When Nora de Jong comes home from work she is expecting to find her mother, Anneke, lovingly playing with Nora’s baby daughter, Rose. Instead she is horrified to find Anneke dead on the living room floor, a mystery man dead not far from her and Rose missing. When the red tape of the authorities proves to be too slow for a desperate mother, Nora takes it upon herself to find out why someone would want her mother dead and what happened to Rose. Searching for clues in her mother’s attic Nora finds secret information that will shake up everything she thought she knew about her parents. If Nora stands a chance of finding Rose she will have to follow the pieces of her family’s dark past back to Amsterdam. But when it becomes clear someone is out to keep Nora from the truth she will need to face her darkest fears and fight an enemy she never knew she had if she ever hopes to see her beloved daughter again.
From the very first page, The Tulip Eaters takes off like a shot of adrenaline and instantly draws the reader in with the anticipation of a twisting mystery that hints at deep historical secrets. Then by page fifty the reader is told everything: who killed Anneke and why, who the dead mystery man is, who took Rose….and just like that the climax is over with 300 more pages to go in the story. I was so disappointed that the great mystery was over so quickly and kept waiting for some new twist to excite me again. That great new twist, unfortunately, never came. Instead we, the reader, are witnessing Nora searching for the information we already know while also witnessing the people who took Rose do everything to keep Nora from finding her.
The remainder of the book seems to just repeat the same basic series of information: a desperate mother cannot rest until she finds her daughter; the people who took Rose will do anything to keep her; Nora’s mother and father were not who she thought they were and were hiding secrets regarding what they did during those dark days of World War II. The story just kept dragging along without any new information seeming to be given. Even the romance between Nora and her old love seemed predictable. I just kept waiting for more.
What was fascinating about The Tulip Eaters was the historical information given regarding the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands during World War II, the Dutch Nazi party as well as the resistance fighters and the horrible treatment of the Jews during that time. Unfortunately this was only presented in small bits and pieces and left me wanting more real history and less of Nora running around. Even the title is barely referenced in the story.
Overall this story just fell flat for me. It has such a fascinating premise and taught me a bit about World War II that I had never heard of before. In the end, however, that just wasn’t enough to keep me entertained.
Colleen lives in Tampa, Florida with her husband, son, their dog Oliver and their fish Finn. When not working or taking care of her family she has her nose stuck in a book (and, let’s face it, often when she is working or taking care of her family as well). Nothing excites her more than discovering a new author to obsess over or a hidden jewel of a book to worship.
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Harlequin MIRA. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.