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The Tulip Eaters

3.22  ·  Rating details ·  1,036 ratings  ·  235 reviews
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
Paperback, 368 pages
Published October 29th 2013 by Harlequin MIRA (first published January 1st 2013)
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Average rating 3.22  · 
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 ·  1,036 ratings  ·  235 reviews

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Judith Praag
Feb 12, 2014 rated it did not like it
They did not eat tulips, they ate the bulbs. That was my first thought seeing the pretty cover picture of The Tulip Eaters. I know, because I'm from the Netherlands, and raised on WWII literature. The subject has captured my attention my whole life. Was the title an indication of the number of inconsistencies a reader could expect in book? I told myself I shouldn't judge the book by its cover, and read on, red pen in hand.

Let me share right of the bat: The florid writing is uneven. The close
Sandi *~The Pirate Wench~*
Setting: Past WW II & Present Day

Re-Read 3 Stars this time..

Nora dejong returns home from work one day to find that her entire life is over.
Her mother has been brutally murdered, a strange man is also dead on the floor and her six month old daughter Rose is missing.
When the police and the FBI turn up with no leads, Nora takes matters into her own hands herself to try and find out what happened to her mother and why and where Rose went.
Leading Nora to unravel threads that trace back to
The Tulip Eaters has the potential to be an excellent book but there are too many inconsistencies, too many overlooked details and too many unbelievable and convenient circumstances to really claim that this book is any better than average. Always a fan of novels involving WWII the blurb for The Tulip Eaters was irresistible. Nora de Jong returns home to find her mother has been murdered, her 6-month old daughter has been kidnapped and a strange man lies dead on her living room floor with a gun ...more
Oct 29, 2013 rated it it was ok
The Tulip Eaters took off fast and instantly drew me in, but by page 50 I was told everything: who killed Anneke and why, who the dead man is, who took Rose….and just like that the climax is over with 300 more pages to go. We spend the rest of the book watching Nora searching for information we already know. And, the writing is at about a sophomore level.

Some of the characters in the novel are just caricatures and one who might actually develop into an interesting character, i.e.; Lt. Richards
Lynn Spencer
Nov 11, 2013 rated it it was ok
Wow - this book is such a cluster I don't even know where to begin. I forgot my Kindle on a recent trip, so I picked this up to while away the time on my train ride to NYC. I think being trapped on a crowded train is the only thing that made me keep reading.

So, where to start? Well, the truly sad thing about The Tulip Eaters is that it actually does have promise. Set in the 1980s, it gets off to a truly jarring start as the heroine, Nora de Jong, comes home from work to find her mother and a
Nov 06, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: netgalley
The novel begins in 1980 in Houston, Texas. Nora de Jong returns home to discover that her mother Anneke has been murdered and her daughter Rose has been kidnapped. An unknown man also lies dead. Dissatisfied with the pace of the investigation, Nora sets out to find her daughter. Soon she is in Amsterdam investigating her parents’ activities during WWII in The Netherlands since those activities seem to be connected to the murder and kidnapping.

My husband spent his teen years in The Netherlands
Feb 13, 2014 rated it did not like it
I passed this book on a shelf at the library and picked it up because the name sounded familiar. I had heard about it somewhere. Turns out that what I'd heard about it may have been that it's not very good.

The storyline is terribly thought out, deliberately convoluted, and repeatedly contradictory. For example, does this paragraph make any sense?

"Everything was the same: the dark, intricately carved balustrade that led upstairs to the offices of the war experts; the thick red carpet on the
Aug 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
Well I see the reviews are split on this book, and frankly I'm surprised. I mean it's a novel so yeah there were some shocking character actions, (however even Ariel like many second generation Shoah survivors have repercussions that affected his personality and his life moreso than many bc his father was SOOO bitter and obsessed and unlike many survivors who don't talk much of that time he did nothing BUT obsess on and retell his version of events to his only child and this whole family was ...more
Chrissy (The Every Free Chance Reader)
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
Joan Roll
Oct 18, 2013 rated it it was ok
Nora de Jong's mother is murdered and her baby is kidnapped in the opening pages of this book. Nora becomes impatient with the progress made by the police in solving the crimes and she takes on the investigation herself. In doing so, she learns of some information about her parents that leads her to Amsterdam where she uncovers her family history during the search for her kidnapped daughter and for the identity of her mother's killer.

