight and take you on an emotional ride. She is brilliant, original and interesting. Such a great story told honestly, with integrity and truth. A must read this fall/winter and a 5 star read!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 3, 2013

    A murder mystery with interesting historical aspects When Nora

    A murder mystery with interesting historical aspects

    When Nora de Jong returns home from work one day, she finds her mother brutally murdered and her infant daughter missing. A man presumed to be the murderer is also dead in her home, and the police have no leads on where her daughter may be. Nora decides to take matters into her own hands, going on a quest to find her daughter that takes her to the Netherlands, where she gets a glimpse into her mother's early life during World War II.

    The Tulip Eaters by Antoinette van Heugten is a murder mystery that has a great premise. It kept me turning pages to the end, as I waited to see how if Nora would find her daughter and how things would be resolved. But with the murderer and kidnapper revealed in the first few chapters, along with the background story that led to the crime, there wasn't a lot of suspense for the reader.

    I also had a hard time connecting to Nora. I just didn't feel a lot for her, and I'm not sure how to explain why. Her mother was murdered and her daughter taken, but I didn't feel emotionally attached to her. In addition, the other characters were a bit over the top, especially those who did have a hand in the kidnapping of the baby.

    I did enjoy the background story of Nora's parents and the War in the Netherlands. It was an aspect that I never really read about before. The historical details in the story were intriguing. But the story itself was a bit flat. And the ending, while I don't want to give it away, was a bit too tidy and frankly, unrealistic.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 2, 2013

    I really enjoyed the author's first book, Saving Max, and was ex

    I really enjoyed the author's first book, Saving Max, and was excited to read this, her second novel. This is also a mystery but not in the same way as her first book. The Tulip Eaters is historical fiction involving intrigue, kidnapping and family secrets. The beginning of the book hooked me very quickly. The opening sequences are thrilling and provide the beginning to an exciting story. However, I found myself turning on and off with my enjoyment of the plot. I had pretty much figured out exactly where the plot would go from the beginning and found that I was right, though there were moments when it seemed as if something different might be happening. I also found the actions of the main characters to be just too unrealistic and over-the-top. OK, we all know someone who rushes into everything without a thought, but every. single. character? There are so many narrow escapes, trips over carpets, perfect timing, etc. that I found myself rolling my eyes way too many times. I certainly appreciated the historical aspect of the story and that was my most favourite part of the book. I did guess how the secret would come out in the end but I learned sooo much about the Netherlands during WWII, which is something I wasn't terribly knowledgeable about before. This is a part of Canada's history also as Canadian soldiers played a large part in the liberation of Holland. We also have a living remembrance of our sheltering members of the royal family during the war years, in which, Holland has continued to send Ottawa approx. 20,000 tulip bulbs every year since the end of WWII.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 2, 2013

