Author: Antoinette van Heugten
Genre: Historical Fiction
My Copy: Review Copy via Shelton Interactive
Add to: Goodreads
Synopsis: 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.
I’ll be up front and state how excited I was to read Antoinette van Heugten’s The Tulip Eaters and when the opportunity came to review it, I couldn’t pass up the chance. While I liked van Heugten’s writing, overall The Tulip Eaters falls a bit short.
Imagine coming home after a tiring day at work and your worst nightmare has come true. Your mother has been murdered and your daughter is missing. That’s exactly what has happened to Nora de Jong and while the police try to piece together who the dead man on the floor is, Nora only wants to know the fate of her daughter. Days pass and still no word regarding her daughter when Nora suddenly discovers a family secret. Little does she know, her world is about to be turned upside down and will lead her to travel to the Netherlands.
Character development is a bit weak and while we spend an equal amount of time with all the characters, I don’t feel like we actually get to know them. I had a difficult time connecting with Nora and many times I felt she wasn’t genuine. The grief she feels for her mother feels a bit lackluster. While Nora waits for information regarding the whereabouts of her daughter, we aren’t given much insight into the investigation. Granted it does mirror real life where at times information isn’t forthcoming. Then we have our Dutch characters and out of all characters in The Tulip Eaters I really liked Isaac. He showed the most character growth and at times was remorseful. The one character everyone will dislike is Amarisa and I won’t go into detail talking about her because I want you to form your own opinion. In the end, I had high hopes for Lieutenant Richards of the Dallas Police Department. I adored the interaction he had with Nora and I wish he had played more of a bigger role.
I debated with the rating between a three and four. In the end, I decided on a three for a variety of different reasons. The first was van Heugten’s execution of the plot. Within the first 30 pages I already knew who committed the murder and why. The mystery of trying to figure it out alongside Nora was missing and at times I wished it were possible to intercept and interact with the characters because I’d tell Nora exactly what she wanted to know. I felt that Nora would run around in circles while the reader just sat there with information already known while waiting for Nora to discover it. It became a bit too predictable especially regarding how Nora’s ex just so happens to be head of the historical society where Nora gets to do research. What I really liked about van Heugten‘s The Tulip Eaters was the historical aspect. Unlike most books written about the Second War World and the Nazis, this one deals primarily with the Dutch supporters of the Nazis. It was a fascinating look into a part of history we rarely get to read about.
Overall, Antoinette van Heugten’s The Tulip Eaters was a satisfactory read. If you’re looking for a mystery to indulge in, this is not the book; however, if you’re fan of historical fiction you’ll find this to be an interesting read.
One copy of Antoinette van Heugten’s The Tulip Eaters is up for grabs courtesy of Shelton Interactive. It’s open international. Giveaway ends on January 28th at Midnight MST (2 am EST). Good luck!