The background for the story includes information about the
Aug 21, 2013 rated it did not like it
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.
Aug 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Diane S ☔
Jul 25, 2013 rated it liked it
2.5 Parts of this book were very interesting, but again I liked the past story better than the present one. That is always the danger, in my opinion, when an author chooses this type of plot structure. It seems to be very difficult to make both stories equal, at least in all the novels I have read of this nature, one always won over the other. That said, I learned about a time I knew little about in a country that is not generally written about extensively. The writing was okay, was hoping it ...more
Mrs Mommy Booknerd
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 ...more
Oct 08, 2013 rated it did not like it
I won this book on a First Reads Give-A-Way. It sounded very intriguing to me. The beginning was gripping, but as I read the story became unbelievable to me. Especially the character Ariel. However, part of me wanted to keep reading to see what would happen, but I did not like all the profane language in the book. I like stories that are compelling without the four letter nasty words,so I stopped reading. I wish there was a way to rate books as clean reads.
Sep 30, 2013 rated it liked it
In 1980, in Houston, Texas, Nora, a pediatric surgeon who is a single mother, returns home to find her own mother, Anneke, murdered, with her hair brutally cut from her head, and her daughter Rose, 6 months old, missing. On the floor of her living room is a dead man she has never seen before with a German Luger only a few feet from his hand. Nora has no idea who might want to kill her kind and gentle mother, and furthermore, knows no reason why anyone would take her child. So begins the hunt to ...more
Nicola Mansfield
Oct 29, 2013 rated it liked it
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 ...more
Dec 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
A friend of mine purchased this book for me. And while it always hard to pick a book for another, she did well!
I enjoyed the thrill ride of this book! I am always intrigued with the Holocaust and it seems every book I read about it (historical fiction) I learn a little bit more. This was a different spin on things as this was more about a vengeance that span thirty years! Basically a "sins of your father" sort of book. It did keep me coming back for more! And I was pretty much hooked in the
Sara Diane
I got this title as a pre-read through Netgalley, and it sounded really interesting. However, I found myself uncaptured, easily able to walk away, and having no desire to continue reading. I couldn't really identify with the main character, Nora. Her reactions are not consistent with her situation. Perhaps van Heugten was attempting to capture the stress, but it came across unauthentic. The pacing was choppy, the set up was a bit hard to believe (I won't spoil it, but let's just say, the man who ...more
Jan 15, 2014 rated it did not like it
I really did not like this book. It was extremely confusing, the characters were bland and one dimensional, and it felt like a really bad soap opera. A woman comes home to find her mother murdered and her baby missing? Who did it? And why? Unsuspensefully, you will find out in a very short time, yet the book dragged on and on and on. The book supposedly took place in "Houston" yet the characters were in Amsterdam? It was hard to follow to be sure, and it was a chore to read.
Jul 09, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: adult-fiction
Our book club chose this book for this month's discussion. If it hadn't been for that, I would not have finished reading it. It is poorly written, the characters are not well developed and their actions and dialogs are not believable. The plot is also not plausible. Our entire group felt the same way.
Apr 24, 2015 rated it did not like it
Juvenile writing, implausible plot, showing Holocaust survivors as hatred-crazed revenge seekers. One of the most superficial novels about WWII I have ever read. Abandoning at 36%, and feeling ashamed I've gotten this far.
Jul 10, 2014 rated it did not like it
Read for book club, but could not finish: the mystery is solved early on, the characters not life-like, the writing is terrible (I thought at first it was a poor translation but the author is from Texas), and nobody eats tulips!
Oh boy, Tulip eaters was missing a lot for me. It lacked in realism for sure. But it seemed rather cheesy and so far off I had no idea what I was getting into. More then once I wanted to put the book down to stop reading but I chugged through in the hopes maybe it would be better.
Jul 11, 2014 rated it did not like it
Book club was certainly united about this one.
The book opens with a crime and continues with mystery, suspense, and twists. I enjoyed the story but found a couple of errors. On the first page of Chapter 71 (short chapters), there is reference to the child sleeping in a bassinet; the child is 2 by then and wouldn't fit in a bassinet, nor would anyone try to fit a child that age in one. Near the end of the page 328, there is a name error -- "I think it means that Abram, Nora's lover....." Nora should be Anneke. I found at least one other typo ...more
Jun 21, 2018 rated it it was ok
I liked the potential of learning some WWII history here, but that was maybe 5% of the book. Overall this is a "guy book" in my opinion, with lots of action, shooting, violence, tons of profanity. Writing is weak/awkward in spots. Some questions remained unanswered -- whatever became of the policeman we were getting to know? What's the deal with Nora's sister that we learned about but then was just dropped?
Nov 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviews
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

The world was at war, the Allied forces pitted against the might of the Germans. A railway strike was ordered by the exiled Dutch government to
Whitney Criss
Sep 17, 2013 rated it it was ok
After having read Saving Max, I was DYING to read this book. I loved absolutely everything about van Heugten's last book, and recommended it to absolutely everyone. This book, however, was disappointing to me. It was the complete opposite of Saving Max. At any point in this book, I was able to put the book down and do something else. Perhaps I wasn't a fan of this book because of all the history related content. I have always hated history and never enjoyed reading about it, but I couldn't just ...more
Oct 23, 2013 rated it liked it
I was intrigued by the title of the book and further enticed by the preface which told of the Dutch being forced to forage for tulip bulbs during World War II in order to avoid starvation. The novel itself is set in 1980 but the murder, kidnapping, and mystery have their roots in World War II Nazi-occupied Netherlands. When Nora's mother is found murdered and her baby kidnapped, Nora is not satisfied with the pace of the Houston police department's investigation. She finds some papers in her ...more
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A former international trial lawyer, van Heugten spent 15 years practicing all over the world, primarily in Scandinavia, Germany and the Netherlands, as well as in Houston, her hometown. She’s a graduate of the University of Texas in Austin, Texas, where she earned her undergraduate and law degrees.

The Tulip Eaters is van Heugten’s second novel. Her debut novel, Saving Max (MIRA Books, October