    Taken from the Preface - We have no milk, no bread, no potatoes

    Taken from the Preface - We have no milk, no bread, no potatoes - just rotten peels. The boys now have to go far into the fields to pull frozen tulip bulbs from the ground. We grind the pulp and make thin soup and watery porridges from them. They are bitter, practically inedible, but we choke them down because otherwise we will starve. - Anonymous Dutch housewife, circa 1944. 
    It was one of the great ironies of the Dutch occupation - to forage and choke down their national flower to stave off starvation. 
    Houston, Texas - 1980 - Nora de Jong, a pediatric surgeon, was filled with contentment. She and her mother, Anneke, shared the love and care of her six month old daughter, Rose. Life seemed to be perfect until the day she returned from work to find her mother murdered and her baby missing. The dead body of an unknown man was on the floor, clutching a German Luger in his hand. And it seemed the killer had an accomplice who took Rose. Why was Rose taken and there was no ransom asked? 
    Nora finds a metal box filled with secret documents that bring up many questions about her life and the lives of her parents. After a futile investigation by the local police, Nora decides to take matters into her own hands. It was better than staying in Houston, terrified and frantic. She goes to Amsterdam to try and put the missing pieces together about the family's seemingly dark and unsettled history - a history that would take her back to the days of WWII and a city under Nazi occupation. 
    Nora's parents, Anneke and Hans de Jong were married in Holland shortly after the war, and immigrated to the States from the Netherlands. Sixty year old Anneke, was a housewife, and a warm, loving person. She spent all of her time taking care of baby Rose. Hans, Nora's father, had died a few years earlier, and had been a literature professor at a local university. Her parents never talked about their life in Holland. Was Anneke really a Dutch Nazi? Had she killed a Jewish man, Abram Rosen, and then fled the country and changed her name? 
    A strong, but rather sinister character is Amarisa, a very wealthy Jewish woman. She had been in diamond trade for almost forty years and had forged relationships with people in high places. Amsterdam was the largest diamond center in the world. During the Dutch occupation, Amarisa's family was arrested and thrown on a train, and shipped to Mauthausen. The entire family was gassed, but Amarisa and her brother made it out. But Amarisa had been raped and her face was slit from her lip to ear. Amarisa really adds to the storyline, filling it with a crescendo of suspense. 
    Who was Abram Rosen and was his family still alive? Was Nora's mother really an NSB-er - a reviled organization of the Dutch Nazis? What was the motive behind Anneke's murder and the kidnapping of Rose? A lot of questions with an intriguing storyline.
    This is definitely a favorite for 2013! The book is a rich blend of history, suspense and romance and will absolutely devour you from the beginning to the satisfying conclusion. The author manages to weave together a tale of family secrets with meticulous detail and includes an entourage of fascinating characters. Most definitely a 5 star novel by an incredible author.
    I received a complimentary e-book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The opinions shared in this review are my own.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 24, 2013

    I loved Antoinette van Heugten's first book, Saving Max, so I ju

    I loved Antoinette van Heugten's first book, Saving Max, so I just had to pick up this novel to see more of her work. I was expecting a gripping, thrilling ride and I was not disappointed. The book starts you off right in the action and keeps pushes you forward all the way through.

    Not that the book is flawless, mind you. It meandered a bit in the middle as all the characters dance around each other trying to achieve their goals. However, the middle is also where a great deal of the historical intrigue comes into play. Antoinette has woven the tragedies of past events into her character's lives in a very interesting way. If you're interested in seeing a story where the past shows its influence on people even decades later, this is the book for you. I highly recommend picking it up

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 22, 2013

    highly recommended

    Very good author..

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 27, 2014

    A mishmash of poor writing/too much plot to handle

    But library loan so only time wasted and that was three chapters first middle and last a quick way to verify your first opinion of a book aunt ruth

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 30, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    The suspense starts right away with a murder and kidnapping. The

    The suspense starts right away with a murder and kidnapping. The police have nothing to go on and Nora decides to take matters into her own hands, finding hidden information about her mother's past. I thought it was very interesting with some historical details about the Dutch and Nazis during WWII. The story is mainly suspense with just a bit of romance. It is a good read about a mother who will stop at nothing to find her baby daughter.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 30, 2013

    Wonderful book! Enjoyed the WW2 history and the tales of the res

    Wonderful book! Enjoyed the WW2 history and the tales of the resistance. Also was intrigued by the circuitous route
    the child kidnapper took to get out of the country and into Holland. Can't wait for the next book.  

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 13, 2013

    Nora de Jong returns home to find her mother murdered and her ba

    Nora de Jong returns home to find her mother murdered and her baby missing. Frustrated with the lack of developments from the police department Nora decides to find her baby on her own. In doing so she discovers family secrets that change everything she thinks she knows.
    I loved Those that Save Us by Jenna Bloom and Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay and was really hoping for a similar read with a World War II theme. Unfortunately, this book fell far short and I struggled to get through it.
    My main issue with the novel was the writing, I found it to be very juvenile and it did not convey the emotion or depth the novel should have had.
    Immediately, in the first chapter when Nora discovered her deceased mother the writing threw me off. Passages like, "Nora tried to push the gray lumps back into her mother's skull. They felt like buttery worms and smelled like spoiled eggs." were unnecessary and unrealistic. Often times through out the novel the author became very descriptive but it did nothing to convey emotion or depth in a character, it seemed like she was trying to hard.
    In other instances the dialogue between characters and inner dialogue was forced and very simplistic or stereotypical.
    Nora de Jong was not a fully fleshed out character. She never seemed to be grieving or the distraught mother of a missing child. She was certainly frantic and very focused on her research of her family secrets but she seemed too focused on that. Her reaction to finding her dead mother and eventually her missing baby was odd and once the investigator came it got even worse. Nora and her friend were allowed to remain in the home and meander through the crime scene repeatedly, eventually having tea in the kitchen while the investigation continued. I found this highly unlikely. Later, when the detective comes back for a follow up, he and Nora have coffee in the living room where the mother died, a blue blanket thrown over the blood and brains on the carpet. Again, who would stay in a home after that "awful day" as it was often referred to.
    When Nora went to Amsterdam to search for the kidnapper she became even more unbelievable as a mother of a missing child, focused on her research and family secrets and eventually her former lover. At one point she is sipping wine in a bar thinking about how relaxed she is, totally unrealistic.
    Then there is Nico, he former lover and as it turns out the child's father. Conveniently, he is the director of the historical society Nora needs to do her research at. She left Nico after he refused to move to the U.S. with her where she had a neuro surgery fellowship and soon after arriving in Houston she found out she was pregnant and decided to not reveal this to Nico. He has since remarried but that doesn't stop the feelings between the two and neither does her confession of a shared child. I found their relationship to be very shallow and Nico unbelievable as a father denied his baby.
    The supporting characters Amarissa, Ariel and Dirk were very one dimensional and stereotypical as well and did little to improve the story, I really hated Amarissa not just because she was a horrible person but also because she was a very very cliche character.
    The premise of this book was very interesting, the title interesting and the preface got my hopes up, the actual story disappointed. I would like to give this story idea to other authors and see how differently it could have played out, to see it reach its potential.

    I received a copy of this novel from Net Galley in exchange for a fair review

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 16, 2014

    I felt like i wasted my time on this book.  The characters were

    I felt like i wasted my time on this book.  The characters were not believable, the dialog was peppered with foul language equally from all characters which seemd off-kilter.  It was awkward all the way through.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 11, 2014

    Anna

    Moans (imposter below)

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 12, 2014

    Bone

    Pad ober to anna sniffing at her p****

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 12, 2014

    To anna

    You remember me?

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 11, 2014

    Anna

    (You're the imposter!) I don't believe l did. Not that l can remember.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 2, 2014

    Check out the full review at Kritters Ramblings  There are quit

    Check out the full review at Kritters Ramblings

     There are quite a few books that have many takes on the section of history involving Nazis and their destruction, but this one took a new take that I loved!  Nora is a daughter who is completely unaware of her past as her parents moved her from Amsterdam just after she was born and did not dwell on their past once they settled in Texas.  She comes home from work to find her young daughter is kidnapped and her mother has been murdered except a Dutch man is also dead in her home and here is where the story begins.

    Moving easily through past and present, the author takes the reader and Nora through Nora's past to enable her to solve the mystery of what happened to her family's past that may have caused her mother's murder.  It was so interesting to hear a new side of Nazi involvement in people's lives, but there was more to this story beyond that part of history.  The theme of family was apparent in each chapter as Nora was trying to define what her family looked like and what was her new reality.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2014

    Get a pink Ipad

    Kiss your hand three times, post this in three books, and look under your pillow

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 30, 2013

    Although a bit confusing sorting out relationships between chara

    Although a bit confusing sorting out relationships between characters in the beginning, this story became totally intriguing as details from the time of Nazi occupation of Holland were brought out. As a lover of WW II literature I came to fully appreciate the danger of mixed loyalties between family and country, both then and then in the lives of those that followed. This was a great study in the vein of "What would you do?" and how the decisions made at the time affect others many years later. If your parents or grandparents were part of history in this time period the book makes you wonder what secrets there could be held for all of us. 

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 30, 2013

    The Tulip Eaters is a wonderful blend of history and mystery. Th

    The Tulip Eaters is a wonderful blend of history and mystery. Throughly enjoyed reading this book!

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